Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Reading data into SAS using the EXCEL and PCFILES library engines

4th March 2010

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a look at the Excel library engine again because I need to read Excel data into SAS. You need SAS Access for PC Files licensed for it to but it does simplify the process of getting data from spreadsheets into SAS. It all revolves around setting up a library pointing at the Excel file using the Excel engine. The result is that every worksheet in the file is treated like a SAS dataset even if there names contain characters that SAS considers invalid for dataset names. The way around that is to enclose the worksheet name in single quotes with the letter n straight after the closing quote, much in the same way as you’d read in text strings as SAS date values (’04MAR2010’d, for example). In order to make all of this more, I have added some example code below.

libname testxl excel 'c:\test.xls';

data test;
set testxl.'sheet1$'n;

All of the above does apply to SAS on Windows (I have used it successfully in 9.1.3 and 9.2) but there seems to be a way of using the same type of thing on UNIX too. Again, SAS Access for PC Files is needed as well as a SAS PC Files server on an available Windows machine and it is the PCFILES engine that is specified. While I cannot say that I have had the chance to see it working in practice but seeing it described in SAS Online Documentation corrected my previous misimpressions about the UNIX variant of SAS and its ability to read in Excel or Access data. Well, you learn something new every day.

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