Checking up on SAS system option settings

The usual way to check up on your SAS system option settings is to do one of the following:

  • Through the menus: Tools>Options>System…
  • Entering "options" at the command line

There is another way and that is to look at the relevant dictionary table, SASHELP.VOPTION (you can also call it DICTIONARY.OPTIONS in SQL). That has the added advantage that you check the values programmatically and extract them into macro variables, a useful functionality when you need to change and reset values. Yes, options resetting can be done with a bare OPTIONS statement (OPTIONS;) but there are times when it’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Code using the dictionary table allows a much finer level of control and does not reset all of the options to their defaults like the OPTIONS statement. Setting all options back to their default values is clearly not desirable where specific options need to be retained; I remember line and page size settings changing because of this so the dictionary table approach has a lot going for it.

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