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Solutions in the Round -- Do You Believe In Magic? Turning Characters into Numbers and Back Again

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From the WUSS abstract for this topic

It happens all the time--you have a number that you need in character format or a character string that you need in numeric format. Come PUT your ideas, and lend your INPUT (And other means) to the discussion on managing the conversions. Solutions in the Round (SITR) is a roundtable format section where attendees discuss approaches and solutions to a programming problem or SAS topic. Users from different perspectives and all experience levels are encouraged to participate.

Discussion at WUSS

Facilitator: Frank Ferriola

Discusion Areas:

  • Char to Num
  • Num to Char

Char to Num: What ways can we use SAS?

- input( varname, format );

- proc format;

 --  store as numeric, display as char 
 --  use case:  Wind directions 
   --- convert headings to 16 cardinal dirs + calm, variable

- to_number (SQL)


- field has mostly numeric, some characters

 --  read field as character, test numeric or letters
   ---  if numeric, then convert it
   ---  if NOT, then add handle exception(s )

Num to Char: What ways can we use SAS?

- put ( varname, format );

- proc format;

- to_char (SQL)

   select to_char(varname,fmt) into macrovar
   from datasetname

- call symput


- byte size

- str length

Further Discussion -- Open to All

Please join the conversation! Also, if you were one of the live participants, please feel free to correct any mistakes or omissions from our original discussion.