How to Import SAS Files into R (Step-by-Step)


The easiest way to import SAS files into R is to use the read_sas() function from the haven library.

This function uses the following basic syntax:

data <- read_sas('C:/Users/User_Name/file_name.sas7bdat')

The following step-by-step example shows how to import a SAS file into R in practice.

Step 1: Download a SAS Data File

For this example, we’ll download the SAS file called cola.sas7bdat from this page.

Step 2: Install haven Package

Next, we’ll install the haven package in R:

install.packages('haven')

We’ll then load the package:

library(haven)

Step 3: Import the SAS File

Next, we’ll use the read_sas() function to import the SAS file:

data <- read_sas('C:/Users/bob/Downloads/cola.sas7bdat')

Once we’ve imported the SAS file, we can get a quick summary of the data:

#view class of data
class(data)

[1] "tbl_df"     "tbl"        "data.frame"

#display dimensions of data frame
dim(data)

[1] 5466    5

#view first six rows of data
head(data)

     ID CHOICE PRICE FEATURE DISPLAY
1     1      0 1.79        0       0
2     1      0 1.79        0       0
3     1      1 1.79        0       0
4     2      0 1.79        0       0
5     2      0 1.79        0       0
6     2      1 0.890       1       1

We can see that the file imported successfully as a data frame and that it has 5 columns and 5,466 rows.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to import other file types into R:

How to Import CSV Files into R
How to Import Excel Files into R
How to Import .dta Files into R
How to Import SPSS Files into R

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