The easiest way to remove the first character from a string in SAS is to use the SUBSTR function.
You can use the following basic syntax to do so:
data new_data; set original_data; string_var = substr(string_var, 2); run;
This syntax extracts the substring starting from the second character to the end of the string, which has the effect of removing the first character from the string.
The following example shows how to use this syntax in practice.
Example: Remove First Character from String in SAS
Suppose we have the following dataset in SAS that contains information about various basketball teams:
/*create dataset*/ data my_data; input team $ points; datalines; xMavs 113 xPacers 95 xCavs 120 xLakers 114 xHeat 123 xKings 119 xRaptors 105 xHawks 95 xMagic 103 xSpurs 119 ; run; /*view dataset*/ proc print data=my_data;
Notice that each string in the team column contains an x as the first character.
We can use the SUBSTR function to remove this first character from each string in the team column:
/*create new dataset where first character in each string of team column is removed*/ data new_data; set my_data; team = substr(team, 2); run; /*view new dataset*/ proc print data=new_data;
Notice that the first character of each string in the team column has been removed.
Note that the SUBSTR function uses the following basic syntax:
SUBSTR(Source, Position, N)
- Source: The string to analyze
- Position: The starting position to read
- N: The number of characters to read
By using substr(team, 2) and not specifying a value for the last argument of N, we’re able to extract the substring from the string in the team column starting from the second character to the last character.
This has the effect of removing the first character from the string.
The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in SAS:
How to Extract Numbers from String in SAS
How to Use the SUBSTR Function in SAS
How to Remove Special Characters from Strings in SAS