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SAS | How to read character of varying length using COLON Modifier
  • Last Updated : 23 Jul, 2019

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.




data ex1;
input ID Name :$30. Score;
cards;
1 ShubhamMaurya  25
2 SaurabhPandey  32
3 NikitaChaudhary  30
;
proc print;
run;

Output:

The colon modifier is also helpful to read numeric data that contains special characters such as comma(, ).

For example,



1, 000

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.




data ex2;
input ID Name:$30. Score fee:$10.;
cards;
1 ShubhamMaurya  25 1, 000
2 SaurabhPandey  32 2, 000
3 NikitaChaudhary  30 3, 000
;
proc print;
run;

Output:

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.




data ex2;
input ID Name:$30. Score fee comma5. ;
cards;
1 ShubhamMaurya  25 1, 000
2 SaurabhPandey  32 2, 000
3 NikitaChaudhary  30 3, 000
;
proc print;
run;

Output:

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.

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