Changing the working directory in a SAS session

It appears that PROC SGPLOT and other statistical graphics procedures create image files even if you are creating RTF or PDF files. By default, these are PNG files but there are other possibilities. When working with PC SAS , I have seen them written to the current working directory and that could clutter up your folder structure, especially if they are unwanted.

Being unable to track down a setting that controls this behaviour, I resolved to find a way around it by sending the files to the SAS work directory so they are removed when a SAS session is ended. One option is to set the session’s working directory to be the SAS work one and that can be done in SAS code without needing to use the user interface. As a result, you get some automation.

The method is implicit though in that you need to use an X statement to tell the operating system to change folder for you. Here is the line of code that I have used:

x “cd %sysfunc(pathname(work))”;

The X statement passes commands to an operating system’s command line and they are enclosed in quotes. %sysfunc then is a macro command that allows certain data step functions or call routines as well as some SCL functions to be executed. An example of the latter is pathname and this resolves library or file references and it is interrogating the location of the SAS work library here so it can be passed to the operating systems cd (change directory) command for processing. This method works on Windows and UNIX so Linux should be covered too, offering a certain amount of automation since you don’t have to specify the location of the SAS work library in every session due to the folder name changing all the while.

Of course, if someone were to tell me of another way to declare the location of the generated PNG files that works with RTF and PDF ODS destinations, then I would be all ears. Even direct output without image file creation would be even better. Until then though, the above will do nicely.

Online favicon.ico creation

I recently updated the icon that appears beside this blog’s address in the address bar and bookmarks menus of some browsers. I gave it a go in GIMP but I seemed to get no joy. I pottered out on the web to discover what I might have done wrong only to find Dynamic Drive offering online favicon.ico creation. Out of curiosity, I decided to give the thing a whirl and download the result to upload onto my web server. GIF’s, JPG’s PNG’s and BMP’s with a size less than 150 KB are accepted and it did work for me.

A pleasant surprise…

Yesterday, when taking the screen grab for my post on Quanta Plus, I did the Alt + Print Screen shuffle as usual. However, when I did so, I was greeted with a dialogue box asking me where I wanted to store the PNG file that was to be produced and what I wanted to call it. The operation was as swish as that. In Windows, the screenshot gets stuffed into the clipboard for you to extricate it with your graphics editor of choice so this was an interesting surprise. It’s the sort of thing that can make a good impression and it is striking that Linux seems to be ahead of Windows on this one. Who said Linux was less than user friendly?

Saving screenshots in Ubuntu