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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cool V9 SAS Compress() Function Tricks

In SAS Version 9 there is a new option available for the compress() function. This new third option allows you to use "modifiers" to modify what compress() is doing. There are too many modifiers to list here, but they are worth looking up in the SAS V9 documentation.

Here is an example of a snippet of code I recently created to get rid of "non-printable" hex chars. This is a pretty standard data cleaning routine and is quite useful when some bad hex chars can creep into your text data. Instead of hunting and pecking for the funky hex chars you can just tell compress() to keep only the
"printable characters".

data _null_;
x = 'A ' '16'x 'bad' '18'x ' sequence, with puncuation?';

put x=;
x = compress(x,,"kw"); * k is for keep, w is for "write-able";
put x=;

Notice in the compress() function there is no second parameter, and there is a new third parameter specified: "kw".
K is for keep, and W is for write-able. So this reads as keep only

Pretty nice, eh?

As I said, there is a bunch of other modifiers available so take a look at the documentation. And happy coding!

Also, there are more examples of using the compress function with the optional third argument at my i-Doc site: