SAS System Viewer Doesn’t support SAS 9.4 Datasets


This is sad, really sad. SAS System Viewer is not officially supported by SAS since the launch of SAS Universal Viewer, but it can still open SAS 9.3 datasets and I love it. SAS System Viewer is mush superior than SAS Universal Viewer and any other data viewers in Enterprise Guide, JMP, SAS Drug Development and SAS Data Integration Studio regarding response time.

[update 2014/03/18] A new SAS 9.4 data set option “EXTENDOBSCOUNTER” prevents SV to read the data set correctly, see

Extending the Observation Count for a 32-Bit SAS Data File



5 Responses to “SAS System Viewer Doesn’t support SAS 9.4 Datasets”

  1. Chris Hemedinger
    10. September 2013 um 09:53


    A while ago I provided some guidance on how to “roll your own” viewer using PowerShell. With this technique you can create your own fast/lightweight SAS data set viewer.

    I suspect the reason SAS System Viewer doesn’t work for 9.4 files is due to the enhancements for data attributes, which would have altered the SAS data set file format.

  2. Chris Hemedinger
    10. September 2013 um 09:56

    Oh, and by the way: one of my earliest projects as a SAS employee was to write the online help for the SAS System Viewer. To this day I remember documenting the slightly bizarre regular expression “find” syntax. That was almost 20 years ago.

  3. Jiangtang Hu
    20. September 2013 um 10:02

    Thanks Chris! very helpful message.

  4. Gary Hodge
    22. May 2014 um 16:39

    You may have already figured this out and posted this, but the extendobscounter=NO option makes the SAS 9.4 datasets like 9.3 datasets, which are readable by SAS Viewer 8.2 (which I also love). You can do this in the data step, with the libname, or as a system option.

    /* Data step example, only for this dataset */
    data perm.dataset (extendobscounter=NO); set dataset;

    /* Libname example, for all datasets created in the lib */
    libname perm ‘c:\mydata’ extendobscounter=NO;

    /* System option, under Tools, Options, System, Files, SAS files, set EXTENDOBSCOUNTER=NO */

  5. Roy Pardee
    10. December 2015 um 18:59

    Thanks so much for this post, and for the comments. I’m delighted I can cling to my beloved sv.exe for a while longer!

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