ERROR: Ambiguous reference, column xx is in more than one table.

Sometimes, SAS messages are not all that they seem and a number of them are issued from PROC SQL when something goes awry with your code. In fact, I got a message like the above when ordering the results of the join using a variable that didn’t exist in either of the datasets that were joined. This type of thing has been around for a while (I have been using SAS since version 6.11 and it was there then) and it amazes me that we haven’t seen a better message in more recent versions of SAS; it was SAS 9.2 where I saw it most recently.

proc sql noprint;
select a.yy, a.yyy, b.zz
from a left join b
on a.yy=b.yy
order by xx;

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