What Is Data Type in PL SQL?


Heather Bennett

What Is Data Type in PL/SQL?

In PL/SQL, data types define the type of value that a variable or a constant can hold. Understanding and using the correct data types is crucial for efficient and accurate programming in PL/SQL. This tutorial will provide an in-depth explanation of various data types available in PL/SQL and how to use them effectively.

Why Are Data Types Important?

Data types play a vital role in programming as they determine the kind of operations that can be performed on a particular piece of data. By specifying the appropriate data type, you ensure that the values stored in variables or constants are valid and consistent.

PL/SQL Data Types

PL/SQL offers several built-in data types which can be broadly classified into the following categories:

Numeric Data Types

Numeric data types are used to store numeric values such as integers, decimals, or floating-point numbers. Some common numeric data types in PL/SQL include:

  • NUMBER: Used to store fixed-point or floating-point numbers with a specified precision and scale.
  • BINARY_INTEGER: Used to store signed integers within a specified range.
  • PLS_INTEGER: Similar to BINARY_INTEGER, but with faster arithmetic operations.

Character Data Types

Character data types are used to store textual information such as names, addresses, or descriptions. Some commonly used character data types include:

  • VARCHAR2: Variable-length character string with a maximum length specified during declaration.
  • CHAR: Fixed-length character string with a length specified during declaration.
  • CLOB: Used to store large amounts of character data, such as documents or text files.

Date and Time Data Types

Date and time data types are used to store date, time, or timestamp values. Some commonly used date and time data types include:

  • DATE: Used to store date and time values in the format ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH:MI:SS’.
  • TIMESTAMP: Stores date and time values with fractional seconds precision.

Boolean Data Type

The Boolean data type is used to represent logical states, such as TRUE or FALSE. It is commonly used in decision-making and conditional statements.

Composite Data Types

Composite data types allow you to create custom complex structures by combining multiple elements of different data types. Some commonly used composite data types include:

  • RECORD: A user-defined composite type that can hold multiple fields of different data types.
  • TABLE: A collection of homogeneous elements indexed by a key value, similar to an array in other programming languages.


In PL/SQL, understanding and using the appropriate data types is crucial for effective programming. By correctly specifying the data type for variables and constants, you ensure the accuracy and consistency of your code.

This tutorial provided an overview of various data types available in PL/SQL, including numeric, character, date/time, boolean, and composite data types. With this knowledge, you can now make informed decisions when choosing the appropriate data type for your variables and constants in PL/SQL.

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