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SAS Companion for the Microsoft Windows Environment

Overview of the SAS System Interface

The main SAS window contains all other SAS application windows. The main SAS window is completely configurable, allowing you to use its features in a way that is productive for you. The Main SAS Window shows the main SAS window as it appears when you first start the SAS System. This section briefly describes the features of the window.

The Main SAS Window


The following are the primary components of the main SAS window:

menu bar
presents the menus available for the active SAS application window. As you switch between application windows, the menu bar changes. Similarly, the pop-up menus that appear when you click on the right mouse button inside an application window are dependent on that window.

command bar
provides a way to quickly enter any SAS command. The command bar retains a list of the commands that you enter. To repeat a command that you entered previously, select the command from the drop-down list and click on the check mark button or press Enter. To switch the keyboard focus to the command bar, press F11 (the function key defined as COMMAND BAR).

provides quick access to the commands you perform most often. The toolbar is completely configurable and can contain up to 30 tools. You can associate different sets of tools with different SAS application windows. When you create a tool, you specify the tool button, the commands associated with the tool, help text displayed on the status line, and the tip text. The bitmap browser provides hundreds of images that you can use to represent your commands on the toolbar.

windowing environment
contains a workspace to open windows within the main SAS window. Certain windows, such as windows used for navigation, can dock to the left side of the main SAS window when Docking view is enabled from the Preferences dialog box. Windows that cannot dock to the main SAS window open to the right of the docking area. For more information about using dockable windows, see Using the Docking View.

window bar
is located at the bottom of the main SAS window and provides easy access to any window within the main SAS window. When a window opens, a button is placed in the window bar representing that window. Whenever you want access to a window, click on the button for that window. That window then becomes the active window. You can also load a file into the application by dragging a file to a window bar button to make the window active and then continue dragging the file into the window. The window bar can be enabled and disabled from either the Preferences dialog box or the window bar pop-up menu.

status line
contains a message area, the current folder for the SAS System, and the Enhanced Editor cursor positon. The message area displays help text for menus and tools, as well as messages that are specific to SAS application windows. The current folder area displays the name of the current working folder. To change the current folder, double-click on the current folder area. For more information about changing the current folder, see Changing the SAS Current Folder. The Enhanced Editor cursor position displays the current line and column when the Enhanced Editor is the active window. The status line can be enabled and disabled from the Preferences dialog box. The message line, the current folder, and the cursor position can be enabled and disabled from the either the Preferences dialog box or the status line pop-up menu.

Accessing SAS Commands, Tools, and Options from Menus

You can access SAS commands, tools, and options by selecting them from the menus at the top of the main SAS window or by using the pop-up menus within application windows. The menus display options available to the active window. To access a pop-up menu for a particular window, click on the right mouse button anywhere within the window. The pop-up menu that appears contains the menu items available for that particular window.

Some SAS windows (such as the Explorer window) along with the main SAS window can contain objects that have their own pop-up menus when you right-click on an object. For example, the command bar, the toolbar and the status line each have a pop-up menu. In these windows, the pop-up menu is specific to the selected object.

Using the Docking View

The SAS System for Windows makes it easier for you to access files using the docking view. When the docking view is enabled, certain windows are docked to the left side of the main SAS window. These windows are typically used for navigation. When you double click on an object in a docked window, a window containing the contents of the object opens in the right side of the main SAS window.

The docking view is enabled or disabled

The WDOCKVIEW command without any arguments toggles the docking view.

Each docked window has a tab at the bottom of the docking area for easy access to the window. When the number of docked windows is large enough so that you cannot identify the tabs, a left and right arrow are displayed for you to navigate through the docked windows.

Docked windows cannot be individually moved or resized. To enlarge or contract the docking area, place the cursor over the split bar between the docking area and the remaining portion of the main SAS window. Then click and hold down the left mouse button. Move the mouse to the left or right to resize the docking area.

If you prefer to dock or undock individual windows, you can toggle the Docked command using the docked window's pop-up menu (click the right mouse button on the window's tab) or by selecting


For more information on docking or undocking all windows, see View Preferences and WDOCKVIEW.

Using the Window Bar

The window bar is a reserved space at the bottom of the main SAS window used to display a button for each opened window within the SAS System. You then have immediate access to any opened window. When you click on a button in the window bar, that window becomes the active window and is displayed on top of all other windows. When you click on the button for the active window, the window is minimized.

When you open enough windows so that not all buttons fit in the window bar using the default button size, SAS decreases the button size. If the button size is small enough that you cannot read the button, you can place the mouse cursor over a button and a ScreenTip tells you the window name. You enable ScreenTips using the Preferences dialog box or by entering WSCREENTIPS in the command bar. For more information enabling ScreenTips, see View Preferences and WSCREENTIPS.

An easy way to load a file into an application that accepts file input, such as the Program Editor or the Enhanced Editor, is to drag the file to the application's button on the window bar which makes the application the active window. Then continue dragging the file to the application window. Release the mouse button to load the file into the application. You cannot drag a file onto a button. Dragging a file onto a button causes the window for that button to become the active window.

Each button on the window bar has a menu associated with it. To access the menu, place the cursor over the button and click the right mouse button.

You can enable and disable the window bar either from the Preferences dialog box, the status line and window bar pop-up menus, or by entering WWINDOWBAR in the command bar.

Learning about the Main SAS Window

To learn about the different parts of the main SAS window, the SAS System provides different types of screen help. The screen help is either a message that displays in the message area of the status line or a one or two word screen tip. The message area descriptions are available for menus, the command bar, and items in the toolbar. Screen tips are available for the command bar, toolbar buttons, the docking area tabs, the window bar buttons, and the status line.

If you would like a description of a menu or a menu item, select the menu or menu item, and hold down the mouse button. As the mouse pointer passes over the menu or menu item, a description of the item displays in the message area of the status line. For example, when you select the File pull-down menu, the status line displays "Perform file-related operations." As you drag the mouse to highlight the items under the File menu, the message area displays a short description of each item.

When you place the cursor over a toolbar button, a screen tip displays by the icon and a longer description displays in the message area.

For other parts of the main SAS window, such as the docking area tabs, the window bar buttons, and the status line, by placing the cursor over the item and holding it there for a second, a one or two word screen tip pops up. When you place the cursor over a window bar button, the screen tip contains the window name. This is very useful when you have several windows open and the window buttons are too small to read the window name.

If you customize the commands available from the toolbar, you can also specify the descriptions (Tip Text and Help Text) that appear as screen tip help and a message in the message area. To learn more about changing the toolbar, see Customizing the Toolbar.

To enable or disable command bar or toolbar screen tips, you can use either the Show ScreenTips on toolbars option in the Customize dialog box Toolbars page or enter the TOOLTIP command in the command bar. All other screen tips can be enabled or disabled using the ScreenTip option in the Preferences dialog box View page or by using the WSCREENTIPS command. For more information on enabling and disabling screen tips, see Setting Session Preferences,Customizing the Toolbar, WSCREENTIPS, and TOOLTIPS.

Opening and Saving Files

You can open and save external files from any text editor window, such as the Program Editor window. Some SAS windows, such as Log and Output, do not allow file input; you cannot open files from these windows, but you can save the window contents to external files. If you would like the default folder for the Open and Save As dialog boxes to be the current working folder and not the SASUSER folder, you can start the SAS System using the SASINITIALFOLDER system option. For more information, see SASINITIALFOLDER.

Opening Files

To open a file from the Program Editor:

  1. With the Program Editor window active, either click on the Open toolbar button (the opened file folder), enter DLGOPEN in the command bar, or select File and click Open. SAS displays the Open dialog box.

  2. Use the Open dialog box to select the file you want to include. By default, SAS looks for files with the .SAS file extension (which contain SAS code, by convention). However, you can change this by adjusting the Files of type field. (If you change the selected file type, SAS will remember that selection and present it as the default the next time that you open a file for that window during the SAS session.)

  3. If the file you are including contains SAS code that you want to submit, check the Submit box before clicking [OK].

    Note:   If you select Submit , it remains selected each time you use the Open dialog box to open a file. You must deselect it if you do not want to submit the contents of the file you want to open.  [cautionend]

You can also drag and drop a file into the Program Editor from the Windows Explorer or the My Favorite Folders window. To do this,

  1. Open the source window.

  2. Position the source window and the Program Editor window so that both are visible.

  3. In the source window, find and select the file you want to open; click and hold down the left mouse button

  4. Drag the file over the Program Editor window and release the left mouse button.

Note:   The Program Editor window can hold up to 256 characters on a single line. If you open a file with lines longer than 256 characters in the Program Editor window, the lines are truncated unless you use the INCLUDE command with an LRECL= value equal to the number of characters in the longest line, and you set either the AUTOWRAP or AUTOFLOW command to ON. If you want to use the Open dialog box to open a file with lines longer than 256 characters, use the FILENAME statement to set up a fileref with the appropriate options and then use the fileref, enclosed in double quotes, in the File Name field in the Open dialog box.  [cautionend]

Saving Window Contents to a File

To save the contents of the active window to a file:

  1. Either click on the Save toolbar button (the diskette) or select the File pull-down menu and select Save. If you have previously saved the contents of this window to a file (and the filename is part of the window title), SAS simply saves the contents to the file you specified previously. If you have not saved the window contents during this session (and the window title bar displays the name "Untitled"), then SAS displays the Save As dialog box.

    If you have previously saved the window contents but now want to save it to a different file, select Save As instead of Save in the File pull-down menu or enter the DLGSAVE command.

    Always use Save As when you want to save the contents of the editor to a new file. If you open a text file in the editor window, whether you use the Open dialog box or the INCLUDE command, the editor title bar displays the name of the file that you opened. When you select the File pull-down menu and then the Save item, SAS overwrites or appends the file of that name with the current contents of the editor.  [cautionend]

  2. Select or name the file in which to store the window contents. Optionally, you can select a file type from the Save file as type list. SAS saves most file types as plain text and assigns different file extensions based on the type you select; the exception is the RTF file type, which SAS saves in rich text format (RTF).

    If you select a file type from the list, SAS remembers that selection and presents it as the default type the next time that you save a new file in that window.

Clearing the Window and Filename

To clear a SAS window of its contents and saved filename (if it has one), do one of the following:

If the contents of the window have not been saved, SAS prompts you to save them before it clears the window.

Defining Keys

To display the key definitions that are active for the SAS session (that is, the DMKEYS entry in your SASUSER.PROFILE catalog), either type keys in the command box or select

These key definitions apply to the basic SAS windows, such as Program Editor, Output, and Log windows. Default Key Definitions under Windows contains a list of the default key definitions. See Keyboard Shortcuts within the Enhanced Editor for default key definitions for the Enhanced Editor.

Other SAS products have their own key definitions. Use the pull-down menus in the specific product window to access key definitions for specific products.

Although the SAS System lets you define any key listed in the KEYS window, Windows reserves some keys for itself to maintain conformity among Windows applications. These reserved keys are not shown in the KEYS window.

To define or redefine a key within the SAS System, place the cursor in the Definition column across from the key or mouse button you want to define and type the command or commands that you want to associate with that key or button. The definition must be a valid SAS command or sequence of commands. When you specify a sequence of commands, separate the commands with a semi-colon ( ; ). For example, if you want to define the CTRL+H key sequence to maximize a window and recall the last submitted program, specify the following commands in the Definitions column next to CTL H:

zoom; recall

The SAS System does not check the syntax of a command until it is used (that is, when the key is pressed). If you misspell a command or type an incorrect command, you do not discover your error until you use the key and receive an error message that indicates that the command was unrecognized.

Your key definitions are stored in your SAS user profile catalog. SAS creates a profile catalog each time you invoke the SAS System with a different value for the SASUSER option. Changes you make to one profile catalog are not reflected in any other. However, you can use the COPY command from the KEYS window or the CATALOG procedure to copy key definition members to other profile catalogs. (For more information, see the CATALOG procedure in SAS Procedures Guide.)

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.