How to Use the LENGTH Function in SAS (With Examples)


You can use the LENGTH function in SAS to calculate the length of character variables, excluding trailing blanks.

This function uses the following basic syntax:

LENGTH(expression)

where:

  • expression: The character string to analyze

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

Example: Using the LENGTH Function in SAS

Suppose we have the following dataset in SAS:

/*create dataset*/
data original_data;
    input team $1-21 points;
    datalines;
Golden State Warriors 99
Brooklyn Nets         101
Utah Jazz             105
Cleveland Cavs        100
Atlanta Hawks         109
Milwaukee Bucks       98
Miami Heat            93
Houston Rockets       100
Los Angeles Lakers    112
;
run;

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

We can use the LENGTH function to calculate the length of each string in the team column:

/*calculate length of each string in team column*/
data new_data;
    set original_data;
    team_length = length(team);
run;

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

LENGTH function in SAS

The new column called team_length displays the length of each string in the team column.

For example:

  • The string “Golden State Warriors” has a length of 21.
  • The string “Brooklyn Nets” has a length of 13.
  • The string “Utah Jazz” has a length of 9.
  • The string “Cleveland Cavs” has a length of 14.

And so on.

Note that the LENGTH function counts spaces in between words as characters, but it does not count any trailing blank spaces as characters.

If you would like to calculate the length of a character variable including trailing blanks, use the LENGTHC function instead.

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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