This is a new Benchmarks Online monthly feature. -- Ed.
By Dr.Karl Ho, Research and Statistical Support Services Manager
I used to be under the impression that SAS excels in a lot of areas but is only "okay" in graphics. You can generate all kinds of charts but if you want something that sparks a "wow" among the audience, SAS may not be your top choice. There are tons of packages out there that generate all sorts of animations and 3-D charts.
Not until recently when I re-discovered some of the features in SAS did I realize the problem of SAS is not its lack of cool graphics but its size: the program stores so many features under one roof that no one will walk another mile to dig up the treasure..
Graph-N-Go is one of the new components added to Version 8 that brings SAS/GRAPH procedures to the GUI forefront. With Output Delivery System (ODS), Graph-N-Go can easily convert charts (just drag and drop) into Web-ready documents within a few minutes.
The program is extremely easy to learn and use. Everything is just point-and-click. To invoke the module, go Solutions--> Reporting --> Graph-N-Go. To start analyzing data graphically, first open an existing data set by clicking the New Data Set Model icon:
I opened a generic sample data set, SASHELP.CLASS in the SASHELP library. Then, "Graph-N-Go." It also supports the Multidimensional Database (e.g. SASHELP.PRDMDDB) that allows queries via the charts.
One of the neat things in Graph-N-Go is that graphics can be exported into multiple formats: GIF, JPEG, BMP,...etc. But I am really impressed by its capability of exporting files to the Web. You can easily generate interactive reports to your Web site. The following were generated in just a couple of minutes:
Put it directly to a Web page:
Or make the interactive version using Java applets:
Graph-N-Go Interactive Output (point your cursor to the bars and get instant data)
Outputting to Interactive ActiveX Control is also available (for Internet Explorer only). This option allows more interactive control such as changing a pie chart into a bar chart, setting colors, and displaying data in a pop-up box:
Graph-N-Go ActiveX Output [You will need to use MS Explorer to see this link.]
In this version, you can use the same object to perform interactive analysis such as smoothing the plot, drawing a regression line and even interpolating the data in a scatterplot:
On top of that, Graph-N-Go can save the source codes for later replication or generating routine reports.
For more details, SAS has published a few guides in using Graph-N-Go. Check the following site to download the PDF files for tutorials:
Again, if you are interested in more details of SAS' graphical capability, sign up the ACS short courses for free. Check the schedule of my three-part SAS series. Enjoy your pie chart.