What Is the Data Type for Decimal in SQL Server?


Angela Bailey

What Is the Data Type for Decimal in SQL Server?

In SQL Server, the data type used to store decimal numbers is called decimal. The decimal data type is commonly used when precision and scale are important factors in representing numeric values in a database.

Precision and Scale

Precision refers to the total number of digits that can be stored in a decimal number, both to the left and right of the decimal point. Scale refers to the maximum number of digits allowed to the right of the decimal point.

Defining a Decimal Data Type

To define a column with a decimal data type in SQL Server, you need to specify both the precision and scale. This can be done using the following syntax:

column_name DECIMAL(precision, scale)

For example, if you want to define a column named “price” that can store decimal numbers with 8 digits of precision and 2 digits after the decimal point, you would use the following statement:

price DECIMAL(8, 2)


Let’s say you have a table named “products” with two columns: “name” (VARCHAR) and “price” (DECIMAL). You can create this table using the following SQL statement:

CREATE TABLE products (
    name VARCHAR(50),
    price DECIMAL(8, 2)

Inserting Decimal Values into a Table

To insert decimal values into a table, you need to follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure that the value being inserted does not exceed the specified precision and scale.
  • Use the appropriate decimal notation, using a period (.) as the decimal separator.

Retrieving Decimal Values from a Table

When retrieving decimal values from a table, they are returned as numeric or string values depending on the client application used to access the data. It is important to handle and format these values appropriately based on your application’s requirements.


The decimal data type in SQL Server provides a reliable way to store and manipulate decimal numbers with precise control over precision and scale. By understanding how to define, insert, and retrieve decimal values in SQL Server, you can ensure accurate representation of numeric data in your database.

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