Accessing Data Files when Using SAS via Citrix Receiver

 ​A SAS licence can be prohibitively expensive for many use cases. Installing the software can also take up a surprising amount of hard disk space and memory. For this reason many individuals with light or temporary usage needs choose to access a version of SAS which is licenced to their institution and therefore shared across many users. Are you trying unsuccessfully to access an SAS remotely via your institution using Citrix receiver? This step-by-step guide might help.

SAS syntax can differ based on whether a remote versus local server is used. An example of a local server is the computer you are physically using. When you have SAS installed on the PC you are using, you are accessing it locally. A remote server, on the other hand, allows you to access SAS without having SAS installed on your PC.

Client software such as Citrix Receiver, allows you to access SAS, and other software, from a remote server. Citrix Receiver is often used by university students, new and/or light users. SAS requires different syntax in order to enable the remote server to access data files on a local computer.
For the purpose of this example we are assuming that the data file we wish to access is located, locally, on a drive of the computer we are using.

It can be difficult to find the syntax for this on Google, where search results deal more with accessing remote data (libraries) using local SAS than the other way around. This can be a source of frustration for new users and SAS Technical Support are not always able to advise on the specifics of using SAS via Citrix Receiver.

The “INFILE”statement and the “PROC IMPORT” statement are two popular options for reading a data file into SAS. INFILE offers the greater flexibility and control, by way of manual specification of data characteristics. PROC IMPORT offers greater automation, in some cases at the risk of formatting error. The INFILE statement must always be used in the context of a DATA step, whereas PROC IMPORT acts as a stand-alone procedure. The ​document below shows syntax for the INFILE statement and PROC IMPORT procedure for local SAS compared to access via Citrix Receiver.

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If you cannot see the document, please make sure that you are viewing the website in desktop mode.

​In SAS University Edition data file inputing difficulties can occur for a different reason. In order for the LIBNAME statement to run without error, a shared folder must first be defined. If you are using SAS University Edition, and experiencing an error when inputting data, the following videos may be helpful:
How to Set LIBNAME File Path (SAS University Edition) 
Accessing Data Files Via Citrix Receiver: for SAS University Edition

Troubleshooting check-list:

  • Was the “libref” appropriately assigned?
  • Was the file location referred to appropriately based on the user context?
  • ​Was the correct data file extension used?

While impractical for larger data sets, if all else fails, one can copy and paste the data from a data file into SAS using the ‘DATALINES’ function.