1. If you are using SAS version 8.0, you can read Excel files up to Excel97 (but not Excel 2000). Our experience is that SAS version 8.0 reads Excel files OK.
2. If you have Version 8.1, we found that you need to apply the bug fix found in PCFF_p81.zip. You can download PCFF_p81.zip from http://ftp.sas.com/techsup/download/pc/ . When you unzip this file, there will be a file called readme.txt that will tell you to put some of the files into <SASROOT>ACCESSSASEXE and some files into <SASROOT>ACCESSSASMSG . When it refers to <SASROOT> this is referring to the directory in which you installed SAS. For example, say you installed SAS in c:sasv8 then that would be your <SASROOT> directory and then <SASROOT>ACCESSSASEXE would refer to c:sasv8accesssasexe .
3. SAS may have trouble reading an Excel file that has a mixture of character and numeric variables. If you read such a file, be sure to go to extra lengths to verify that the file was converted properly.
4. Another method for converting Excel files to SAS is via Stat/Transfer (see https://stats.idre.ucla.edu/stat/stata/how_to_get_stata.htm for information about how you can get Stat/Transfer). Stat/Transfer is available at SSC computing (for those in the Social Sciences).
With these caveats aside, you can read an excel spreadsheet in SAS like this…
proc import datafile="c:dissertationmyfile.xls" out=myzip dbms=excel2000 replace ; getnames=no; run;