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Home » Enterprise Guide

SAS EG: Becoming more divisive with images …

Submitted by on 2011-12-05 – 6:45 AM 3 Comments

SAS Enterprise Guide allows you to change your output graphics device. The graphic device controls how your charts your look when used in web pages, PDFs, and RTFs. Here’s a quick tour of how each device displays the same chart. All of these are in SAS EG viewer and used the Statistical stylesheet.

Setting the Graphic Device in SAS Enterprise Guide

First, if you have never changed the output device, you can access it from the Options > Tools menu. Under Results, select Graph. In the Graph Format drop down – you have a variety of choices.

SAS Enterprise Guide - Select a Device

SAS Enterprise Guide – Select a Device


 ActiveX/ActiveX Images

ActiveX is the default, which I find works 99% of the time and often looks the nicest. ActiveX Image is an alternate to ActiveX where it outputs the Active X as a image (much like JPG and BMP). Normal  Active X (and Java) allows the user to right-click the image and then change it’s appearance. 

SAS Enterprise Guide - Activex Images

SAS Enterprise Guide – Activex Images


Java/Java Images

Here is the same chart in Java output.  There are two issues with this graphic:

  • Lines have the jaggies, which I think makes the lines look nervous. The only possible workaround would be to increase the heaviness of the lines – then it may not be as noticeable.
  • Legend box is to close to the text.  Text should not look crowded and have room to move.  Workaround is to change the line to white so it does not appear at all.
SAS Enterprise Guide - Java Images

SAS Enterprise Guide – Java Images


PNG Image

PNG is a the replacement to the GIF format.  GIF was a standard graphic image format for the web for the longest time and still works. Unisys had a patent on the GIF format and wanted some cash …  so an engineering tribe gathered and conjured up PNG format. [Sorry to be so technical and through on that topic …  😉  If you want to be a PNG expert, then check out this PNG Images article.  ]

So the PNG image has some more issues.  Overall it’s not bad:

  • The line markers are teeny-tiny. You can control the size of the markers.
  • Vertical axis changed and the image is extremely large.
  • Vertical axis title font has changed.
  • Legend has a better frame but those teeny tiny lines again.
SAS Enterprise Guide -PNG Images

SAS Enterprise Guide -PNG Images


JPEG Image

JPEG is a long time Web output standard.  JPEGs do not use as much space when output and work great with photographs.  So I won’t list out my complaints with the image – I have pointed them out below.

SAS Enterprise Guide -JPG Images

SAS Enterprise Guide -JPG Images



The SAS EMS appears to be a home grown format. It has some of the same issues as the other output devices – again overall not bad.  I did not see any real difference in the PNG/JPG/SAS EMS images. I have not reviewed how large the output images were.

SAS Enterprise Guide -JPG Images

SAS Enterprise Guide -JPG Images

ActiveX looks like the clear winner for Web and MS Office applications.  However, you’ll find that ActiveX does not always look nice if you output to PDF or other formats.

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Tricia Aanderud

Director of Data Visualization at Zencos Consulting
Tricia Aanderud is a SAS Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics consultant based in Raleigh, NC who works for Zencos Consulting. She has written several books about SAS, presented papers at many SAS conferences, and has been using SAS since 2001. Contact her for assistance with your next project.
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  • Tricia Aanderud says:

    I was planning a post on the best devices for PDF/RTF – but so many topics, so little time. Thanks for pointing out the right path!

  • Tricia says:


    You always have the awesome technical details!


  • These devices apply when creating charts with most of the built-in graph tasks (Bar chart, Pie chart, Line chart, etc.)

    But when using ODS graphics (such as the frequency chart you get when running One-Way Frequencies, or the paneled diagnostics chart from Linear Regression), you always get PNG format.

    ActiveX works well in HTML and SAS Report output. It works *okay* in RTF. And when using PDF, the system generates ActiveX Image (ACTXIMG), a static version of the chart. Unless your SAS session is non-Windows, in which case it falls back to Java Image (JAVAIMG).

    One caveat of ActiveX and Java: because the graph “instructions” are embedded in your result (and not the graph file itself), the more data points you have to plot, the larger your result will be. Don’t create an ActiveX scatter plot on 10,000 values: your HTML will be humongous. Instead, use PNG and allow the SAS session to create a static image, which will be a consistent, reasonable file size. (Though you still won’t be able to read your 10,000 values very well, probably.)