Is String a Data Type in Oracle?


Angela Bailey

Is String a Data Type in Oracle?

In Oracle, a string is not considered as a separate data type like in some other programming languages. Instead, string data is stored and manipulated using the varchar2 data type.

Varchar2 Data Type

The varchar2 data type in Oracle is used to store variable-length character strings. It can store alphanumeric characters, special characters, and even Unicode characters.

Defining Varchar2 Columns

To define a column of the varchar2 data type, you need to specify the maximum length of the string that can be stored in that column. For example:

CREATE TABLE employees (
   employee_id   NUMBER,
   first_name    VARCHAR2(50),
   last_name     VARCHAR2(50)

In this example, the columns “first_name” and “last_name” are defined as varchar2 columns with a maximum length of 50 characters each.

Manipulating Varchar2 Data

You can perform various operations on varchar2 data such as insertion, retrieval, concatenation, and modification.

  • To insert data into a varchar2 column:
INSERT INTO employees (employee_id, first_name, last_name)
VALUES (1, 'John', 'Doe');
  • To retrieve data from a varchar2 column:
SELECT first_name FROM employees WHERE employee_id = 1;
  • To concatenate varchar2 values:
SELECT first_name || ' ' || last_name AS full_name FROM employees;
  • To modify varchar2 data:
UPDATE employees SET first_name = 'Jane' WHERE employee_id = 1;

Character Limits and Storage Efficiency

The maximum length of a varchar2 column in Oracle is 4000 bytes. However, you can use the clob (character large object) data type to store larger strings that exceed this limit.

It’s important to note that the actual space occupied by a varchar2 column depends on the length of the stored string. Oracle only allocates enough space to store the actual data, making it an efficient choice for storing variable-length strings.


In Oracle, while string data is not considered as a separate data type, it is stored and manipulated using the varchar2 data type. By defining columns as varchar2 and specifying their maximum length, you can efficiently store and retrieve variable-length character strings in your Oracle database.

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