The dataset browser window is invoked from various widgets through the parameter dialog window. The dataset browser allows the selection of datasets and their component tables, columns and arrays (see figure 3). The browser can also be invoked from the "File" menu or tool-bar, from the main SAS GUI, simply to inspect data without making a selection.
The left panel of the browser window shows a hierarchical view of the file system, extending from the root directory, through datasets to their component tables, arrays and columns. Items in the hierarchical view can be expanded by clicking in their "Name" column. A sign shows whether an item is collapsed or expanded. Clicking on an item in the "Type" or "Data" column will cause it to be highlighted, as indicated by a rectangle around the name. The right panel shows information on the highlighted item.
The right panel and the attribute page of the left panel are arranged in columns. The columns may be sorted in various ways, by clicking on the appropriate column heading. The panels can be resized with the small handle on the the divider line, which separates them.
Double-clicking on a data item (column or array) will divide the right panel in two showing further information. For a column, this is a scrolling view of the values; for an array, it currently just shows the size of the array.
When the browser is invoked from a parameter dialog window, the "Select" column will show the items which may be selected. For example, a "Column" parameter allows a column to be selected by clicking in the "Select" column. A circle indicates that only one item may be selected, as with a "radio button"; selecting one item deselects the others. A square indicates that multiple selection is possible, as with check-boxes; this is used for list parameter types (e.g. column-list). A "..." in the "Select" column indicates that a selected item is not visible because its container is collapsed.
When the browser is invoked from a parameter dialog window, it returns the selected items as the parameter value when the "Ok" button is pressed. The "Absolute path" check-box determines whether the parameter is specified using an absolute file path or a path relative to the current directory (in which the SAS was started). The "Cancel" button may be used to close the browser without changing the previous parameter value. When the browser is invoked from the "File" menu of the main SAS GUI, the "Cancel" button and "Absolute path" check-box are not displayed, since they are not relevant.
At the top of the browser window are four buttons which can be used to quickly locate some commonly used directories. These are the user's home directory, the ODF directory, the CCF directory, and the current working directory from which the SAS GUI was started. The next button to the right is useful when selecting parameters for a task. Pressing this button will show or hide a window that lists all currently selected entries. The (non-editable) pull-down menu allows to quickly jump to a previous visited item. As of SAS 6.0, a new button was added for refreshing the contents of the selected directory. This allows to see files newly created during the working session.