What Is VARBINARY Data Type in SQL?


Angela Bailey

The VARBINARY data type in SQL is used to store binary data as a variable-length byte array. It allows you to store and manipulate binary data such as images, documents, and multimedia files in your database.

What is Binary Data?
Binary data refers to any type of data that is not in text format. It consists of a sequence of bytes that can represent various types of information such as images, audio, video, or any other form of non-textual data.

Using VARBINARY Data Type
In SQL, the VARBINARY data type allows you to store binary data with variable length. Unlike the BINARY data type which has a fixed length, VARBINARY can store varying lengths of binary data up to a specified maximum size.

To define a column with the VARBINARY data type, you need to specify the maximum size in bytes within parentheses. For example:

ImageData VARBINARY(1000000)

In this example, we create a table called “Images” with two columns – “ImageID” and “ImageData”. The “ImageID” column is defined as an INT (integer) and serves as the primary key for the table. The “ImageData” column is defined as VARBINARY with a maximum size of 1,000,000 bytes (1MB).

  • Storing Binary Data:
  • To insert binary data into a VARBINARY column, you can use the INSERT statement along with the appropriate value for the column. For example:

    INSERT INTO Images (ImageID, ImageData)
    VALUES (1, 0xFFD8FFE000104A46494600010201006000600000FFDB004300080606070605080707070909080A0C140D0C0B0B0C1912130F141D1A1F1E1D1A1C1C20242E2720222C231C1C2837292C30313434341F27393D38323C2E333432FFDB0043010909090C0B0C180D0D1832211C2132323232323232323232323232323232323232323232323232323

    This example inserts a binary image data into the “ImageData” column of the “Images” table.

  • Retrieving Binary Data:
  • To retrieve binary data from a VARBINARY column, you can use a SELECT statement. For example:

    SELECT ImageData
    FROM Images
    WHERE ImageID = 1;

    This will return the binary image data stored in the “ImageData” column for the row with the specified “ImageID”.

  • Manipulating Binary Data:
  • SQL provides various functions and operators to manipulate binary data stored in VARBINARY columns. You can perform operations like concatenation, comparison, and conversion on binary data.


    The VARBINARY data type in SQL is a versatile way to store and handle binary data such as images, documents, and multimedia files. It allows you to efficiently store variable-length byte arrays in your database tables.

By utilizing the VARBINARY data type, you can ensure that your database is capable of handling and managing binary data effectively.

Discord Server - Web Server - Private Server - DNS Server - Object-Oriented Programming - Scripting - Data Types - Data Structures

Privacy Policy