Lesson 1: Getting Started in SAS

Overview Section

Let's get started! This lesson is an overview of what the SAS statistical software application is all about. The purpose here is to get you acquainted with how the application works and is organized so that you can begin writing programs to manage and analyze the data that you have collected.

Keep your eye out for important syntax rules for what the SAS application expects or needs from the user in order to perform the tasks that you want it to do.


Upon completion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • know the basic ("syntax") rules for all SAS statements
  • know the basic ("syntax") rules for all SAS names
  • know the basic structure of a DATA step and a PROC step
  • identify the type of information contained in the descriptor portion of a SAS data set
  • identify the observations and variables contained in a SAS data set
  • know the six possible attributes of a variable contained in a SAS data set
  • distinguish between numeric and character variables
  • identify the five different SAS windows and explain their function
  • execute (or "run") a program in SAS
  • know the guidelines for good formatting and commenting of computer programs (that you are expected to follow throughout this course)
  • use the SAS Editor Window to modify a simple SAS program