Is TIMESTAMP a Data Type in Oracle?


Scott Campbell

In Oracle, TIMESTAMP is indeed a data type used to store date and time values with fractional seconds precision. It is widely used in database systems for various purposes such as recording the exact time of an event, tracking the duration between two events, or storing historical data.

Creating a TIMESTAMP Column

To create a column with the TIMESTAMP data type in Oracle, you can use the following syntax:

CREATE TABLE table_name (
column_name TIMESTAMP

This will create a new table with a column named column_name, which will store timestamp values.

Storing TIMESTAMP Values

To insert timestamp values into a TIMESTAMP column, you can use the TO_TIMESTAMP function or provide the value directly in the correct format.


INSERT INTO table_name (column_name) VALUES (TO_TIMESTAMP('2021-07-15 14:30:45.123456', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS.FF6'));

INSERT INTO table_name (column_name) VALUES (TIMESTAMP '2021-07-15 14:30:45.123456');

In the above examples, we are inserting a timestamp value into the column_name. The first example uses the TO_TIMESTAMP function to convert a string representation of a timestamp to its corresponding value. The second example directly provides the value in the correct format using the TIMESTAMP literal.

Retrieving and Formatting TIMESTAMP Values

To retrieve and display TIMESTAMP values from an Oracle database, you can use various functions and formatting options.


SELECT TO_CHAR(column_name, 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS.FF6') FROM table_name;

In the above example, we are using the TO_CHAR function to convert the TIMESTAMP value in the column_name to a formatted string representation. The format mask ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS.FF6’ specifies the desired format.

Performing Operations on TIMESTAMP Values

Oracle provides a wide range of built-in functions for performing operations on TIMESTAMP values. Some commonly used functions include:

  • SYSTIMESTAMP: Returns the current system timestamp.
  • TIMESTAMPADD: Adds a specified interval to a given timestamp.
  • TIMESTAMPDIFF: Calculates the difference between two timestamps.
  • EXTRACT: Extracts a specific component (year, month, day, etc.) from a timestamp.

Note: The availability of these functions may vary depending on your Oracle version and configuration. Consult the Oracle documentation for detailed information on available functions and their usage.


The TIMESTAMP data type in Oracle is an essential tool for storing and manipulating date and time values with fractional seconds precision. It allows you to accurately record events, track durations, and perform calculations based on time-related data. By understanding how to create TIMESTAMP columns, insert values, retrieve and format them, and perform operations on them using built-in functions, you can effectively work with timestamps in your Oracle database applications.

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