Data Visualization

4月 202021
 

I can’t believe it’s true, but SAS Global Forum is just over a month away. I have some exciting news to share with you, so let’s start with the theme for this year:

New Day. New Answers. Inspired by Curiosity.

What a fitting theme for this year! Technology continues to evolve, so each new day is a chance to seek new answers to what can sometimes feel like impossible challenges. Our curiosity as humans drives us to seek out better ways to do things. And I hope your curiosity will drive you to register for this year’s SAS Global Forum.

We are excited to offer a global event across three regions. If you’re in the Americas, the conference is May 18-20. In Asia Pacific? Then we’ll see you May 19-20. And we didn’t forget about Europe. Your dates are May 25-26. We hope these region-specific dates and the virtual nature of the conference means more SAS users than ever will join us for an inspiring event. Curious about the exciting agenda? It’s all on the website, so check it out.

Keynotes speakers that you’ll talk about for months to come

Want to be inspired to chase your “impossible” dreams? Or hear more about the future of AI? How about learning about work-life balance and your mental health? We have you covered. SAS executives are gearing up to host an exciting lineup of extremely smart, engaging and thought-provoking keynote speakers like Adam Grant, Ayesha Khanna and Hakeem Oluseyi.

And who knows, we might have a few more surprises up our sleeve. You’ll just have to register and attend to find out.

Papers and proceedings: simplified and easy to find

Have you joined the SAS Global Forum online community? You should, because that’s where you’ll find all the discussion around the conference…before, during and after. It’s also where you’ll find a link to the 2021 proceedings, when they become available. Authors are busy preparing their presentations now and they are hard at work staging their proceedings in the community. Join the community so you can connect with other attendees and know when the proceedings become available.

Stay tuned for even more details

SAS Global Forum is the place where creativity meets curiosity, and amazing analytics happens! I encourage you to regularly check the conference website, as we’re continually adding new sessions and events. You don’t want to miss this year’s conference, so don’t forget to register for SAS Global Forum. See you soon!

Registration is open for a truly inspiring SAS Global Forum 2021 was published on SAS Users.

12月 172020
 

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a task and getting stuck. Being able to find quick tips and tricks to help you solve the task at hand, or simply entertain your curiosity, is key to maintaining your efficiency and building everyday skills. But how do you get quick information that’s ALSO engaging? By adding some personality to traditionally routine tutorials, you can learn and may even have fun at the same time. Cue the SAS Users YouTube channel.

With more than 50 videos that show personality published to-date and over 10,000 hours watched, there’s no shortage of learning going on. Our team of experts love to share their knowledge and passion (with personal flavor!) to give you solutions to those everyday tasks.

What better way to round out the year than provide a roundup of our most popular videos from 2020? Check out these crowd favorites:

Most viewed

  1. How to convert character to numeric in SAS
  2. How to import data from Excel to SAS
  3. How to export SAS data to Excel

Most hours watched

  1. How to import data from Excel to SAS
  2. How to convert character to numeric in SAS
  3. Simple Linear Regression in SAS
  4. How to export SAS data to Excel
  5. How to Create Macro Variables and Use Macro Functions
  6. The SAS Exam Experience | See a Performance-Based Question in Action
  7. How it Import CSV files into SAS
  8. SAS Certification Exam: 4 tips for success
  9. SAS Date Functions FAQs
  10. Merging Data Sets in SAS Using SQL

Latest hits

  1. Combining Data in SAS: DATA Step vs SQL
  2. How to Concatenate Values in SAS
  3. How to Market to Customers Based on Online Behavior
  4. How to Plan an Optimal Tour of London Using Network Optimization
  5. Multiple Linear Regression in SAS
  6. How to Build Customized Object Detection Models

Looking forward to 2021

We’ve got you covered! SAS will continue to publish videos throughout 2021. Subscribe now to the SAS Users YouTube channel, so you can be notified when we’re publishing new videos. Be on the lookout for some of the following topics:

  • Transforming variables in SAS
  • Tips for working with SAS Technical Support
  • How to use Git with SAS

2020 roundup: SAS Users YouTube channel how to tutorials was published on SAS Users.

11月 202020
 

If you’re like me and the rest of the conference team, you’ve probably attended more virtual events this year than you ever thought possible. You can see the general evolution of virtual events by watching the early ones from April or May and compare them to the recent ones. We at SAS Global Forum are studying the virtual event world, and we’re learning what works and what needs to be tweaked. We’re using that knowledge to plan the best possible virtual SAS Global Forum 2021.

Everything is virtual these days, so what do we mean by virtual?

Planning a good virtual event takes time, and we’re working through the process now. One thing is certain -- we know the importance of providing quality content and an engaging experience for our attendees. We want to provide attendees with the opportunity as always, but virtually, to continue to learn from other SAS users, hear about new and exciting developments from SAS, and connect and network with experts, peers, partners and SAS. Yes, I said network. We realize it won’t be the same as a live event, but we are hopeful we can provide attendees with an incredible experience where you connect, learn and share with others.

Call for content is open

One of the differences between SAS Global Forum and other conferences is that SAS users are front and center, and the soul of the conference. We can’t have an event without user content. And that’s where you come in! The call for content opened November 17 and lasts through December 21, 2020. Selected presenters will be notified in January 2021. Presentations will be different in 2021; they will be 30 minutes in length, including time for Q&A when able. And since everything is virtual, video is a key component to your content submission. We ask for a 3-minute video along with your title and abstract.

The Student Symposium is back

Calling all postsecondary students -- there’s still time to build a team for the Student Symposium. If you are interested in data science and want to showcase your skills, grab a teammate or two and a faculty advisor and put your thinking caps on. Applications are due by December 21, 2020.

Learn more

I encourage you to visit the SAS Global Forum website for up-to-date information, follow #SASGF on social channels and join the SAS communities group to engage with the conference team and other attendees.

Connect, learn and share during virtual SAS Global Forum 2021 was published on SAS Users.

4月 232020
 

At the end of March, the German government sponsored a hackathon called #WirVsVirus. The aim was to bring Germany’s collective coding expertise to bear on some of the many problems surrounding COVID-19. In total, more than 27,000 coders joined the challenge, working from home, and programming for 48 hours from [...]

27,000 coders vs. the coronavirus was published on SAS Voices by Tom Sabo

4月 032020
 

These are incredibly tough times, and fortunately, everyone I know is still healthy, safe and doing everything they can to stay that way. I know I'm lucky -- the worst I've suffered so far under coronavirus stay-at-home orders is sports withdrawal. I'm trying to fill that void in my life [...]

Visualizing shots, goals, players and more with SAS was published on SAS Voices by Frank Silva

12月 092019
 

Building on my last post, How to create checklist tables in SAS®, this one shows you how to compare SAS data Check mark and cross mark sets that include common and uncommon columns. You'll learn how to visualize side-by-side columns commonalities and differences in data tables.

As before, we're working with a comparison matrix (aka checklist table) where check-marks / x-marks indicate included / excluded columns.

Data tables will be comparable products while their columns (variables) will represent product features. We'll add background color to highlight which attributes are different in the common columns. Since there might be several different attributes for a given column, we will use a hierarchy typelengthlabel to indicate only the highest mismatched level of hierarchy. For example:

  • If same-named columns have different type (Numeric vs. Character), their corresponding check-mark will be shown on a light-red background, which indicates the highest degree of mismatch.
  • If same-named columns have the same type, a yellow background will indicate any difference in variables length.
  • When same-named variables type and length match, a light-blue background marks any difference in variables label.

SAS code to create color-enhanced comparison matrix

Let’s compare variable attributes in two data tables: one is SAS-supplied SASHELP.CARS, and another WORK.NEWCARS that I derive from the first one, slightly scrambling its column definitions:

data WORK.NEWCARS (drop=temp:);
   set SASHELP.CARS (rename=(Origin=Region EngineSize=temp1 Make=temp2));
   length EngineSize $3 Make $20;
   EngineSize = put(temp1,3.1);
   Make = temp2; 
   label Type='New Car Type';
run;

In this NEWCARS data table, I did the following:

  • Replaced column name Origin with Region
  • Changed type of column EngineSize from Numeric to Character
  • Changed length of column Make from $13 to $20
  • Changed label of column Type from blank to “New Car Type”

Now let’s build the comparison matrix:

proc contents data=SASHELP.CARS noprint out=DS1(keep=Name Type Length Label);
run;
 
proc contents data=WORK.NEWCARS noprint out=DS2(keep=Name Type Length Label);
run;
 
data comparison_matrix;
   merge
      DS1(in=in1 rename=(Type=Typ1 Length=Len1 Label=Lab1))
      DS2(in=in2 rename=(Type=Typ2 Length=Len2 Label=Lab2));
   by Name;
 
   /* set symbol shape: 1=V; 0=X */
   ds1 = 1; ds2 = 1;
   if in1 and not in2 then ds2 = 0; else
   if in2 and not in1 then ds1 = 0;
 
   /* add background color */
   if ds1=ds2=1 then
   select;
      when(Typ1^=Typ2) do; ds1=2; ds2=2; end;
      when(Len1^=Len2) do; ds1=3; ds2=3; end;
      when(Lab1^=Lab2) do; ds1=4; ds2=4; end;
      otherwise; 
   end;
 
   label
      Name = 'Column Name'
      ds1 = 'SASHELP.CARS'
      ds2 = 'WORK.NEWCARS'
      ;
run;
 
proc format;
   value chmark
      0   = '(*ESC*){unicode "2718"x}'
      1-4 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'
      ;
   value chcolor
      0   = red
      1-4 = green
      ;
   value bgcolor
      2 = 'cxffccbb'
      3 = 'cxffe177'
      4 = 'cxd4f8d4' 
      ;
run;
 
ods html path='c:\temp' file='comp_marix.html' style=Seaside;
ods escapechar='^';
title 'Data set columns comparison matrix';
 
proc odstext;
   p '<div align="center">Mismatch Legend:'||
     '<span style="background-color:#ffccbb;margin-left:17px">^_^_^_^_</span> Type'||
     '<span style="background-color:#ffe177;margin-left:17px">^_^_^_^_</span> Length'||
     '<span style="background-color:#d4f8d4;margin-left:17px">^_^_^_^_</span> Label</div>'
   / style=[fontsize=9pt];
run;
 
title; 
proc print data=comparison_matrix label noobs;
   var Name / style={fontweight=bold width=100px};
   var ds1 ds2 / style={color=chcolor. backgroundcolor=bgcolor. just=center fontweight=bold width=120px};
   format ds1 ds2 chmark.;
run;
 
ods html close;

Here is a brief explanation of the code:

  1. Two PROC CONTENTS produce alphabetical lists (as datasets) of the data table column names, as well as their attributes (type, length, label)
  2. The DATA STEP merges these 2 lists and creates DS1 and DS2 variables indicating common name (values 1, 2, 3, 4) or uncommon name (value 0).
  3. PROC FORMAT creates 3 user-defined formats chmark, chcolor, bgcolor responsible for checkmark shape, checkmark color, and background color respectively. For checkmark shape, we use Unicode characters, and for colors we use both, color names (e.g. red, green) and hexadecimal RGB color notations (e.g. 'cxFFCCBB').
  4. PROC ODSTEXT’s P statement is used to display color legend for the comparison matrix.
  5. Finally, PROC PRINT with user-defined formats produces our color-enhanced comparison matrix.

Data tables comparison matrix – OUTPUT

The above code will generate the following HTML output with the comparison matrix for variables in two data sets:

Comparison matrix for common/uncommon variables in 2 datasets

Adding more detail to the comparison matrix chart

We can further enhance our output comparison matrix by adding detailed descriptive information about differences between variable attributes. For comprehensive view, we can add a COMMENTS column that spells out differences (attributes mismatches). In addition to the hierarchical logic defining only one mismatch of the highest degree indicated by color highlighting above, comments can include all found discrepancies. Simply add the following two pieces of SAS code:

1. Add the following group of statements to the above DATA Step (right after SELECT statement):

 length Comments $200;
   if ds1>1 then
   do;
      if Typ1^=Typ2 then Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Type1=',   Typ1, '; Type2=',   Typ2, ';');
      if Len1^=Len2 then Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Length1=', Len1, '; Length2=', Len2, ';');
      if Lab1^=Lab2 then Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Label1=',  Lab1, '; Label2=',  Lab2, ';');
   end;

Depending on your needs this Comments can be added unconditionally – you would just need to remove IF-THEN logic keeping only:

length Comments $200;
Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Type1=',   Typ1, '; Type2=',   Typ2, ';');
Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Length1=', Len1, '; Length2=', Len2, ';');
Comments = catx(' ', Comments, 'Label1=',  Lab1, '; Label2=',  Lab2, ';');

2. Add the following statement to the above PROC PRINT (right before the FORMAT statement):

var comments / style={width=250px};

Then your HTML output will look as follows:

Detailed comparison matrix for common/uncommon variables in 2 datasets

Conclusion

Comparison matrix charts are a convenient tool for data development and metadata validation when you're comparing a data table’s metadata against requirements descriptions.

It allows us to quickly identify tables’ common and uncommon variables, as well as common variable inconsistencies by type, length and other attributes, such as labels and formats.

We can easily add detailed descriptive information when needed.

On a related note

While this post focused on visualizing SAS data sets comparison vis-à-vis common and uncommon columns, it's worth noting SAS websites have plenty of info on finding common variables (or columns) in data sets. For example:

Your thoughts?

Do you find this material useful? What other usages of the checklist tables and color-enhanced comparison matrices can you suggest?

How to compare SAS data tables for common/uncommon columns was published on SAS Users.

11月 202019
 

Colleges and universities have access to enormous stores of data and analytics has the power to help higher education tackle some of its biggest challenges. Larry Burns, Assistant Director of Institutional Research and Information Management (IRIM), Oklahoma State University (OSU) knows a great deal about the power of analytics to [...]

Oklahoma State University’s analytics journey was published on SAS Voices by Georgia Mariani

10月 302019
 

Check mark
When I'm about to make a major purchase, I appreciate being able to compare products features at a glance, side by side. I am sure you have seen these ubiquitous comparison tables with check marks showing which features are characteristic of different products and which are not.

These data visualizations, sometimes called comparison matrixes, are also commonly known as checklist tables or checklist table charts. Such charts are extremely useful, persuasive visuals as they allow us to quickly identify differences as well as commonalities between comparable products or solutions and quickly decide which one of them is more desirable or suitable for our needs.

For example, here is such a table that I created in MS Word:
Checklist table example created in Word

SAS code to create checklist table chart

Thanks to SAS’ ability to use Unicode characters in formatted data, it’s very easy to create such a checklist table in SAS. Just imagine that each cell value with visible check mark is assigned value of 1 and each cell value with no check mark is assigned value of 0. That is exactly the data table that lies behind this data visualization. To print this data table with proper formatting, we will format number 1 to a more visually appealing check mark, and 0 to a “silent” blank. Here is the SAS code to accomplish this:

data CHECKLIST;
   length FEATURE $10;
   input FEATURE $1-10 A B C;
   label
      FEATURE = 'Feature'
      A = 'Product A'
      B = 'Product B'
      c = 'Product C';
   datalines;
Feature 1 1 1 1
Feature 2 1 0 1
Feature 3 0 1 1
Feature N 1 0 1
;
 
proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'
      other = ' ';
   value chcolor
      1 = green;
run;
 
ods html path='c:\temp' file='checklist1.html' style=HTMLBlue;
 
proc print data=CHECKLIST label noobs;
   var FEATURE / style={fontweight=bold};
   var A B C / style={color=chcolor. just=center fontweight=bold};
   format A B C chmark.;
run;
 
ods html close;

If you run this SAS code, your output will look much as the one above created in MS Word:
Checklist table created in SAS
Key elements of the SAS code that produce this checklist table are user-defined formats in the PROC FORMAT. You format the values of 1 to a Unicode 2714 corresponding to a checkmark character ✔ in a user-defined format chmark. Also, the value of 1 is formatted to green color in the chcolor user-defined format. The syntax for using Unicode symbols in user-defined formats is this:

value chmark
1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'

NOTE: ESC here must be upper-case; x at the end stands for “hexadecimal.”

Unicode characters for checklist tables

Unicode or Unicode Transformation Format (UTF) is an international encoding standard by which each letter, digit or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs. The Unicode standard is supported by many operating systems and all modern browsers.

It is implemented in HTML, XML, Java, JavaScript, E-mail, ASP, PHP, etc. The most commonly used Unicode encodings standards are UTF-8 and UTF-16. HTML 5 supports both UTF-8 and UTF-16.

You can use this HTML Unicode (UTF-8) Reference to look up and choose symbols you can embed in your report using SAS user-defined formats. They are grouped by categories to make it easier to find the ones you needed.

Here is just a small random sample of the Unicode symbols that can be used to spice up your checklist tables to get their different flavors:

Unicode characters and codes
You can also apply colors to all these symbols the way we did it in the SAS code example above.

Different flavors of checklist tables

By just changing user-defined formats for the symbol shapes and colors we can get quite a variety of different checklist tables.

For example, we can format 0 to ✘ instead of blank and also make it red to explicitly visualize feature exclusion from product (in addition to explicit inclusion). All we need to do is to modify our PROC FORMAT to look like this:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2718"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

SAS output comparison matrix will look a bit more dramatic and persuasive:
SAS-generated checklist table
Or, if you’d like, you can use the following format definition:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2611"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2612"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

producing the following SAS-generated ballot-like table checklist:
Ballot-like checklist table created in SAS
Here is another one:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "1F5F9"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "20E0"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

producing the following variation of the checklist table:
Another SAS-generated checklist table
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Your thoughts?

Do you find these comparison matrixes or checklist tables useful? Do you envision SAS producing them for your presentation, documentation, data story or marketing materials? What Unicode symbols do you like? Can you come up with some creative usages of symbols and colors? For example, table cells background colors...

How to create checklist tables in SAS® was published on SAS Users.

10月 302019
 

Check mark
When I'm about to make a major purchase, I appreciate being able to compare products features at a glance, side by side. I am sure you have seen these ubiquitous comparison tables with check marks showing which features are characteristic of different products and which are not.

These data visualizations, sometimes called comparison matrixes, are also commonly known as checklist tables or checklist table charts. Such charts are extremely useful, persuasive visuals as they allow us to quickly identify differences as well as commonalities between comparable products or solutions and quickly decide which one of them is more desirable or suitable for our needs.

For example, here is such a table that I created in MS Word:
Checklist table example created in Word

SAS code to create checklist table chart

Thanks to SAS’ ability to use Unicode characters in formatted data, it’s very easy to create such a checklist table in SAS. Just imagine that each cell value with visible check mark is assigned value of 1 and each cell value with no check mark is assigned value of 0. That is exactly the data table that lies behind this data visualization. To print this data table with proper formatting, we will format number 1 to a more visually appealing check mark, and 0 to a “silent” blank. Here is the SAS code to accomplish this:

data CHECKLIST;
   length FEATURE $10;
   input FEATURE $1-10 A B C;
   label
      FEATURE = 'Feature'
      A = 'Product A'
      B = 'Product B'
      c = 'Product C';
   datalines;
Feature 1 1 1 1
Feature 2 1 0 1
Feature 3 0 1 1
Feature N 1 0 1
;
 
proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'
      other = ' ';
   value chcolor
      1 = green;
run;
 
ods html path='c:\temp' file='checklist1.html' style=HTMLBlue;
 
proc print data=CHECKLIST label noobs;
   var FEATURE / style={fontweight=bold};
   var A B C / style={color=chcolor. just=center fontweight=bold};
   format A B C chmark.;
run;
 
ods html close;

If you run this SAS code, your output will look much as the one above created in MS Word:
Checklist table created in SAS
Key elements of the SAS code that produce this checklist table are user-defined formats in the PROC FORMAT. You format the values of 1 to a Unicode 2714 corresponding to a checkmark character ✔ in a user-defined format chmark. Also, the value of 1 is formatted to green color in the chcolor user-defined format. The syntax for using Unicode symbols in user-defined formats is this:

value chmark
1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'

NOTE: ESC here must be upper-case; x at the end stands for “hexadecimal.”

Unicode characters for checklist tables

Unicode or Unicode Transformation Format (UTF) is an international encoding standard by which each letter, digit or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs. The Unicode standard is supported by many operating systems and all modern browsers.

It is implemented in HTML, XML, Java, JavaScript, E-mail, ASP, PHP, etc. The most commonly used Unicode encodings standards are UTF-8 and UTF-16. HTML 5 supports both UTF-8 and UTF-16.

You can use this HTML Unicode (UTF-8) Reference to look up and choose symbols you can embed in your report using SAS user-defined formats. They are grouped by categories to make it easier to find the ones you needed.

Here is just a small random sample of the Unicode symbols that can be used to spice up your checklist tables to get their different flavors:

Unicode characters and codes
You can also apply colors to all these symbols the way we did it in the SAS code example above.

Different flavors of checklist tables

By just changing user-defined formats for the symbol shapes and colors we can get quite a variety of different checklist tables.

For example, we can format 0 to ✘ instead of blank and also make it red to explicitly visualize feature exclusion from product (in addition to explicit inclusion). All we need to do is to modify our PROC FORMAT to look like this:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2714"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2718"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

SAS output comparison matrix will look a bit more dramatic and persuasive:
SAS-generated checklist table
Or, if you’d like, you can use the following format definition:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2611"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "2612"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

producing the following SAS-generated ballot-like table checklist:
Ballot-like checklist table created in SAS
Here is another one:

proc format;
   value chmark
      1 = '(*ESC*){unicode "1F5F9"x}'
      0 = '(*ESC*){unicode "20E0"x}';
   value chcolor
      1 = green
      0 = red;
run;

producing the following variation of the checklist table:
Another SAS-generated checklist table
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Your thoughts?

Do you find these comparison matrixes or checklist tables useful? Do you envision SAS producing them for your presentation, documentation, data story or marketing materials? What Unicode symbols do you like? Can you come up with some creative usages of symbols and colors? For example, table cells background colors...

How to create checklist tables in SAS® was published on SAS Users.