SAS | How to read character of varying length using COLON Modifier
We generally face this situation when we have company names or both first and last names of a person in our data set.
We can use a colon modifier “:” to tell SAS to read variable “Name” until there is a space or other delimiter. The $30. refers to the variable as a character variable having max length 30.
The colon modifier is also helpful to read numeric data that contains special characters such as comma(, ).
For example, if you want to read a variable which holds numeric values with the comma in thousands place (or thousand separators) then refer the code below.
In the above program, we have declared “fee” variable with colon modifier to load data and used $ sign to read this variable. It will be stored as a character variable. If you would not use $ sign, it will return missing values. Refer the program below how to store it as a numeric variable.
Note: comma5 format removes comma and store it as a numeric variable. 5 refers to the width of the input field. To read a bigger number such as 5, 000, 000, you can use comma10.