Introduction to PROC SQL

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Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours (plus additional time for exercises)

Learning Overview

This learning pathway will give you an introduction into the use of PROC SQL in the language of SAS.

There are mini quizzes and comprehensive exercises throughout to help assess and reinforce your learning.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Describe how to implement SQL within the language of SAS.
  2. Describe how to subset data to select columns and rows.
  3. Explain how to summarise and classify data


To get the most out of this course, it is expected that you should have attended the Fundamentals - the Language of SAS course (or comparable course of study).

If not, we would advise that you have at least six months experience of developing code in the language of SAS, including:

  • Building DATA and PROC steps
  • Character, Numeric and Date functions
  • KEEP and DROP to select variables
  • IF and WHERE statements to select observations
  • Conditional Processing with IF-THEN-ELSE
  • Combining Data Tables vertically and horizontally
  • Summarising Data with the FREQ, MEANS and TABULATE procedures.

A prior understanding of SQL is not required.

For the hands-on practice activities you will need access to an environment that runs the programming Language of SAS. On our courses, we signpost you to some of the free tools available. 

Check out the link below to review system requirements:

Learning Modules

Introduction to SQL Language Elements

Learning Objective: Explain how to implement SQL within the language of SAS;

  • Origins of Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Implementing SQL within the Language of SAS
  • SQL Language Elements

Selecting COLUMNS & ROWS

Learning Objective: Describe how to subset data to select columns and rows.

  • Selecting Columns
  • The DESCRIBE and FEEDBACK options
  • Create Columns
  • The CASE Expression
  • Selecting Rows
  • Special WHERE Operators

Summarising Data

Learning Objective: Explain how to summarise and classify data

  • Producing Summary Statistics
  • Columns created by a query
  • Classifying Data – GROUP BY
  • Summary Statistics by Group
  • Selecting Summarised Data - HAVING

Reference Modules

The following reference modules are included to support your learning:

Introduction to SAS Programming

Learning Objective: Explain what the Language of SAS is used for and by whom.

  • Explanation about SAS and who uses it
  • Data Access
  • Data Management
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Presentation

Basic Concepts

Learning Objective: Explain how the Language of SAS is used to access, manage, analyse and present data.

  • What is a dataset, a database and a relational database?
  • Libraries, LIBREFS, LIBNAME statement
  • Referencing a dataset
  • The Data Step procedure
  • Basic Procedures including PROC MEANS and PROC PRINT

Investigating SAS datasets

Learning Objective: Define how to investigate datasets in the Language of SAS using two types of Procedure.

  • The PRINT procedure
  • Metadata, the CONTENTS procedure
  • Types of data

Running Programs

Learning Objective: Explain how Programs can be run in the Language of SAS.

  • How programs can be run and types of output

Programming Concepts

Learning Objective: Describe the key programming concepts within the Language of SAS.

  • Program components – Data Steps and Procedures
  • Programming language is made up of statements, expressions, functions & call routines, options, formats, and informats
  • Managing Syntax errors
  • Naming conventions

Data Step Processing

Learning Objective: Explain how the two phases of Data Step Processing work to create new datasets and variables.

  • Data Step syntax: The DATA and SET Statements
  • Creating Datasets
  • Creating Variables
  • Data Step processing, i.e. what goes on in the background when you submit your data step code.

Selecting Variables and Observations

Learning Objective: Define Variables and Observations to be read from and written to datasets.

  • KEEPing and DROPing Variables
  • The IF Statement
  • The WHERE Statement
  • FIRSTOBS= and OBS=
  • CONTAINS (?) and SOUNDS LIKE (=*)
This product contains

Introduction to PROC SQL (Level 1)

SAS Reference Modules

Duration: 3.5 hours (plus additional time for exercises)