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Output Delivery System: Basic Concepts

Understanding ODS Destinations

Overview of ODS Destination Categories

ODS enables you to produce SAS procedure and DATA step output to many different destinations. ODS destinations are organized into two categories.

SAS Formatted destinations

produce output that is controlled and interpreted by SAS, such as a SAS data set, SAS output listing, or an ODS document.

Third-Party Formatted destinations

produce output which enables you to apply styles, markup languages, or enables you to print to physical printers using page description languages. For example, you can produce output in PostScript, HTML, XML, or a style or markup language that you created.

The following table lists the ODS destination categories, the destination that each category includes, and the formatted output that results from each destination.

Destination Category Table
Category Destinations Results
SAS Formatted DOCUMENT ODS document

LISTING SAS output listing

OUTPUT SAS data set
Third-Party Formatted HTML HTML file for online viewing

MARKUP Markup language tagsets

PRINTER Printable output in one of three different formats: PCL, PDF, or PS (PostScript)

RTF Output written in Rich Text Format for use with Microsoft Word 2000

As future destinations are added to ODS, they automatically will become available to the DATA step and to all procedures that support ODS.

Definition of Destination-Independent Input

Destination-independent input means that one destination can support a feature even though another destination does not support it. In this case, the request is ignored by the destination that does not support it. Otherwise, ODS would support a small subset of features that are common to all destinations. If this was true, then it would be difficult to move your reports from one output format to another output format. ODS provides many output formatting options, so that you can use the appropriate format for the output that you want. It is best to use the appropriate destination suited for your purpose.

The SAS Formatted Destinations

The SAS Formatted destinations create SAS entities such as a SAS data set, a SAS output listing, or an ODS document. The statements in the ODS SAS Formatted category create the SAS entities.

The three SAS Formatted destinations are as follows:

The Third-Party Formatted Destinations

The Third-Party Formatted destinations enable you to apply styles to the output objects that are used by applications other than SAS. For example, these destinations support attributes such as "font" and "color."

Note:   For a list of style attributes and valid values, see the style attributes table in Style Attributes and Their Values.  [cautionend]

The four categories of Third-Party Formatted destinations are as follows:

Controlling the Formatting Features of Third-Party Formats

All of the formatting features that control the appearance of the third-party formatted destinations beyond what the LISTING destination can do are controlled by two mechanisms:

The ODS statement options control three features:

  1. features that are specific to a given destination, such as style sheets for HTML

  2. features that are global to the document, such as AUTHOR and table of contents generation

  3. features that we expect programmers to change on each document, such as the output filename

The ODS style attributes control the way that individual elements are created. Attributes are aspects of a given style, such as type face, weight, font size, and color. The values of the attributes collectively determine the appearance of each part of the document to which the style is applied. With style attributes, it is unnecessary to insert destination-specific code (such as raw HTML) into the document. Each output destination will interpret the attributes that are necessary to generate the presentation of the document. Because not all destinations are the same, not all attributes can be interpreted by all destinations. Style attributes that are incompatible with a selected destination are ignored. For example, PostScript does not support active links, so the URL= attribute is ignored when producing PostScript output.

ODS Destinations and System Resources

ODS destinations can be open or closed. You open and close a destination with the appropriate ODS statement. When a destination is open, ODS sends the output objects to it. An open destination uses system resources even if you use the selection and exclusion features of ODS to select or exclude all objects from the destination. Therefore, to conserve resources, close unnecessary destinations. For more information about using each destination, see the topic on ODS statements in Dictionary of ODS Language Statements.

By default, the LISTING destination is open and all other destinations are closed. Consequently, if you do nothing, your SAS programs run and produce listing output looking just as they did in previous releases of SAS before ODS was available.

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