Recently, I wanted to make sure that some temporary datasets that were being created during data processing in a dataset creation program weren’t truncating values or differed from the variable lengths in the original. It was then that a brainwave struck me: create an empty dataset shell using data step and use that set all the variable lengths for me when the new datasets were concatenated to it. The code turned out to be very simple and here is an example of how it looked:
The STOP statement, prevents the data step from reading in any of the values in the template dataset and just its header is written out to another (empty) dataset that can be used to set things up as you would want them to be. It certainly was a quick solution in my case.