Although most of the settings can be created / modified within a SAS session, it is recommended to start SAS with all environment variables already defined, e.g. via a startup script as described under § 2.3.
It is convenient to create a directory to run SAS and hold the processed results:
mkdir my_work cd my_work sas &
The command sas launches the main SAS GUI.
Using the preferences dialog in the file Menu of the GUI it is possible to set or reset the environment variables pointing to: the ODF Summary file or directory, the CCF index file, the directory(ies) containing the calibration files and the working directory. In addition the verbosity level (determining the debugging level of the tasks, 0low, 10maximum) can be set as well as the memory model to be used (see § 2.7).
The upper half of the main window is the task browser. One can click on the column headings to sort the tasks in various ways. Double-click on any given task to access the specific GUI of that task and configure its parameters.
The parameter dialog allows to configure the parameters of a task before running it.
If the task requires input data, they can be selected by opening a dataset browser. This allows to browse through the file hierarchy and select SAS datasets or individual components, such as tables, arrays or columns.
When the parameters of a given task have been configured, by pressing the "Run" button the task is executed. It is possible to kill a task from the Task menu.
The lower half of the main GUI window is a log panel which displays messages from the task. Check that the task ran successfully by looking for warnings or error messages displayed in the log panel.
The results from running a task will be output into the current directory, unless a different path has been specified for the output files. These files will typically form the input to the next task when running a sequence of processing steps.
It is possible to create a queue of tasks that will be executed when the current task finishes (see § 3.6) and to define the parameters for subsequent tasks before the current task has finished.
When the processing session is finished, the log provides a record of the steps that have been carried out, with all the parameters and any messages received from the tasks. This log can be saved for future reference. Scripts can also be constructed from those single calls.
The log is automatically saved in the file sas_log in the current directory. It can also be printed out from the "File" menu or tool bar.
The environment variable SAS_SUPPRESS_WARNING (by default set to a value of 1 in the SAS initialization) sets the maximum number of occurrences a specific warning shall appear in the log (and in the corresponding warning windows if ran from the GUI). If set to a value of 0, only the summary for each warning will be written to the log instead. In all cases a summary line specifying the number of occurrences for each issued warning is written to the log file.
The SAS GUI provides yellow tool tips which pop up when the cursor is placed over an item. To activate this functionality, first select the '?' button and then click on a specific task. Also, the main window has a Help tool, displayed as 'Help' in the top tool bar. Select a task and then go to the Help tool and select 'Task' to obtain more detailed help. Finally, the Help menu provides access to the on-line documentation. See Using on-line help for further details.