What Is the Decimal Data Type in Oracle?


Scott Campbell

The decimal data type in Oracle is a numeric data type that is used to store numbers with decimal points. It is commonly used to represent monetary values, quantities, and measurements that require precision.

What is the Decimal Data Type?
The decimal data type, also known as the NUMBER data type in Oracle, allows you to store fixed-point numbers with a specific number of digits to the right and left of the decimal point. This means that you can define how many digits should be stored before and after the decimal point.

Defining Precision and Scale
Precision refers to the total number of digits that can be stored in a decimal column. It includes both the digits before and after the decimal point. Scale, on the other hand, refers to the number of digits that can be stored after the decimal point.

When defining a decimal column in Oracle, you need to specify both precision and scale. For example, if you want to store values up to two decimal places, you would define a column with precision 5 and scale 2. This would allow you to store values such as 1234.56 or 12.34.

Working with Decimal Data Type
You can perform various mathematical operations on columns of type decimal in Oracle. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are supported by default. When performing calculations on decimal columns with different scales, Oracle automatically adjusts the scale of the result.

Let’s consider an example where we have two columns: price and quantity. The price column has precision 8 and scale 2 while the quantity column has precision 5 and scale 0 (no decimals). We want to calculate the total cost by multiplying these two columns together.

Create Table:

CREATE TABLE products (
    id NUMBER,
    name VARCHAR2(50),
    price NUMBER(8,2),
    quantity NUMBER(5,0)

Calculate Total Cost:

SELECT name, price, quantity, price * quantity AS total_cost
FROM products;

The above query will return the product name, price, quantity, and total cost for each product.

Benefits of Using the Decimal Data Type
– Precision: The decimal data type allows you to store numbers with high precision, ensuring accurate calculations and avoiding rounding errors.
– Flexibility: You can define the number of digits before and after the decimal point based on your requirements.
– Storage Efficiency: The decimal data type optimizes storage by allocating only the necessary space for each number.

  • The decimal data type is ideal for financial applications where precision is crucial.
  • It provides more control over numeric values compared to other data types like INTEGER or FLOAT.
  • With proper use of precision and scale, you can ensure consistent formatting and display of numeric values.


The decimal data type in Oracle is a powerful tool for storing and manipulating numeric values with decimals. By defining precision and scale, you can control the accuracy and range of numbers stored in your database. Whether you are working with monetary values or any other type of precise measurements, the decimal data type provides the necessary flexibility to handle your requirements effectively.

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