How to Use the INDEXC Function in SAS


You can use the INDEXC function in SAS to return the position of the first occurrence of any individual character within a string.

This function uses the following basic syntax:

INDEXC(source, excerpt)

where:

  • source: The string to analyze
  • excerpt: The string of characters to search for within source

The following example shows how to use this function in practice.

Example: Using the INDEXC Function in SAS

Suppose we have the following dataset in SAS that contains a column of names:

/*create dataset*/
data original_data;
    input name $25.;
    datalines;
Andy Lincoln Bernard
Barren Michael Smith
Chad Simpson Arnolds
Derrick Smith Henrys
Eric Millerton Smith
Frank Giovanni Goode
;
run;

/*view dataset*/
proc print data=original_data;

We can use the INDEXC function to search for the position of the first occurrence of the characters x, y or z:

/*find position of first occurrence of either x, y or z in name*/
data new_data;
    set original_data;
    first_xyz = indexc(name, 'xyz');
run;

/*view results*/
proc print data=new_data;

The new column called first_xyz displays the position of the first occurrence of the characters x, y or z in the name column.

If none of these three characters are present in the name column, then the INDEXC function simply returns a value of 0.

For example, from the output we can see:

The position of the first occurrence of x, y or z in the first row is in position 4. We can see that the character in position 4 in the first row is a y.

The position of the first occurrence of x, y or z in the second row is 0 because none of these three letters exist in the name in the second row.

And so on.

The Difference BETWEEN INDEX and INDEXC Functions

The INDEX function in SAS returns the position of the first occurrence of a particular substring in another string.

The following example illustrates the difference between the INDEX and INDEXC functions:

/*create new dataset*/
data new_data;
    set original_data;
    index_smith = index(name, 'Smith');
    indexc_smith = indexc(name, 'Smith');
run;

/*view new dataset*/
proc print data=new_data;

The index_smith column displays the position of the first occurrence of the substring ‘Smith’ in the name column.

The indexc_smith column displays the position of the first occurrence of the letters s, m, i, t or h in the name column.

For example, from the output we can see:

The substring ‘Smith’ never occurs in the first name so index_smith returns a value of 0.

The letter i occurs in the 7th position of the first name so indexc_smith returns a value of 7.

And so on.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to use other common functions in SAS:

How to Use the SUBSTR Function in SAS
How to Use the COMPRESS Function in SAS
How to Use the FIND Function in SAS
How to Use the COALESCE Function in SAS

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