SAS Visual Analytics

7月 262017

In a previous blog, I describe how there are a few new features related to report and page prompts in SAS Visual Analytics 8.1; namely the ability to configure cascading prompts in VA 8.1: Cascading Prompts as Report and Page Prompts.

In this blog, I will cover how to configure prompts, either report, page, or report canvas prompts, that use different data sources.

Different Data Sources with overlapping data values

First, you must have two different data sources added to your Visual Analytics report. These data sources must have values that overlap that you wish to prompt on. All of the values do not need to map, but they must have some values in common if you wish to use a shared prompt.

In this example, we will prompt for Product Line. Let’s examine the column values:

I’ve color coded the values that I would like to map together. I see that the only values that match “out-of-the-box” is Game.

One work around to get all of the values to match will be to create a Custom Category and use that column for the mapping.

In a “real world” scenario, this may not be ideal. The cardinality of the two columns may be so large that you may have to go back to either the source data or ETL job to produce better matching values.

However, if you are using date columns as the mapping columns things are considerably easier as year, month, and quarter are standard values that match without extra steps.

Here is my new Custom Category that I will use for my mapping:

Here are my mappings now. I will be using Product Line (New) for the Insight Toys data source moving forward.

Add prompts

There are two different locations where you can add prompts, i.e. Control Objects, which means there are two different ways to configure prompts with different data sources:

1.     Report and Page Prompts

2.     Report Canvas Prompts

Report and Page Prompt configuration for different data sources

For this first example, I will configure a Button Bar object placed in the Page Prompt area to filter two different data sources. For the Button Bar’s Category Role, I will use the data source with the largest available selection, in this case, the Product Line (New) from Insight Toys.

Now let’s configure this button bar to filter both data sources. You must activate the button bar by clicking on it, then right-mouse click and select Edit data source mappings

Then you simply have to pick your source table’s column to map to your target table’s column.

That’s it. The mapping is complete. Here is what the report would look like with different selections made for the button bar. Notice, that since I used the Insight Toys data source for the Role assignment, and it has more values than available in the Mega Corp data. If a selection is made where nothing matches in Mega Corp, as in the Gift example, then the Mega Corp bar chart is blank.

Report Canvas Prompt configuration for different data sources

In this second example, I am going to use a List Control object within the report canvas to filter two different data sources. Again, I will use the Insight Toys’ Product Line (New) column as the List Role Category assignment since it has the most values.

Now to configure the list to filter both bar charts. Click on the list control object to activate the window. Then select the Actions pane, and use the Add button to select Add filter.

Then select both bar charts as the target of the filter Action.
Next, select the Map data option.

Select the source data’s column to map to the target data’s column. Use the + to add additional column mapping criteria.

Here is how the report would look with a few of the values selected from the list table. You can see how both Mega Corp and Insight Toys display overlapping values for Product Line but for any unique Product Lines, such as Gift, its values are only displayed on the Insight Toys bar chart.

Now you know how to configure your control objects for multiple data sources. This works no matter how many data sources you add to your report, simply use the Map data option and select the mappings between the source data and target data.

As I mentioned earlier, a frequently used application of mapping prompts for multiple data sources is for date columns. Here is a screenshot of one example using year and month. I also styled the button bar’s selected background and text color to coordinate with the graphs.


SAS Visual Analytics 8.1: Configuring prompts with different source data was published on SAS Users.

7月 102017

In SAS Viya 3.2, SAS Visual Data Builder provides a mechanism for performing simple, self-service data preparation tasks for SAS Visual Analytics or other applications. SAS Visual Data Builder is NOT an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) or data quality tool. You may still need one of those tools to perform more complex data preparation.

SAS Visual Data Builder can perform the following tasks:

  • View table and column profiles – provides information on number rows and columns on the table, as well as standard and advanced metrics for the columns.
  • Perform data transformations – includes items such as joining tables, transposing columns, creating calculated columns, filtering data and splitting columns.
  • Create plans – a plan is a collection of data transformations (actions) performed on one or more tables.  Plans can be saved and executed again.

SAS Visual Data Builder

To access SAS Visual Data Builder from SAS Home, select ≡ > SAS Visual Data Builder from the menu.
Note: The user must belong to the pre-defined custom user group Data Builders to have permission to access the application.

For SAS Visual Data Builder, the user can select their preferred default start screen in their application Settings.

The options are:

  • Show welcome dialog.
  • Start with data.
  • Start with new plan.
  • Choose existing plan.

With the SAS Viya 3.2 release, SAS Visual Data Builder is now a separate application from Visual Analytics (VA). There is not a one-to-one mapping of the feature set in SAS 9.4: VA 7.3 Data Preparation to SAS Viya 3.2: SAS Visual Data Builder.

For more information on SAS Visual Data Builder refer to the SAS Viya 3.2: Visual Data Builder was published on SAS Users.

7月 072017

For colleges and universities, awarding financial aid today requires sophisticated analysis. When higher education leaders ask, “How can we use financial aid to help meet our institutional goals?” they need to consider many scenarios to balance strategic enrollment goals, student need, and institutional finances in order to optimize yield and [...]

Meet student enrollment goals by optimizing your financial aid strategy was published on SAS Voices by Georgia Mariani

7月 012017

As a technical consultant for SAS, I have the privilege of meeting with SAS customers, learning more about how they use our software, and then helping them solve their problems. Recently, a client of mine was having trouble finding a way to implement the use of multiple application servers in SAS Visual Analytics 7.3 based on what business unit a user is a part of. Guessing that some of our SAS Visual Analytics Administrators may have the same question, I thought I’d share how we solved his problem.

The outline below is the order of operations of how a server context is selected. The example provided in the screenshots is how you would control access so that user requests will only be sent through the appropriate business unit server.

Preliminary Requirements

  • The Server is registered with the job execution service.
  • The Server is visible to the requesting user.

Assuming that all servers are registered with the job execution service the following steps are how an application server would be selected:

Step 1: The server associated with the target LASR library will be used. If the server is not visible to the user, proceed to step 2.

Figure 1: In this example the server context associated with the target library is SASApp which the user is denied access to in the server context permissions

Step 2: The suite-level default server defined in the SAS Visual Analytics configuration properties at “va.defaultWorkspaceServer” will be used. If the server is not visible to the user, proceed to step 3.

Figure 2: In this example the configuration property is also set to SASApp which the user is denied access to in the server context permissions

Step 3: Lastly, use any server that is registered with the job execution service and visible to the requesting user.

Figure 3: In this example the BU server context would end up being chosen because it is the only context that the user has permission to access

Some additional Info to Keep in Mind

  • The preferences in the administrator and data builder tabs allow the forced used of a specific server by opting out of automatic selection. These preferences can be separately set and one does not affect the other.
  • In SAS Visual Analytics Explorer, the pooled workspace server is used to populate the available data to import field, and the workspace server is used to perform the actual importing.

Figure 4: The pooled workspace server is denied access so the import data area will not be populated

I hope you found this blog helpful. Please feel free to leave a question or comment below.

Using multiple server contexts in SAS Visual Analytics was published on SAS Users.

6月 292017

In my last blog, we examined the data pane in SAS Visual Analytics 8.1. That blog discussed how to have the data pane display the data items of your active data source, and how to perform tasks such as viewing measure details, changing data item properties, and creating geographic data items, hierarchies, and custom categories.  In this blog, we’ll look at creating new calculated data items and calculated aggregations.

If you recall, l you display the Data pane in the Visual Analytics interface by clicking the Data icon on the left menu.

A calculated data item is a new data item created from existing data by using an expression.

  • Calculations are performed on un-aggregated data—the expression is evaluated on each row before aggregations are calculated.
  • Calculated data items can accept parameters.
  • A hierarchy can contain calculated category data items.
  • Calculated data items can be changed to geography data items and used in geo maps.

You can create a derived calculation from a category or measure data item by right-clicking on the data item and selecting Create calculation from data item.

For a category data item, you can create a distinct count, count, or number missing. Creating a derived calculation from a category data item:

For a measure data item, you can create a percent of total, or a periodic calculation based on one of your date data items. Creating a derived calculation from a measure data item:

Notice that in both cases, the new data item is an aggregation, so the new item will appear under the Aggregated Measure category in the data pane.

Note:  In order to use the periodic calculation types, your selected data item must include the year.

You can also edit these new data items by right-clicking on the data item and selecting Edit. Editing a derived calculation:

There is now a single interface for creating calculated data items of type Numeric, Character, Date or Datetime or Aggregated measures.

  • This interface provides both Visual mode and Text mode for viewing and editing the expression.
  • You can drag and drop data items or parameters and operators onto the expression in either mode.
  • In text mode, you can also type in your expression.

Creating a calculated data item or aggregated measure:

Specifying the calculation result type and format:

Some notes for using operators in calculations and aggregations:

  • Operators are provided for both calculations and aggregations.
  • You can expand and collapse each category of operators.
  • If you add an Aggregated operator to an expression, the result type will be changed to Aggregated Measure.
  • You cannot have nested aggregations in an expression.You also have access to periodic operators and simple and advanced aggregated operators for calculation aggregations.

In the same interface, you have access to simple and advanced numeric operators, simple and advanced text operators, along with boolean, date and time, and comparison operators for your calculations.

You also have access to periodic operators and simple and advanced aggregated operators for calculation aggregations.

The most important point to remember in using this interface is to think ahead as to whether you are creating a calculation (operating on each row) or an aggregation (operating across rows) and specify the data type and format before you begin to drag and drop data items and operators.  The default data type is Numeric, but if you add an aggregation operator, the type will automatically switch to Aggregated Measure.

Remember that you also create calculated items of character, date, and datetime data types–and you can choose from a list of date and datetime formats for those data types.

The SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 Data Pane: Creating Calculations and Aggregations was published on SAS Users.

6月 212017

Today in higher education, savvy users expect to have the information they need to make data-informed decisions at their fingertips. As such, leaders in institutional research (IR) are under pressure to provide these users with accurate data, reports and analyses. IR has been tasked with transforming data and reports in [...]

6 examples of data management, reporting and analytics in higher education was published on SAS Voices by Georgia Mariani

6月 142017

In SAS Viya 3.2, the Self-Service Import provides a mechanism for a user to import (copy) data into the SAS Cloud Analytic Services (CAS) environment. The data is copied as a .sashdat file into the selected CAS Library location when it is imported.  Self-Service Import data can only be imported into CAS libraries of type PATH, HDFS, or DNFS.

The Self-Service Import functionality is available in the following applications:

  • SAS Visual Data Builder
  • SAS Visual Analytics
  • SAS Environment Manager – Data

To have access to Self-Service Import, the end user must be granted the Read permission on the /casManagement_capabilities/importData object URI in the Security ⇨ Rules area of SAS Environment Manager.

Self-Service Import supports importing data to CAS from Local, Server, and Social Media sources.

Self-Service Import in SAS Viya

SAS Viya 3.2: Self-Service Import


Local file data can be imported from Microsoft Excel (.XLSX or .XLS), text file (.TXT or .CSV), the clipboard, or a SAS Data Set (SASHDAT or SAS7BDAT). The file(s) must exist on a file system available to your PC.


After providing the appropriate server connection information, a table from LASR or select database types can be imported. The currently supported database types are:  Oracle, Teradata, Hadoop, PostgreSQL, and Impala. The Server selections displayed are dependent on your licensing and configuration.

Social Media

After authentication with the social media provider (Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, or YouTube), data can be imported through the social media provider’s public API. Access to these APIs is subject to the social media provider’s applicable license terms, terms of use, and other usage terms and policies.

Currently, there is a size limit for file imports that is set on the CAS Management service Configuration screen in SAS Environment Manager. The default size is 4GB. The local file importer has a 4GB limit because that is what the smallest size limit browser (Internet Explorer) is restricted to; however, Chrome and other browsers will allow larger file sizes, which is why there is a property that allows an Admin to set a higher limit. A modification to the max-file-size property requires a restart of the casManagement service.

Social Media and DBMS importers have no explicit limits. However, there is a limitation of the disk size of where casManagement is running because the uploaded file gets written to a temporary file on the server relative to casManagement.

For more information refer to the Self-Service Import section of the The Self-Service Import in SAS Viya 3.2 was published on SAS Users.

6月 052017

Refining your data for effective reports is even easier in the 8.1 release of SAS Visual Analytics. In this blog post, I’ll take a look at the data pane, how it displays data from your active data source, and a few tasks that you might want to perform, such as viewing measure details, changing data item properties, and creating geographic data items, hierarchies, and custom categories.  In a future blog, I’ll look at creating filters, new calculated data items, and calculated aggregations.

In the SAS Visual Analytics interface, you can display the Data pane by clicking the Data icon on the left menu.

Measure details

You can view data item properties and make these changes:

  • The name of a data item.
  • The Classification of Measure or Category data item.
  • The format of a Measure or Date/Time/Datetime data item.
  • The aggregation of a Measure data item.
  • Note:  User-defined formats for Category data items are honored, but cannot be changed.  The user-defined format must be available to the CAS server where the data is loaded.

A Measure classification can be changed to Category or Geography. A Category classification can be changed to Geography.  Date and Tim classifications cannot be changed.

You can modify the aggregation for a Measure data item:

You can modify measure formats:

  • You can expand to display available Duration and Currency formats.
  • Over thirty different Currency formats are available for local or international currency.  (Example: $56,790 or USD56,789)

Geography data items identity a geographic region or location, and are typically used to visualize data on a geographic map.

  • You can create geography data items by using predefined geography classifications such as countries or states.
  • You can create a custom geographic classification by providing latitude and longitude coordinates in your data source.
  • For predefined classifications, the values of your category data items must match the lookup values documented here.

Designating a Geography data item:

Designating a custom Geography data item:

A hierarchy enables you to add drill-down functionality to a report.

  • A hierarchy can display information from general to specific.
  • You can create category, date/datetime, or geography hierarchies.
  • Not all report objects support all types of hierarchies.

  • A custom category is a category data item which associates a set of alphanumeric values with intervals, ranges, or specific values of a data item.
  • A custom category can be based on a category or a measure data item.
  • A custom category can provide functionality in a report similar to that of a user-defined format—without having to have a format previously associated with the data item.

1-20 = ‘First group’
21-30 = ‘Second group’
31-40 = ‘Third group’

Depending on the report object, some roles require only one value; other roles may require multiple values.

You can right-click on a data item in the Roles pane to remove the data item from a role.

Duplicating a data item can enable you to display data in two different ways.

Duplicating the Date data item with 939 different values can enable you to create a report that analyzes production on each day of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,…

Duplicating a measure data item can enable you to use the column as a category data item in reports as well.

Note: You can only delete data items that you have created, such duplicated data items or calculated data items.  Deleting a data item means that it no longer appears in the data pane.

This covers many of the basic tasks that you can complete in the new data pane. In my next blog, I’ll take a look at the visual and text editors for creating filter expressions and calculated items and aggregations in the data pane.

The new Data Pane in SAS Visual Analytics - It's painless! was published on SAS Users.

6月 022017

There are several exciting new features in SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 that I know will excite you, including that you can now configure cascading prompts for the Report Prompt and Page Prompt areas! Prior to SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 there was a way to use parameters to configure cascading prompts for report and section prompts, but now all we have to do is define a Filter from the Actions Pane. It’s a lot less work and there are even a couple of different ways it can be done.

Method 1

1.      Add Control Objects to Report or Page Prompt area.
2.      Assign Roles to Control Objects.
3.      Define a Filter from the Actions Pane.
4.      Test your cascading prompts and enhance controls.

Method 1, Step 1
Add the desired Control Objects to either the Report or Page Prompt areas.

Method 1, Step 2
Assign Roles to your Control Objects.

Method 1, Step 3
Create the cascading prompt by defining a Filter from the Action Pane. This means that for the selected data value in the source object, it will use that value to filter the target, i.e. return the rows where source prompt = selected value.

In this example, we are using our SASHELP Cars data set. Our source is the car’s Origin and the target is the car’s Make. If you pick Europe for Origin it will return the corresponding car Makes such as Audi, BMW, Saab, Volkswagen, etc.

Click on the source Control object, Origin, and from the Actions Pane, select Add filter.

Next, select the target object to filter and click OK.

You can check to be sure your action is defined by clicking on the Objects and looking at the Actions Pane.

Method 1, Step 4
Enhance your controls using the Options Pane and then test out your configured cascading prompts!

In my example, I made the Origin button bar required and changed the Selection background color and text color. I also added a bar chart to my report.

Method 2

1.      Define a prompt hierarchy.
2.      Drag the prompt hierarchy to the Report or Page Prompt area.
3.      Test your cascading prompts.
4.      (Optional) Enhance controls.

Method 2, Step 1
Create a hierarchy for the data items for which you wish to create cascading prompts.

Method 2, Step 2
Drag your prompt hierarchy to either the Report or Page Prompt area.

Method 2, Step 3
Test your automatically configured cascading prompts! That’s right – this is another new feature. Well, it’s two combined, first is the Auto Controls. Second, if you drag a hierarchy data item to either the Report or Page Prompt area, SAS Visual Analytics automatically defines the Filter Actions for you.

Method 2, Step 4 (Optional)
Go back and enhance your Control Objects using the Options Pane as you like.

There you have it – cascading prompts anywhere in SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 reports: in Report Prompts, Page Prompts and of course still anywhere in the report canvas; and it’s as easy as defining Filter Actions. You may be wondering, is it possible to configure cascading prompts for different data sources? Not to worry – it is and I’ll show you in in my next blog.

Cascading Prompts as Report and Page Prompts in SAS Visual Analytics was published on SAS Users.

5月 092017

What do you get when you combine analytics, aviation and the Internet of Things? A learning experience that leaves everyone flying high! At Data on the Fly, 25 area high school students had the opportunity to learn how technology has changed – and continues to change – the aviation industry. [...]

Students visualize aircraft data in real time using SAS was published on SAS Voices by Katie Howard