SAS Tutorial: An Interesting Overview In 2021


Welcome to a comprehensive SAS tutorial. Data and data analytics are the buzzwords today. There are several tools available to perform data analytics. Most of these tools are mere programming languages and companies have to invest in developing analytics models using them. SAS on the other hand is a single platform from one vendor that provides a complete functional analytics framework. It’s a full end-to-end analytics platform that taps into the knowledge and engagement of a global network of experts that provide services such as implementation, management, hosting, and support. In addition, SAS has the capability of handling large data volumes.

Thus, SAS is the full package most organizations are looking for in a data analytics platform because it combines robust data capability with comprehensive features. 

  1. What Is Data Analytics?
  2. Need For SAS
  3. SAS Tutorial
  4. SAS Components
  5. SAS As A Programming Language
  6. Installation Of SAS Programming/ Development Environment
  7. Running A SAS Program

1. What Is Data Analytics?

Data Analytics is the science of examining raw data usually lots of it to draw a conclusion from that information. Individuals and enterprises make use of data analytics to make sense of data. Data analyst usually analyse raw data for observations and patterns to extract valuable insights from it. They use a variety of methods and strategies to assist companies in making decisions and achieving success. 

2. Need For SAS

Here’s is an example to illustrate the need for SAS 

Consider an e-commerce business that wants to learn about its customers’ purchasing habits based on historical data. To obtain the generalized perspective, the organization would have to consider thousands of records from different clients.

Then there can be some data elements that are not explicit. For example, data on customers’ choice of one article or brand over another. These missing elements could create errors in analysis.

If the above study were to be done manually, this would require huge manpower and thousands of man-hours, and the results may be ambiguous. With the SAS analytic platform, the same analysis can be completed within a few hours by a single analyst. The SAS tool helps you to get rid of irrelevant data and focus on what’s important. It will allow you to predict an outcome even if some data is missing. SAS allows you to make more informed choices.

3. SAS Tutorial

Before we begin with the SAS tutorial, let us understand what is SAS.

SAS stands for Statistical Analysis System. It’s an integrated system of software products that are used in Business intelligence. It is owned and maintained by the company SAS Institute Inc. and. SAS turns data into knowledge, which can give you a new perspective on your business. Different areas where SAS is used in programs are: 

  • Information Retrieval and data management
  • Operations research and project management
  • Report writing and graphics
  • Statistical Analysis, isometrics, and data mining
  • Applications development
  • Business forecasting, planning, and decision support.
  • Data warehousing
  • Quality Improvement. 

SAS has over 40,000 customers worldwide and dominates the advanced analytics industry. SAS has been a leader in the data analytics domain because of its unique and powerful features such as unparalleled data security, best technical support, detailed documentation, memory management, and low cost of the software license.

4. SAS Components

SAS comes with several built-in modules for different analytics and reporting needs. Some common SAS components are 

  • Base SAS – It’s the most widely used SAS module. It is used to manipulate data, such as filtering, selecting, renaming, or deleting columns, reshaping data, and so on.
  • SAS/STAT – It can perform popular statistical techniques like hypothesis testing, linear and logistic regression, and principal component analysis, among others.
  • SAS/ACCESS – It allows you to read data from Teradata, SQL Server, Oracle DB2, and other databases.
  • SAS/GRAPH – This component can be used to generate both simple and complex graphs.
  • SAS/ETS – This module can be used to perform time series forecasting such as ARIMA, Exponential Smoothing, Moving Average, and so on.

5. SAS As A Programming Language

SAS unlike other programming languages is neither command-driven nor menu-driven. SAS programs are a series of instructions or statements. SAS only has 2 types of data types – numeric and character.

  • There are 3 steps in SAS programs
  1. Data Setup: This step loads the required data set into SAS memory and locates the data set’s correct variables. It also records the details.

The syntax for the DATA statement is:


DATA data_set_name;                            #Give a name to the dataset

INPUT var1,var2,var3;                            #Declare variables in the dataset.

NEW_VAR;                                                 #Define new variables.

LABEL;                                         #Give variables a label

DATA LINES;                                 #Provide data


2. PROC Step: It carries out complex analyses or functions to generate findings and reports.            


PROC procedure_name options; #The name of the proc.


3. The OUTPUT Step: With conditional output statements, you can show data from the data.


         PROC PRINT DATA = data_set;



A proper SAS tutorial would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the installation process:

6. Installation Of SAS Programming/ Development Environment

Following are the steps to download and set up the SAS environment locally on your machine. No internet connectivity is required for this. 

  • Download SAS from the given link

Go to this link and click on Get Free Software.

  • Select the operating system as per your system (Windows, Linux, or OS X).
  • Quick start guide to installation.
  • Download and install virtualization software: Before you run the SAS app, you must first install virtualization software on your computer.

The detailed steps as shown below 

  • Download the zip file compatible with the virtualization software you have. 


  • Unzip the zip file and store it in the directory of your choice.
  • Load the virtual machine: Start your VMware player Open the file with the extension .vmx file.
  • Click on Power on the virtual machine.  While loading a prompt to go to the URL to open SAS will appear. 
  • Start SAS Studio: Open a new tab on your browser and load the URL to start the SAS studio. 

7. Running A SAS Program

The below example shows how to define a variable, name a data set, create new variables and enter the data. The point to note is that a string variable has a $ at the end, and a numeric variable does not.

The run command is important to execute the SAS statements


comm = SALARY*1.50;

LABEL ID = ‘Emp_ID’ comm = ‘COMMISSION’;


1 Tom 5000 IT

2 Harry 6000 Operations

3 Michelle 7000 IT

4 Dick 8000 HR

5 John 9000 Finance 



The output of the above code is shown in the image below. The PROC PRINT was used to display the output in a printed format as below.


This concludes the SAS tutorial. Apart from the drag-and-drop GUI, SAS offers comprehensive support for programmatically transforming and analyzing data when compared to other BI tools. Hope the above SAS tutorial helps give you a basic understanding of the core concepts and techniques of SAS.

If you are interested in making a career in the Data Science domain, our 11-month in-person Postgraduate Certificate Diploma in Data Science course can help you immensely in becoming a successful Data Science professional. 


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