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Before You Get Started: A Macro Language Preview in Three Parts

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Using the macro language adds a layer of complexity to SAS® programming that many programmers are reluctant to tackle. The macro language is not intuitive, and some of its syntax and logic runs counter to similar operations in the DATA step. This makes the transfer of DATA step and PROC step knowledge difficult when first learning the macro language. So why should one make the effort to learn a complex counterintuitive language?

Before you start to learn the syntax; where to put the semicolon, and how to use the ampersand and percent sign; you need to have a basic understanding of why you want to learn the language in the first place. It will also help if you know a bit about how the language thinks. This overview provides the background that will enable you to understand the way that the macro language operates. This will allow you to avoid some of the common mistakes made by novice macro language programmers.

First things first – before you get started with the learning process, you should understand these basic concepts.

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