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Column input method is very important method for reading the raw data. It is much more advance as compared to list input method. In list input method only 8 characters are allowed /if more than this it will truncate for that purpose, we are using the length statement but in column input it allows the 200 characters.

Column input method in SAS enables you to read standard data values that are aligned in columns in the data records. Specify the variable name, followed by a dollar sign ($) if it is a character variable, and specify the columns in which the data values are located in each record. Also in this methods we are assigning the fixed number for each variables so unwanted variables are easily removed without writing in var statements. There are so many advantage as respect to list input which are followed as

1.Delimeters are not required between the values whereas in the list input blank space used as a delimiters.

2.Missing Value can be left blank in column input method but in case of list input we are using the periods or blank space as a delimiters/if you are not using it will remove the entire rows.

3. Characters data can have embedded space but it is not possible in list input

4.Also can have skip unwanted variables without writing the var statements.

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