What Is Data Type VARCHAR2?


Larry Thompson

Data types are an essential aspect of any programming language, and the VARCHAR2 data type is no exception. In this article, we will delve into the details of what the VARCHAR2 data type is and how it can be used in your programming endeavors.

Understanding VARCHAR2

The VARCHAR2 data type is commonly used in database systems to store character string values. It provides the flexibility to store variable-length strings with a maximum size specified by the programmer.

This means that you can store strings of varying lengths in a column defined with the VARCHAR2 data type.

Defining VARCHAR2 Columns

When defining a column with the VARCHAR2 data type, you need to specify the maximum length that the column can hold. For example, if you want to create a column called “name” that can hold up to 50 characters, you would use the following syntax:

CREATE TABLE my_table (
    name VARCHAR2(50)

In this example, “name” is defined as a VARCHAR2 column with a maximum length of 50 characters. This means that any value stored in this column cannot exceed 50 characters.

Working with VARCHAR2 Data

Once you have defined a column with the VARCHAR2 data type, you can insert and retrieve values from it using SQL queries. Here’s an example:

INSERT INTO my_table (name) VALUES ('John Doe');
SELECT name FROM my_table;

In this case, we insert a value (‘John Doe’) into the “name” column of our table “my_table”. We can then retrieve this value using a SELECT statement.

Benefits of Using VARCHAR2

The VARCHAR2 data type offers several advantages over other data types. Firstly, it allows for efficient storage of character data as it only consumes the necessary amount of space based on the actual length of the string.

This can lead to significant storage savings when dealing with large amounts of textual data.

Additionally, VARCHAR2 is a versatile data type that can store a wide range of characters, including letters, numbers, and special characters. It is widely supported by various database management systems, making it highly portable across different platforms.


In conclusion, the VARCHAR2 data type is a vital tool in managing character string values in a database system. Its flexibility in storing variable-length strings and efficient use of storage space make it an excellent choice for handling textual data.

By understanding how to define and work with VARCHAR2 columns, you can unlock its full potential in your programming projects.

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