Exporting a graph in SAS

Steve Simon


I got a question about how to export a graph in SAS to a program like PowerPoint. There are several ways to do this, and I explained that you can right click on any graph that appears on your screen and copy it to the clipboard and then open up PowerPoint and right click on a slide and paste it in. That’s fairly standard on any Windows system. I presume that SAS supports similar approaches on the Macintosh and Linus, but I have no easy way of testing this.

But there are other ways to export a graph. You can tell SAS to save a particular graph to a file and then you can import that file into PowerPoint. It works, but there is a twist.

I found a really simple example of saving a SAS graph as a file, and I adapted the code. It takes advantage of the very useful built-in data sets. Thank you SAS! Here’s' the code.

* graph_export.sas;
* written by Steve Simon;
* March 23, 2018;

ods graphics off;
filename grafout 'c:\temp\temp.gif';
goptions reset=all gsfname=grafout gsfmode=replace device=gif;
proc gchart data=sashelp.class;
vbar age / discrete;
title 'Age Distribution for Students';
filename grafout clear;

It didn’t work and it took me forever to figure out why. Let me show you what the log window looks like when you run this on my system.

NOTE: Writing HTML Body file: sashtml.htm
NOTE: 8894 bytes written to C:\Users\simons\AppData\Local\Temp\SAS Temporary
<U+FFFD><U+FFFD><U+FFFD><U+FFFD><U+FFFD> Files\_TD9268_KC-MED-917PFJ1_\gchart.gif.

It appears that SAS is creating an html file, which is okay by me, but it is also creating a graphics file, gchart.gif, buried deep in the bowels of my computer’s temporary file structure. You can traverse that bizarre path,

C:\Users\simons\AppData\Local\Temp\SAS Temporary Files\_TD6560_KC-MED-917PFJ1_\

and you’ll find the file, but I want it in a folder that I choose and I want to give it a name that I like. You have to google this to get an answer, but apparently the default, at least on my system, is to override the goptions statement when you are producing results using HTML and not creating a listing.

I’m guessing a bit here, but I think that a listing is the old-fashioned way of displaying SAS output and HTML is a more recent innovation (though more recent probably means sometime in the late 1990’s). More recent than either is ODS, which I have already mentioned, though very briefly.

If you want goptions to work, you have to change how results are displayed in SAS. You do this from the menu. Select TOOLS | OPTIONS |PREFERENCES and click on the RESULTS tab. Make sure that the CREATE LISTING option is checked. You can leave the HTML box checked to give you an old work and a new world view, if you like, or you can live in the Stone Ages with just the listing output. There are some other interesting options that I want to experiment with when I have time.

Anyway, with the CREATE LISTING option checked, you get the following log.

NOTE: 8797 bytes written to c:\temp\temp.gif.

And if you navigate to the temp folder, you’ll see the file you want. Hooray!