What Is SAP Data Type?


Larry Thompson

What Is SAP Data Type?

In the world of SAP, data types play a crucial role in defining the structure and characteristics of data. Understanding SAP data types is essential for developers and administrators working with SAP systems.

Introduction to Data Types

Data types are essentially classifications or categories that define the nature of data stored in variables, fields, and tables within an SAP system. They determine the format, length, and range of values that can be assigned or stored in these objects.

In SAP, there are various built-in data types available that cater to different requirements. These data types can be categorized into three main groups:

  • Elementary Data Types
  • Structured Data Types
  • Reference Data Types

Elementary Data Types

Elementary data types are fundamental building blocks within an SAP system. They represent basic data structures and include simple types such as characters, numbers, dates, and time.

Character Types: These data types store single characters or strings of characters. Examples include CHAR (fixed-length characters) and VARCHAR (variable-length characters).

Numeric Types: Numeric data types store numerical values with or without decimal places. Examples include INTEGER (whole numbers), DECIMAL (fixed-point decimal numbers), and FLOAT (floating-point numbers).

Date and Time Types: These data types store date and time values. Examples include DATE (for dates), TIME (for times), and TIMESTAMP (for both date and time).

Structured Data Types

Structured data types allow you to define complex structures by combining elementary data types or other structured types. They provide a way to organize and group related data together.

Structures: Structures are user-defined data types that consist of multiple fields combined together. They allow you to create custom data structures tailored to your specific needs.

Tables: Tables are structured data types that can store multiple records with the same structure. They are similar to database tables and allow you to store and manipulate large amounts of related data.

Reference Data Types

Reference data types are used for referencing or pointing to other objects within an SAP system. They do not directly contain the actual data but rather provide a reference or link to it.

Pointers: Pointers are reference data types that store memory addresses of other objects. They allow you to indirectly access and modify the referenced object’s content.

References: References are similar to pointers but provide additional safety features, such as automatic null checks, preventing null pointer exceptions.


In conclusion, SAP data types are essential in defining the structure and characteristics of data within an SAP system. By understanding the different types available, developers and administrators can effectively manage and manipulate data for their specific requirements.

Remember, mastering SAP data types is a fundamental step towards becoming proficient in SAP development and administration.

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