The easiest way to remove leading zeros in a character variable in SAS is to use the **INPUT** function to convert the variable to a numeric variable, which automatically removes leading zeros.

This function uses the following basic syntax:

**data new_data;
set original_data;
no_zeros = input(some_column, comma9.);
run;
**

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

**Example: Remove Leading Zeros in SAS**

Suppose we have the following dataset in SAS that shows the total sales made by various retail stores:

/*create dataset*/ data original_data; input store $ sales $; datalines; A 055 B 145 C 199 D 0000443 E 0093 F 00004302 G 38 H 0055 ; run; /*view dataset*/ proc print data=original_data;

We can use the following code to remove all leading zeros from values in the **sales** column:

**/*remove leading zeros in sales column*/
data new_data;
set original_data;
no_zeros = input(sales, comma9.);
run;
/*view results*/
proc print data=new_data;**

Notice that all leading zeros have been removed from the values in the **no_zeros** column.

Note that the new **no_zeros** column is a numeric column.

If you would instead like to keep it as a character column, you can wrap the **PUT** function around the **INPUT** function as follows:

**/*remove leading zeros in sales column*/
data new_data;
set original_data;
no_zeros = put(input(sales, comma9.), 8.);
run;
/*view results*/
proc print data=new_data;**

If we use use **proc contents** to view the data type of each variable in the dataset, we’ll see that **no_zeros** is a character variable:

**/*view data type of each variable in new dataset*/
proc contents data=new_data;**

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in SAS:

How to Normalize Data in SAS

How to Identify Outliers in SAS

How to Use Proc Summary in SAS

How to Create Frequency Tables in SAS