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Make Your Selection Group Prompt More User Friendly

Submitted by on 2013-03-19 – 8:27 AM 4 Comments

Angela and I spent Sunday morning putting the finishing touches on our SAS Global Forum video, Selection Group Prompts with SAS® Stored Processes: More Power, Less Programming.  While at the conference, just stop by the SAS Demo area, where the posters are displayed, to see the video. The video features a user who has contracted STP POX!  It’s a dis-ease that occurs when stored process creation gets out of control.   In the video you learn a method to reduce the issue with selection group prompts.

stored process pox at the sas global forum 2013


Making the Selections more Obvious

During the video, we showed a tip that we didn’t have time to discuss.  When you create a selection group prompt, you want the user to select from one of your many prompt groups.  However, when you do not set a default, the user may not immediately realize how much more power the prompt actually contains.

Selection-dependent (or selection group) prompts work a little different from the normal prompts.  For instance, the following stored process allows the user to choose between 3 different  report types: one gets the customer orders, a second pulls the trouble tickets, and the third shows the customer’s hardware returns.  All of these are within the same stored process but give completely different output for the user.  Plus this stored process reduced 6 stored processes into 1.  Sounds like someone got some STP POX vaccine.

As you can see in the before and after images, once you run the stored process the defaults are remembered from your last run. The next time you run the stored process, it is less obvious the prompt allows the other choices – even after you reset the prompts.   So a quick fix is to add a choice that explains what to do, as shown in the After image.

selection prompt choice


Set the Default for the User

Add a new choice to your selection-dependent prompts that instructs the user what to do, such as “Select a report  type” and make it the default.  This new choice ensures the user understands what is possible.  


Thanks to the user from Pennsylvania who shared this suggestion with me. She was having an issue in her organization and thought other SAS developers could benefit from this tip.

Learn More about SAS Stored Processes and Prompts

You can learn more tips and tricks for creating, debugging, and using SAS stored processes in the 50 Keys to Learning SAS Stored Processes book. It's a complete guide to SAS stored processes. Check Amazon for best pricing and quick shipping!


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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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  • If you arrive on Saturday nite – there is a tweetup planned. Otherwise Angela and I can check you for STP POX at the opening night party. LOL!

  • Tom Kari says:

    AGGHHH! No! I think I’ve caught it too!

    Can’t wait to see you at Global Forum, so I can find the cure.


  • Tricia A says:

    I don’t think you can get it at the Tweetup on Saturday Nite (4/27). I’m waiting for details from Waynette Tubbs.

  • STP POX – sounds like something to avoid… Looking forward to seeing the video!