9月 112016

wuss2016logoThe Western Users of SAS Software 2016 conference is over.  I have been to a lot of SAS conferences, but WUSS is always my favorite because it is big enough for me to learn a lot, but small enough to be really friendly.  I’m already excited about next year’s conference in Long Beach, September 20-22.

If you missed my presentations this year or if you just want a written version, click the links below to download them.

How SAS Thinks: SAS Basics I

Introduction to DATA Step Programming: SAS Basics II

Introduction to SAS Procedures: SAS Basics III

SAS Studio: A New Way to Program in SAS presented by Lora Delwiche.

Errors, Warnings and Notes (Oh My): A Practical Guide to Debugging SAS Programs presented by Lora Delwiche.




8月 042016

Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORTNot too long ago I had a report generation request from an Alaska state agency. The request had some very specific requirements that detailed the use of user defined colors (by name), data driven control of the report, and Excel delivery using ODS and PROC REPORT. Along the way I had to: determine what colors are known to SAS by name; develop a user tool for color selection that would feed uniformly into a data driven table; construct formats based on the data that would match the user selected colors to specific types of report cells; and deliver the report using Excel. The process was interesting enough that it has resulted in two papers, which I will present at WUSS, September 7-9 in San Francisco.

In these two papers the process for discovering how to name, select, and display the colors is described. Formats are built from the color names and the reported data (DATA steps with two SET statements are used to perform a data merge). Traffic lighting is used is used at the cell level in PROC REPORT, and the whole process is driven by macros. Talk about a fun project! For those of you unable to join me in San Francisco for the full talk, here are two quick tips on how to do this.

Extracting color names from the SAS Registry

The names of available colors are stored in the SAS Registry. They can be extracted to a file through the use of PROC REGISTRY. The following REGISTRY step writes the list of color names and their HEX definitions to the text file COLORNAMES.TXT.

proc registry export= "colornames.txt" 

Displaying a list of colors

If a list of color names is stored in a SAS data set, those colors can be displayed using PROC REPORT. In the following REPORT step, an Excel spreadsheet is created that shows the list of available colors that are stored in WORK.COLORS both with and without the color in the cell background.

proc report data=work.colors;
  column  colorname colorname=clr; 
  define colorname/ 'Color Name';
  define clr  / 'Color';
  compute clr /char length=35; 
     call   define(_col_,'style','style={background='||colorname||'}');

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Please join me for the complete talk at the Western Users of SAS Software Educational Forum and Conference, September 7-9 at the Grand Hyatt on Union Square in San Francisco.  Discounted registration is still available through August 8th! Register now. It’s a great three days of educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, classes, workshops, networking and more.

Visit wuss.org for more information.

Editor's note: If you can't attend WUSS 2016 but would like to view Art's paper in it's entirety, the conference has plans to publish conference proceedings after the event.  

tags: ods, PROC REPORT, SAS ODS, US Regional Conferences, wuss

Tips for working with Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORT was published on SAS Users.

9月 152015

WUSS2015Over 400 enthusiastic SAS users gathered in San Diego September 9-11, 2015 for the 23rd annual WUSS 2015 conference. In this “digital age,” where so much of our communication is virtual and social, it was a treat to get out and meet SAS users face-to-face. The two and a half-days were packed with excellent presentations and activities.

For our users who were unable to attend, I thought it would be interesting to share some photos and touch on a few of the conference highlights below.

Conference Program – Conference leadership did an awesome job of putting together a program that featured best practices, trends and case studies that highlighted innovative uses of SAS. The conference attracted an impressive list of SAS experts, who delivered some fascinating talks. Conference proceedings will be published on http://www.wuss.org/ very soon.

Resource Central – Open throughout the conference, this was truly the place to be when not in presentation sessions. SAS was pleased to provide reps from Training and Certification, SAS Books, Technical Support, Consulting, and more. We also had a “Meet the Presenters” booth where attendees could chat one-on-one with the presenters from SAS. Eleven exhibitors including, Teradata, Experis, Gilead, and Texas A&M were also on hand. Electronic posters (e-posters) were on display, and attendees could relax in the lounge area or tune into topics presented in the WUSS Theater. The WUSS Theater was ideally suited for short demos using SAS software, career tips on organizational skills and how to work more efficiently, and short presentations such as statistics for non-statisticians.

Solutions in the Round – These innovative, small-group discussions were pre-selected by users from submissions posted to WUSS social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and sascommunity.org. Topics included Best Practices for SAS® Enterprise Guide®, Creating Microsoft Excel Output from SAS, Columns to Rows Table Look Up Methods, Professional Service Interviewing Techniques, and others.

Academic Scholar and Junior Professional Programs – Thanks to the generosity of WUSS and SAS, 27 students, 1 faculty member, and 20 junior professionals (those using SAS in a job three years or less) were able to attend the conference. In addition to complimentary registrations, many individuals also received free lodging, two half-day day classes, and travel money.

Closing Session – Just as I was getting accustomed to the time difference, it was time to say goodbye. Conference co-chairs Bill Coar (Axio Research) and Ginger Carey (Carey Consulting) thanked the dedicated team of volunteers that made this conference possible. Next year’s WUSS conference is scheduled for September 7-9, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt on Union Square, San Francisco, California.

Get involved in other users group events or join in the SAS Communities to not miss out on all the great user content shared around the world.


tags: US Regional Conferences, wuss

Users Catch the Wave at WUSS 2015 was published on SAS Users.

9月 102015

WUSS_2We’ve all probably done it. It benefits others and yourself. You don’t get paid, but it always makes you feel good. Of course, I’m talking about volunteering.

Jennifer Waller’s keynote presentation, “How To Get Your SAS On” was more than just a catchy title. The attendees at WUSS 2015 in San Diego got to learn about the benefits of giving back in their professional careers. It’s a fitting place to talk about volunteering, since user events like WUSS depend on volunteers to succeed.

Waller’s story

If you’re part of the SAS community, you've probably heard the name Jennifer Waller. She’s presented at Southeast SAS Users Group (SESUG) events and SAS Global Forum for a number of years. But the pinnacle of her professional volunteering success is coming up with the job of conference chair at SAS Global Forum 2016.

Volunteering was something that was instilled in Waller at a very young age. “My parents have been the example for me since day one,” said Waller. “Serving was just something we did.”

Waller continued to volunteer through her career years by getting involved in the SAS Users Group community. She felt it was her mission to educate users about SAS and all it could do.

In 2000, she started her work with SESUG by stuffing conference bags, labeling envelopes and helping with the registration desk. “No task is too small,” said Waller. “You do what’s needed.”

Volunteering = Career Development

The biggest benefit of volunteering is that it allows you to learn something new. “You get to have fun, network, and meet new people,” said Waller.

Here are some other benefits of volunteering in SAS Users Groups:

  • Developing new skills and competencies
  • Apply your existing skills in new ways and in new environments
  • Explore new career paths
  • Expand your personal and professional networks
  • Get on the radar of hiring professionals, giving them the opportunity to see you in action
  • Give back while assessing or actively pursuing your next role

How you can get involved in SAS Users Groups

  • Ask
  • Be available
  • Be willing
  • Say, “I can help”
  • Start small and increase your involvement
    • Session coordinator – count heads, introduce the speaker
    • Be a presenter
    • Section chair – help decide the conference content

In the end, you’ll get more out of volunteering than you give.

Waller concluded her presentation by saying, “You never know where volunteering will take you, who you will meet, or how it will enrich your life unless you do it!”


Waller's keynote presentation at WUSS 2015

tags: SAS Users Groups, US Regional Conferences, wuss

How to get your SAS on was published on SAS Users.

9月 082015

LittleSASBookAsk any user how they first learned SAS and there’s a good chance they’ll cite The Little SAS Book as a resource they used to get started. Authors Lora Delwiche, Susan Slaughter, and Rebecca Ottesen have written a new book that promises to be just as helpful to new SAS programmers.

Exercises and Projects for The Little SAS Book Fifth Edition includes a variety of exercises to help people learn SAS programming. All three authors will be presenting at WUSS 2015 in San Diego and signing books in the exhibit space on Thursday September 10 from 1:45-2:15pm. It’s a real treat for attendees, who can meet the authors and purchase their book at a 25% discount.

I recently chatted with each of them to learn more about their new book.

Q: The Little SAS Book has taught hundreds of users how to use SAS.  How is this new book different?
Lora Delwiche: The Exercises and Projects book complements The Little SAS Book by providing questions to test your SAS knowledge and interesting and often challenging exercises to practice what you have learned. The book also includes several ideas for extensive projects that require a broad knowledge of SAS to complete. All topics covered in the Exercises and Projects book are also covered in The Little SAS Book. We hope that readers of The Little SAS Book will appreciate having this book to help them along their SAS learning journey.

Q: In your blog for the SAS Bookshelf, you listed three different types of exercises included in the book:  multiple choice, short answer, and programming exercises.    What were some of the inspirations for your exercises?
Susan Slaughter: For every chapter in The Little SAS Book, Fifth Edition, there is a corresponding chapter in our new book of exercises. So, for example, the answers to questions in chapter 1 of our book of exercises can be found by reading chapter 1 of The Little SAS Book. Rebecca did a great job of tracking which exercises related to which sections to make sure that every section was covered. Further inspiration came from our work experiences (showing us what people need to know) and from teaching SAS (showing us where people tend to get stuck). I'm not sure whether this is true for Rebecca or Lora, but I also got inspiration from seeing where I personally get stuck. So, for example, I have a hard time remembering the order of the dimensions in a PROC TABULATE TABLE statement. (It's page, row, column.) So I wrote a multiple choice question targeting that specific thing.

Q: Lora and Susan have been “Rock Stars” in the SAS Press and users group world for a long time.  What was it like to work with them? Rebecca Ottesen: Working as a trio with Lora and Susan has been amazing. I had no idea in the beginning of this project how much effort we would put into writing the exercises and projects book. I came to the table with years of material that I had developed for my SAS programming classes at Cal Poly. For each chapter I would organize the relevant exercises and send them to Lora and Susan for review. It was clear right away that they are not only a great team, but they balance each other incredibly well. Susan has an impeccable sense of detail and writing style. She took my exercises and whipped them into shape. Lora made countless suggestions about angles that I had never thought of. Her ideas about variations on programming and coding style were invaluable. I never expected to learn as much as I did during this project. I am so thankful to Lora and Susan for collaborating with me on this book.

Now for something fun.

Q: When you’re not writing a SAS Press book or presenting at WUSS, what might I find you doing?
Lora Delwiche: I have been spending my summer in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Coming from drought stricken California, I have been relishing the abundance of water here by sailing, kayaking, and visiting the numerous waterfall and gorge trails that dot this area.

Susan Slaughter: It's not something I do on a regular basis, but I just returned from driving 3,000 miles from California to New York because my son, Matthew, is starting in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Master of Science in Business Analytics program. It is an amazing program and I wish programs like that had existed when I was in college! One thing that helped Matthew to get accepted into the program was the fact that he is Base SAS certified. Driving across the country is a lot for one person so my husband and I drove with Matthew, and then flew back. We drove 500 to 700 miles a day so there wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing, but we did manage to see Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Niagara Falls, both of which are incomparable and awe inspiring.

Rebecca Ottesen: Most of my free time is spent with my kids trying to do anything we can that is water related. We live about 10 minutes from the Pacific Ocean so we spend a lot of our weekend time at the beach during the summer. If we can't get to the beach then we try to get to the pool instead.

You can meet these fascinating ladies and a few hundred more of your fellow SAS users at WUSS 2015, September 9-11 in San Diego. Follow us on Twitter at #WUSS15!


tags: SAS Programmers, US Regional Conferences, wuss

Rebooting the Little SAS Book: Catching up with the authors before WUSS 2015 was published on SAS Users.

8月 312015

WUSS2015With all of the classes and presentations offered at this year’s Western Users of SAS Software conference, planning your activities can easily become overwhelming. Have no fear – we are here to help! Below are five “can’t miss” happenings at WUSS 2015!

1. Jennifer Waller’s Keynote Address - Wednesday, September 9

Jennifer Waller has been a SAS users since 1989 and is no stranger to presenting at SAS Users Group conferences. She has presented at SESUG and SAS Global Forum and will serve as the chair of Global Forum in 2016. In her keynotes address, How to Get Your SAS On, Jennifer will talk about her passion for volunteering within SAS Users Groups.

2. WUSS Happening Networking Mixer - Wednesday, September 9

The refreshments are great, but the real benefit of this event is meeting fellow WUSSes, SAS employees, exhibitors and presenters. You just may meet that person who has the perfect solution to your coding problem or has great career advice.

3. SAS Essentials Workshop - Thursday, September 10

If you’re a new SAS user or a professional looking to get back to basics, you won’t want to miss the SAS Essentials Workshop with Susan Slaughter. The workshop is split into 3 sections:

  • How SAS Thinks: SAS Basics I
  • Introduction to DATA Step Programming: SAS Basics II
  • Introduction to SAS Procedures: SAS Basics III

The SAS Essentials Workshop is offered as part of your conference fee, so there’s no additional cost.

4. Exercises and Projects for the Little SAS Book Signing - Thursday, September 10

Authors Rebecca Ottesen, Susan Slaughter and Lora Delwiche will be signing copies of Exercises and Projects for the Little SAS Book in the exhibit space behind the SAS Training & Books booth. If these names all sound familiar, it’s because they are all presenting at the conference as well. Susan and Lora present SAS Macro Programming for Beginners; Rebecca will present Web Services and Web Scraping with SAS, along with Brian Bahmanyar.

5. Resource Central - Throughout the conference

Resource Central is the heart of your WUSS experience! This is where you will find exhibitor booths, e-posters, the attendee lounge and WUSS Theater. Visit WUSS Theater for short presentations, demos, career tips and more.

So there you have it. Five events not to miss. We hope you have a great WUSS experience and I’ll see you in San Diego.

tags: US Regional Conferences, wuss

Don’t WUSS Out – Five “Can’t Miss” Happenings at WUSS 2015 was published on SAS Users.

8月 062015

Support for SAS Users is everywhere! Starting in September, Regional SAS Users Groups host their annual conferences. Through presentations and hands-on workshops, fall regional conferences expose users to new ideas, best practices and innovative ways to use SAS. Attendees also have the opportunity to attend classes and network with hundreds of SAS experts and peers close to home.

Our lineup of fall regional user group conferences include:

WUSS – Western Users of SAS Software

  • San Diego, CA Sept. 9-11
  • Regular registration ends Monday, Aug. 31
  • The official event hashtag is #WUSS15

The term WUSS is anything but derogatory for our awesome users in the west! This conference features the SAS Essentials Workshop with Susan Slaughter where beginners can learn SAS Basics. Authors of the newest edition of the Exercises and Projects for the Little SAS Book will also be there for a book signing.

SESUG – Southeast SAS Users Group

  • Savannah, GA Sept. 27-29
  • Regular Registration ends Monday, Aug. 31
  • The official event hashtag is #SESUG15

We invite all of our Southeast SAS users to join SESUG in historic Savannah, GA! This event features sessions on academic development, finance, pharma and health care. Have a problem with your SAS code? Visit the Code Doctors at SESUG for the proper remedy!

MWSUG – Midwest SAS Users Group

  • Omaha, NE Oct. 18-20
  • Early Registration ends Friday, Sept. 11
  • Regular Registration ends Friday, Oct. 2
  • The official event hashtag is #MWSUG15

There’s the east coast, there’s the west coast and all of those SAS users in between! MWSUG has already lined up an excellent Keynote speaker; Mihaela Kobjerowski is the Senior Vice President of First National Bank. She’ll be sharing insights on financial success with education and analytics.

SCSUG – South Central SAS Users Group Educational Forum

  • Baton Rouge, LA Friday, Oct. 30
  • Deadline for students and faculty to apply for scholarships is Monday, Sept. 7
  • Early Registration ends Monday, Sept. 21
  • Regular Registration ends Monday, Oct. 19
  • The official event hashtag is #SCSUG15

This one day event is chock full of educational opportunities. Beginner SAS users in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas should take this one-day opportunity to enhance your programming skills. SAS presentations scheduled include Analyzing Messy and Wide Data on a Desktop with Don McCormack, Connecting SAS Software in New Ways to Build the Next Generation of SAS Users with Amy Peters and Moving SAS Data and Analytics Results in Excel with Vince Delgobbo.

Interested in attending one of the fall conferences or joining a regional users group? Visit RUGS on support.sas.com for more information!


tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, scsug, SESUG, US Regional Conferences, wuss

SAS Everywhere: Fall Regional Conferences was published on SAS Users.

9月 232014

Western Users of SAS SoftwareLet's get one thing straight: I'm no wuss. Well, at least *I* don't think so.

But on September 3-5, 2014, I gladly joined ranks with over 400 WUSSes descending on the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose for the Western Users of SAS Software (WUSS) Educational Forum and Conference. It was my privilege to once again serve the group as an invited speaker and workshop instructor.

It was a great conference, and I'm thankful that I was able to be a part of it!

Wednesday: Opening Session and a whole lot more

The conference officially started on Wednesday at 1:00 pm with the Opening Session and a keynote address by AnnMaria DeMars. Conference co-chairs Ethan Miller and Frank Ferriola took the opportunity to use a parody of "The Most Interesting Man in the World" to promote my "Ask Vince" session:

"I don't often use SAS to create multi-sheet Excel workbooks. But when I do, I prefer to consult ... DelGobbo. Ask Vince, my friends."

I have to say that caught me by surprise; I knew they were going to do something to me, but didn't know what.

Under the direction of Kim LeBouton, WUSS tried something new this year: panel discussions. At 3:30 pm, Dan Heath from SAS and I joined Erik Larsen and Robert Springborn on the Data Presentation and Reporting Panel. It was a lively hour-long session where we answered a wide variety of impromptu questions from the audience. Interestingly, the answer for many of the questions was, "Stored Processes", a SAS technology that I partly support in my day-to-day work.

Then at 5:00 pm, I presented a 90-minute version of one of my SAS/Excel hands-on workshops. For those who don't want to do the math, my workshop ended at 9:30 pm Eastern time. And then it was straight off to the mixer at Scott's Seafood for about 3 1/2 hours. It was a very long day, so it's a good thing I'm not a wuss!

Thursday: Breakfast with scholars then live Q&A

Rebecca Ottesen once again invited me to participate in the Junior Professional and Academic Scholar Breakfast at 7:30 am on Thursday morning. Even after such a busy day on Wednesday, it was easy for me to jump out of bed extra early to attend this event because I so much look forward to it whenever I'm asked to participate. Skilled SAS users intermingle with students and junior professionals during breakfast, and then there's a brief awards ceremony. I'm always impressed with the energy and ingenuity of these rising SAS stars.

The "Ask Vince About ... Moving SAS Data and Analytical Results to Microsoft Excel" session was held just before lunch. SAS Global Forum 2014 conference chair Marje Fecht asked me to do this session during that conference, and Ethan liked it so much he asked me to do it at the WUSS conference, too.

I don't have any prepared material, and instead rely totally on whatever questions are asked by the audience. And there aren't any "planted" questions - do you think I'm a wuss?? I'm happy to report that it went well here, too (whew!). And we may try it again at SAS Global Forum 2015.

Friday: Winding down

Working and watching the sunset at ... The SunsetOn Friday morning, I presented an introductory talk about SAS Enterprise Guide, helped tear down the SAS Resource Central room, said goodbye to old and new friends and then headed back to the East Coast with a few SAS colleagues. Weather woes in the Midwest prevented us from arriving until a little after 3:00 am Eastern Time. It's a good thing I'm not ... never mind.

But all of this got me thinking. I've spent a good amount of time in the West, and a fair amount of that time was spent working and using SAS from odd and interesting locations. Like a recent trip to the LA area, where I worked and watched the sunset from a table at The Sunset.

So maybe I am a WUSS after all...

tags: US Regional Conferences, wuss
7月 212014

WUSS 2014 logo Do you know the way to San Jose? By now, SAS users are getting to know the way to the Western Users of SAS Software’s (WUSS) annual event on September 3-5, 2014.

Although this is the third time WUSS has been held in San Jose at The Fairmont Hotel, this year’s event will introduce a lot of changes, one of which includes the name of the event—going forward, the WUSS Conference will be called the WUSS Educational Forum and Conference. The purpose of the name change is to emphasize all of the learning opportunities there are at WUSS. Besides the name change, WUSS has more exciting changes to announce:

Keep up with WUSS 2014 through social media

WUSS is planning to grow its social media presence before, during and after the Educational Forum and Conference concludes. Before the event, look for news and updates via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as well as SASCommunity.org.

Approximately a month prior to the conference, LinkedIn will be hosting contests on the WUSS group. In addition, the WUSS Twitter handle will be answering any questions conference attendees have—all you have to do is tweet the question and the WUSS Twitter account will respond within minutes. Think of it as having a WUSS expert available to you 24/7 on your phone!

Do you have photography skills? You’re in luck! This year, WUSS will be holding a contest to see who can post the best picture on Instagram using the #WUSS14 tag that best depicts your WUSS experience in San Jose.

Want to join the social media conversation and win cool prizes?

An app to make life easier

A new WUSS 2014 app will be available in mid-August for download prior to the conference. The app will allow conference attendees to build a schedule by picking presentations that sound interesting to them based on the authors’ abstracts, which are available on the schedule builder. The WUSS app also can connect to social media to display tweets and Instagram photos that are posted. Download this free app to your smartphone—creating a minute-by-minute schedule will never be easier!

Let the people decide!

Instead of defining sections for presentations up front, WUSS has taken a data-driven approach to section creation this year. Presenters submit their abstract to a content area, and the conference sections are created based on the submissions. This new approach gives presenters more flexibility to submit topics of their choice. Two new sections have already been created as a result: Big Data and Professional Development. Expect these new sections to be very popular with Educational Forum and Conference attendees.

Are you bummed you missed a presentation and your peers told you how fantastic it was? WUSS will now hold encore sessions for really popular presentations. Now everybody will have a chance to see the all-star presentations!

Don’t forget about Resource Central

WUSS 2014 revamps the exhibit area and has given it a new name: Resource Central. Inside Resource Central, you will continue to see representatives from SAS and other sponsors, including Teradata, Gilead, DataCeutics, Experis, TalentMine LLC, Texas A&M and Veristat.

WUSS Theater will include SAS Super Demos as well as presentations from the sponsors, exhibitors and other speakers. The schedule will be posted on the program card, so check it out often. If you smell popcorn, the WUSS Theater is close by.

Solutions in the Round gives all attendees to participate in an exciting new discussion area. These facilitated interactive discussions will be based on topics that you the attendee will have a say in deciding. Join the discussion on our pages on LinkedIn, SASCommunity.org or Tweet your ideas to #WUSS14SITR then contribute to the discussions live at WUSS 2014.

With all this activity at WUSS2014, you may need to take a breather once or twice, so check out our WUSS Lounge area also in Resource Central.

Other news of note

Conference attendees can expect a unique presentation from keynote speaker AnnMaria De Mars to “Lean In” With SAS. Being a long time WUSS attendee, AnnMaria will provide a strong, informative presentation that will enliven the audience.

To encourage new SAS users to participate in the education forum and conference, WUSS is continuing to offer student, faculty and junior professional scholarships to ease the financial commitment of attending a conference. WUSS is also expanding the mentorship program to give students and new SAS users guidance when writing a paper and presenting. With a mentorship available, the stress of giving a presentation to other SAS professionals is greatly reduced.

The conference committee is making this year’s Education Forum and Conference the best yet! If you haven’t registered, be sure to register as soon as possible—early registration ends August 4. After that rates do go up, but you can still register online until the conference starts. On-site registration will also be available. Visit wuss.org for more information and stay-tuned on social media for live updates, including the announcement of site of our WUSS Happening Mixer!


tags: US Regional Conferences, wuss