Effective graphics are indispensable for modern statistical analysis. They reveal patterns, differences, and uncertainty that are not readily apparent in tabular output. Graphics provoke questions that stimulate deeper investigation, and they add visual clarity and rich content to reports and presentations.

In earlier SAS releases, creating graphs with statistical procedures typically required additional programming steps such as creating output data sets with the values to plot, modifying these data sets with a DATA step program, and using traditional SAS/GRAPH procedures to produce the plots.

ODS Graphics eliminates the need for additional programming. ODS Graphics is an extension of ODS (the Output Delivery System). ODS manages procedure output and lets you display it in a variety of destinations, such as HTML and RTF. With ODS Graphics, statistical procedures produce graphs as automatically as they produce tables, and graphs are integrated with tables in the ODS output. ODS Graphics is available in procedures in SAS/STAT, Base SAS, SAS/ETS, SAS/QC, and other products (see the section Procedures That Support ODS Graphics). Note that ODS Graphics is automatically provided with Base SAS software.

ODS Graphics might or might not be enabled by default depending on your operating system, whether you are in the SAS windowing environment, your registry, system options, and configuration file settings. For more information about default settings and enabling and disabling ODS Graphics, see the section Enabling and Disabling ODS Graphics.

You can enable ODS Graphics with the following statement:

ods graphics on;

When ODS Graphics is enabled, procedures that support ODS Graphics create appropriate graphs, either by default or when you specify procedure options for requesting specific graphs. These options are documented in the Syntax section of each procedure chapter, and the Details section of each chapter provides an ODS Graphics subsection that lists the graphs that are available. Once ODS Graphics is enabled, it stays enabled for the duration of your SAS session unless you disable it.

You can disable ODS Graphics with the following statement:

ods graphics off;

You might consider disabling ODS Graphics if your goal is solely to produce computational results. Often though, you can enable ODS Graphics and then leave it enabled. Throughout this chapter, ODS Graphics is enabled only once per section.