How to Import CSV Into Sas


How to Import CSV Into SAS

SAS is a powerful statistical software widely used in data analysis and research. Importing data into SAS is a crucial step in any analysis project. CSV (Comma Separated Values) is a popular file format for data storage and exchange. In this article, we will discuss the process of importing CSV files into SAS and address some frequently asked questions.

Step 1: Prepare the CSV file
Before importing the CSV file into SAS, it is essential to ensure that the file is properly formatted. Each column should be separated by a comma, and there should be no extra spaces or special characters. Additionally, it is recommended to have a header row that describes the variables in each column.

Step 2: Open SAS and create a new program
Launch SAS and open a new program by selecting “File” > “New” > “Program” from the menu bar. This will open a blank program window where you can write your SAS code.

Step 3: Write the import code
To import the CSV file into SAS, you need to write the appropriate code. Here is an example of how the code should look:

DATA your_dataset_name;
INFILE ‘path_to_your_csv_file.csv’ DLM=’,’ FIRSTOBS=2;
INPUT variable1 variable2 variable3 …;

Replace ‘your_dataset_name’ with the desired name for your SAS dataset. ‘path_to_your_csv_file.csv’ should be replaced with the actual path to the CSV file on your computer. The DLM=’,’ option specifies that the variables are separated by commas. FIRSTOBS=2 indicates that SAS should start reading the data from the second row, assuming the first row is the header.

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In the INPUT statement, replace ‘variable1’, ‘variable2’, ‘variable3’, etc., with the names of the variables/columns in your CSV file.

Step 4: Run the SAS program
After writing the import code, you can run the program by selecting “Run” > “Submit” from the menu bar. SAS will execute the code and import the CSV file into the specified dataset.


1. Can I import a CSV file with missing values into SAS?
Yes, SAS can handle missing values in CSV files. By default, SAS assigns a missing value to any empty field in the CSV file.

2. What if my CSV file contains date or time values?
SAS provides various formats and informats to handle date and time values. You can specify the appropriate format in the INPUT statement to ensure proper import.

3. How can I import a large CSV file into SAS?
For large CSV files, you may need to optimize the import process. One way is to increase the buffer size using the BUFNO and BUFSIZE options in the INFILE statement. Additionally, you can consider using the DSD (Delimiter-Sensitive Data) option to handle special characters within the data.

4. Can I import multiple CSV files into SAS at once?
Yes, you can import multiple CSV files into SAS using a loop or by specifying multiple INFILE statements in your code.

5. Is it possible to import only specific columns from a CSV file?
Yes, you can import specific columns by specifying their names in the INPUT statement. SAS will only read the specified columns from the CSV file.

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6. What if the CSV file contains non-numeric characters in numeric columns?
By default, SAS will assign missing values to non-numeric characters in numeric columns. You can use the INPUT statement with specific informats to handle such cases.

7. Are there any limitations on the size or structure of the CSV file I can import into SAS?
SAS can handle large CSV files with millions of rows and thousands of columns. However, the specific limitations may depend on your system’s resources and configuration. It is recommended to optimize your code and consider using SAS options like OBS= and FIRSTOBS= to limit the number of rows imported if necessary.

In conclusion, importing CSV files into SAS is a straightforward process that requires writing the appropriate code. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily import your CSV data into SAS and begin your analysis.