Sort Control File Tutorial

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The SORT command can be run from READY mode, a PROC file, or with the EXECUTE command, and creates a file according to the specifications listed. These are Comment, File, Alts, Record, Sum and Mask:

1. ! - a comment in the sort file will display a message to the screen. Add one to your file now:

! Creating a sort file, don't you worry!

2. FILE (required) - After naming the input and output files (and optionally, paths and directories), you can choose the type of output file ("A" and “B” will make address-out sorts, where the 'address' is the relative record number. "R" calls for a record-out sort, which means that each entire record is written to the output file), the collating sequence, optional replacement of previous output files with the same name, and file sharing rules for the input file. Next, the collate sequence can be “A” for alternate, or “N” for native. Then you can specify to REPLACE the old file, or add file sharing specs. Other than the file names, all these are optional. Go ahead and create the FILE line:


Commas must be present for every skipped optional parameter.

3. ALTS – This reorders part of the collating sequence or can set certain characters equal to a new collating value (i.e. it could make a set of information in uppercase equal a set in lowercase).TO begin with, RO means that a set of characters is to be reordered, or EQ means that a new, single collating value is to be assigned to the specified characters (the value and the characters are set equal).

Following RO, you must specify the new starting value (0 to 255) and the character sequence, which is a list of up to 28 characters, enclosed in quotations, according to which the file will be reordered. The value which is specified as the "new starting value" will be assigned to the first character specified in the "character sequence". The next sequential value will be assigned to the second character in the "character sequence", and so on. If you want to reorder more than 28 characters, you must use an additional ALTS specification.

Following EQ, specify the new value (again, from 0 to 255) assigned to the character, and character sequence (again, in quotes), which is the character or set of characters which is to be given a new value.

For example:


Will reorder strings accordingly, instead of alphabetically.

ALTS EQ 100,”9876543210”

Will reorder strings that begin with numbers in descending order, beginning at 100.

Create an ALTS for our working model now.

And example might be: ALTS RO 1,"VERYQUICKFOX"

4. RECORD - specifically includes or eliminates certain records from the sorting procedure.

“I” means include, while “O” means omit a record according to a specified select field. The keywords AND and OR can further narrow or widen the inclusion according to other specific qualities. RECORD has the following syntax:

RECORD I/O, start position, field length, field type, lower limit, upper limit, AND/OR

AND and OR are optional.

The following examples will include only customers from Texas and Louisiana:

RECORD I,106,2,C,"TX","TX",OR
RECORD I,106,2,C,"LA","LA",OR

Just in case any states were entered in lowercase, also provide the lowercase examples:

RECORD I,106,2,C,"tx","tx",OR
RECORD I,106,2,C,"la","la",OR

The following example will omit records that do not have a first name:

RECORD O 1,30,C,”  “,”A”

Choose any variety of RECORD to narrow down your output sort file.

5. SUM - displays the total number of records in the input file, how many were sorted, and how many are in the output file when a file has been sorted. It requires the user to press enter in order to continue. It is the simplest of the parameters:


6. Finally, MASK is required, and identifies up to ten sort fields and determines how they should be sorted, either ascending (A) or descending (D). The syntax is as follows:

MASK start position, field length, form spec, A/D 

and can be repeated up to ten times, separated by commas. The form spec can be the following: B (Binary); BL (Binary low); BH (Binary high); C (Character); D (Double-precision); L (Long); N (Numeric); PD (Packed decimal); S (Single-precision) and ZD (Zoned decimal).

Just a simple last name then first name sort can be controlled like this:

MASK 31,30,C,A,1,30,C,A

Go ahead run your sort control file from ready mode, by typing PROC SAMPLESORT.

If you have trouble with it, go over everything and check for punctuation and spelling errors.

Why do we need this? As you can see, SORT provides more options for creating index files and reorganizing your current data files. For very large files, this saves time while accessing information.

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