Its Only Temporary

Its only temporary

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Coders' Corner
It’s Only Temporary
Janet Stuelpner, ASG, Inc., Cary, North Carolina
Boris Krol, Pfizer, Inc., New York, New York
Very often during an interactive SAS® session, it is In previous versions of the SAS system, it was not
necessary to create temporary external files. From possible to define both SAS data sets and ASCII
release 6.11 of the SAS System we have the ability files in the same directory. Now there is an easy
to create a flat file within the same directory that way to do it

contains SAS data sets. There are benefits to using
this new technique. This paper will show you how to FILENAME fileref CATALOG ‘catalog’;
define this file in the WORK directory and the
benefits of its use. Above is a very general FILENAME statement. The
words in upper case are required to remain the
INTRODUCTION same. The fileref can be any valid file reference

The ‘catalog’ must be in the form:
It is easy to create a permanent file using a
LIBNAME statement for SAS data sets or a library.catalog.entry.entrytype
FILENAME statement for external files. However,
each operating system has its own mechanism for where library must be WORK and entrytype must be
creating a file that is temporary in nature. By SOURCE. If this structure is adhered to, the
definition, a temporary file, whether it is a SAS data temporary file will be created in the WORK
set or an external file, is one that is deleted at the directory. The most common temporary library is
end of the SAS session. In the MVS operating the WORK library. The WORK data library is a
system, this is true. When a file is defined with an temporary SAS data library that is automatically
ampersand as its first character (e.g., &MYTEMP) it defined by the SAS system upon invocation to store
is deleted at the end of a batch job or an interactive temporary files. As we all know, this data library is
SAS session. For example, temporary files can be deleted at the end of a session during the file
defined as follows: cleanup phase

FILENAME FLATEMP ‘&TEMP’; There are many reasons to create a temporary file

The two examples below show the most common
Unfortunately, the personal computer (PC) operating reasons to do this

systems do not react in the same manner. If a file is
defined, as in the example above, the file would Example 1
reside on the hard drive in the current directory. In
the PC environment, space and memory are Quite often it is necessary to write the output from a
important, limited resources. Therefore, removal of procedure to an external file, read it back in to do
unneeded files becomes extremely urgent. To some processing before it is ultimately written to the
remove these files would require manual output window or directly to the printer. One such
intervention. You can use an X statement to issue challenge is to count the number of pages that are
an operating system command from within your produced in a report so that the total number of
SAS session (e.g., DELETE or ERASE). You can pages are included on each page. For example, if
also use the X statement to invoke an application in the report has 10 pages, it is desirable for each
which you can delete a file (e.g., windows explorer page to specify 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc. In
or file manager). Another choice is to delete the order to accomplish this task, first the output must
files after exiting your SAS session. With the be directed to a temporary file. Then it is read into a
release of version SAS 6.11, there is a way to DATA step where the pages are counted and then
create a temporary file that is automatically deleted the total number of pages is placed into a macro
when the interactive session is over. variable. To achieve this, the output is sent to the
external file by way of a PROC PRINTTO. The
Coders' Corner
following code is a template of what needs to be SAS® is a registered trademark of the SAS Institute,
done for the scenario that has been defined. Inc., in the USA and in other countries.  indicates
USA registration

filename tmp catalog ‘work.temp.outlist.source’;
proc printto print=tmp new;
run; SAS Institute Inc. (1995), SAS Software:
proc report data=work.pgdata; Changes and Enhancements, Release 6.11, Cary,
. NC: SAS Institute

more SAS code
SAS Institute Inc. (1990), SAS Companion for the

MVS Environment, Version 6, Second Edition, Cary,

NC: SAS Institute
proc printto;
run; SAS Institute Inc. (1993), SAS Companion for the
data _null_; Microsoft Windows Environment, Version 6, First
. Edition, Cary, NC: SAS Institute

more SAS code Stuelpner, J. and Kaptsanov, E (1997), “All The
. Data That’s Fit, We Print”, Proceedings of the
. Twenty-second Annual SAS Users Group
run; International Conference, 22, 474-476
Example 2 Haworth, L (1997), “Reports Based on SAS
Output: Taking Advantage of PROC PRINTTO,
In the previous example, the entire output from a DATA Steps and PROC GPRINT”, Proceedings of
procedure was placed in an external file. In this the Twenty-second Annual SAS Users Group
example, a DATA _NULL_ is used to manipulate International Conference, 22, 233-241
data being read in from another SAS data set

Within this DATA step, a PUT statement is used to Author Contact
write out to an external file. Then the data is read
back in and processed. Janet Stuelpner
ASG, Inc.,
filename tmp catalog ‘work.temp.outlist.source’; 326 Old Norwalk Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
data _null_;
set work.mydata; (203) 966-7520 (voice)
file tmp; (203) 966-8027 (fax)
. [email protected]

put ‘%prt(‘memname $8,’)’; Boris Krol
. Pfizer Inc

. 235 East 42 Street
run; Mail Stop 150/37/30
%include tmp; New York, NY 10017-5755
(212) 573-3003 (voice)
CONCLUSION (212) 309-4346 (fax)
[email protected]
The new options on the FILENAME statement give
us great flexibility when working with external files

As shown above, the SAS System allows us to
create an external file in the same WORK directory
with SAS data sets. This makes the external file as
temporary as temporary SAS data sets. This is a
great benefit, especially if you are constrained by

The report has 10 pages, it is desirable for each page to specify 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc. In order to accomplish this task, first the output must be directed to a temporary file. Then it is …

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