The Options Editor


SAS 6.12 Update

The Options Editor is dead, as SAS had stated it would be. The rest of this report only applies if you're still using version 6.10.

Introducing the Options Editor

Users of SAS 6.10 on the Macintosh may have encountered the "Options Editor", a Mac-specific application that is designed to give a friendly GUI to the process of setting your SAS options. The Options Editor is less than a smashing success; it has a number of known bugs, and SAS says it will be eliminated in the upcoming 6.12 release.

In the mean time, here are some tips and hints to help you if you do choose to use the Options Editor.

Invoking the Options Editor

To invoke the Options Editor, you can either double-click on the Options Editor icon in the Finder, or choose File --> Preferences --> Customize Global Options... from the menu bar within SAS.

Options Editor Startup Bug

The most serious bug in the Options Editor happens as it starts up. You are presented with a split window, similar to the old System 6 Control Panels window; on the left is a column of icons representing different sets of preferences, and on the right is a larger area listing the specific preferences within the currently selected set.

Initially, the "Errors" set is selected. To avoid crashing you must refrain from selecting a different set of options until the current preferences from the "Errors" set appear (the list of sets with icons generally appears 1-2 seconds before the preferences in the selected set). Trying to change sets before all the "Errors" preferences appears causes a crash; the exact type of crash varies depending on whether the Options Editor has been selected from within SAS or started directly from the Finder. (This problem is documented in SAS Notes V6-SYS.SYS-9998 and V6-SYS.SYS-A021.)

Options Editor Name List Bug

While the split window view is the default, the Options Editor is also supposed to be able to display the options in an alphabetized list if you select View --> List By Name from the menu bar. However, switching to List By Name intermittently causes a crash with a type 1 error. The only solution to this problem is to stay with the default setting (List By Group). (This problem is documented in SAS Note V6-SYS.DMS-A162.)


Tips for the Options Editor

Saved Options File

One thing that is initially confusing is the format of the saved options. When you save options, the Options Editor creates a text file containing the options. You can then copy options you want into your config.sas610 file.

Although the SAS Options Editor saves its options as a TEXT file, it uses its own creator code for those option files--giving them an icon normally associated with TeachText PICT files. This is a little misleading; the file it creates is a normal text file which can be edited in any text editor (including the built-in SAS editor).

Setting "Flavors"

The "flavors" window offers a number of nondocumented options to set the style of buttons, sliders, and the like. If you want to set these options in your config.sas610 file (and thus avoid the Options Editor), use the "flavors" window to get the _name_ of the option and figure out what value you want it to take. For a given style, the option value is the position of that style in the pop-up menu. For example the square-cornered button with shading is the third option in the pop-up menu. To use it, put "-push_but_style 3" in the file or use the statement "options push_but_style=3".

SAS technical support has indicated that these options will be eliminated in version 6.12.


Avoiding the Options Editor

For what it's worth, SAS technical support suggests avoiding the Options Editor altogether, and just editing the config.sas610 file directly. This makes a lot of sense to me.


Return to SAS for the Macintosh.