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Step-by-Step Programming with Base SAS 9.4 by SAS Institute

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How the DATA Step Works: A Basic Introduction

Overview of the DATA Step

The DATA step consists of a group of SAS statements that begins with a DATA statement. The DATA statement begins the process of building a SAS data set and names the data set. The statements that make up the DATA step are compiled, and the syntax is checked. If the syntax is correct, then the statements are executed. In its simplest form, the DATA step is a loop with an automatic output and return action.
The following figure illustrates the flow of action in a simple DATA step.
Figure 3.7 Flow of Action in a Typical DATA Step
Flow of Action in a Typical DATA Step

During the Compilation Phase

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