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CAST and CONVERT

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    CAST and CONVERT

    Transact-SQL Reference (SQL Server 2000)

    CAST and CONVERT

    Explicitly converts an expression of one data type to another. CAST and CONVERT provide similar functionality.

    Syntax

    Using CAST:

    CAST ( expression AS data_type )

    Using CONVERT:

    CONVERT ( data_type [ ( length ) ] , expression [ , style ] )

    Arguments

    expression

    Is any valid Microsoft® SQL Server™ expression. For more information, see Expressions.

    data_type

    Is the target system-supplied data type, including bigint and sql_variant. User-defined data types cannot be used. For more information about available data types, see Data Types.

    length

    Is an optional parameter of nchar, nvarchar, char, varchar, binary, or varbinary data types.

    style

    Is the style of date format used to convert datetime or smalldatetime data to character data (nchar, nvarchar, char, varchar, nchar, or nvarchar data types), or the string format when converting float, real, money, or smallmoney data to character data (nchar, nvarchar, char, varchar, nchar, or nvarchar data types).

    SQL Server supports the date format in Arabic style, using Kuwaiti algorithm.

    In the table, the two columns on the left represent the style values for datetime or smalldatetime conversion to character data. Add 100 to a style value to get a four-place year that includes the century (yyyy).

    Without century (yy)
    With century (yyyy)
    Standard
    Input/Output**

    -
    0 or 100 (*)
    Default
    mon dd yyyy hh:miAM (or PM)

    1
    101
    USA
    mm/dd/yy

    2
    102
    ANSI
    yy.mm.dd

    3
    103
    British/French
    dd/mm/yy

    4
    104
    German
    dd.mm.yy

    5
    105
    Italian
    dd-mm-yy

    6
    106
    -
    dd mon yy

    7
    107
    -
    Mon dd, yy

    8
    108
    -
    hh:mm:ss

    -
    9 or 109 (*)
    Default + milliseconds
    mon dd yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM (or PM)

    10
    110
    USA
    mm-dd-yy

    11
    111
    JAPAN
    yy/mm/dd

    12
    112
    ISO
    yymmdd

    -
    13 or 113 (*)
    Europe default + milliseconds
    dd mon yyyy hh:mm:ss:mmm(24h)

    14
    114
    -
    hh:mi:ss:mmm(24h)

    -
    20 or 120 (*)
    ODBC canonical
    yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss(24h)

    -
    21 or 121 (*)
    ODBC canonical (with milliseconds)
    yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss.mmm(24h)

    -
    126(***)
    ISO8601
    yyyy-mm-dd Thh:mm:ss.mmm(no spaces)

    -
    130*
    Hijri****
    dd mon yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM

    -
    131*
    Hijri****
    dd/mm/yy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM

    * The default values (style 0 or 100, 9 or 109, 13 or 113, 20 or 120, and 21 or 121) always return the century (yyyy).
    ** Input when converting to datetime; output when converting to character data.
    *** Designed for XML use. For conversion from datetime or smalldatetime to character data, the output format is as described in the table. For conversion from float, money, or smallmoney to character data, the output is equivalent to style 2. For conversion from real to character data, the output is equivalent to style 1.
    ****Hijri is a calendar system with several variations, of which Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 uses the Kuwaiti algorithm.

    Important By default, SQL Server interprets two-digit years based on a cutoff year of 2049. That is, the two-digit year 49 is interpreted as 2049 and the two-digit year 50 is interpreted as 1950. Many client applications, such as those based on OLE Automation objects, use a cutoff year of 2030. SQL Server provides a configuration option (two digit year cutoff) that changes the cutoff year used by SQL Server and allows the consistent treatment of dates. The safest course, however, is to specify four-digit years.

    When you convert to character data from smalldatetime, the styles that include seconds or milliseconds show zeros in these positions. You can truncate unwanted date parts when converting from datetime or smalldatetime values by using an appropriate char or varchar data type length.

    This table shows the style values for float or real conversion to character data.

    Value
    Output

    0 (default)
    Six digits maximum. Use in scientific notation, when appropriate.

    1
    Always eight digits. Always use in scientific notation.

    2
    Always 16 digits. Always use in scientific notation.

    In the following table, the column on the left represents the style value for money or smallmoney conversion to character data.

    Value
    Output

    0 (default)
    No commas every three digits to the left of the decimal point, and two digits to the right of the decimal point; for example, 4235.98.

    1
    Commas every three digits to the left of the decimal point, and two digits to the right of the decimal point; for example, 3,510.92.

    2
    No commas every three digits to the left of the decimal point, and four digits to the right of the decimal point; for example, 4235.9819.

    Return Types

    Returns the same value as data type 0.

    Remarks

    Implicit conversions are those conversions that occur without specifying either the CAST or CONVERT function. Explicit conversions are those conversions that require the CAST (CONVERT) function to be specified. This chart shows all explicit and implicit data type conversions allowed for SQL Server system-supplied data types, including bigint and sql_variant.

    Note Because Unicode data always uses an even number of bytes, use caution when converting binary or varbinary to or from Unicode supported data types. For example, this conversion does not return a hexadecimal value of 41, but of 4100: SELECT CAST(CAST(0x41 AS nvarchar) AS varbinary)

    Automatic data type conversion is not supported for the text and image data types. You can explicitly convert text data to character data, and image data to binary or varbinary, but the maximum length is 8000. If you attempt an incorrect conversion (for example, if you convert a character expression that includes letters to an int), SQL Server generates an error message.

    When the output of CAST or CONVERT is a character string, and the input is a character string, the output has the same collation and collation label as the input. If the input is not a character string, the output has the default collation of the database, and a collation label of coercible-default. For more information, see Collation Precedence.

    To assign a different collation to the output, apply the COLLATE clause to the result expression of the CAST or CONVERT function. For example:

    SELECT CAST('abc' AS varchar(5)) COLLATE French_CS_AS


    There is no implicit conversion on assignment from the sql_variant data type but there is implicit conversion to sql_variant.



    When converting character or binary expressions (char, nchar, nvarchar, varchar, binary, or varbinary) to an expression of a different data type, data can be truncated, only partially displayed, or an error is returned because the result is too short to display. Conversions to char, varchar, nchar, nvarchar, binary, and varbinary are truncated, except for the conversions shown in this table.



    From data type

    To data type


    Result



    int, smallint, or tinyint


    char


    *



    varchar


    *



    nchar


    E



    nvarchar


    E



    money, smallmoney, numeric, decimal, float, or real


    char


    E



    varchar


    E



    nchar


    E



    nvarchar


    E



    * Result length too short to display.

    E Error returned because result length is too short to display.



    Microsoft SQL Server guarantees that only roundtrip conversions, conversions that convert a data type from its original data type and back again, will yield the same values from release to release. This example shows such a roundtrip conversion:



    DECLARE @myval decimal (5, 2)
    SET @myval = 193.57
    SELECT CAST(CAST(@myval AS varbinary(20)) AS decimal(10,5))
    -- Or, using CONVERT
    SELECT CONVERT(decimal(10,5), CONVERT(varbinary(20), @myval))


    Do not attempt to construct, for example, binary values and convert them to a data type of the numeric data type category. SQL Server does not guarantee that the result of a decimal or numeric data type conversion to binary will be the same between releases of SQL Server.



    This example shows a resulting expression too small to display.



    USE pubs
    SELECT SUBSTRING(title, 1, 25) AS Title, CAST(ytd_sales AS char(2))
    FROM titles
    WHERE type = 'trad_cook'


    Here is the result set:



    Title                       
    ------------------------- --
    Onions, Leeks, and Garlic *
    Fifty Years in Buckingham *
    Sushi, Anyone? *

    (3 row(s) affected)


    When data types are converted with a different number of decimal places, the value is truncated to the most precise digit. For example, the result of SELECT CAST(10.6496 AS int) is 10.



    When data types in which the target data type has fewer decimal points than the source data type are converted, the value is rounded. For example, the result of CAST(10.3496847 AS money) is $10.3497.



    SQL Server returns an error message when non-numeric char, nchar, varchar, or nvarchar data is converted to int, float, numeric, or decimal. SQL Server also returns an error when an empty string (" ") is converted to numeric or decimal.



    Using Binary String Data


    When binary or varbinary data is converted to character data and an odd number of values is specified following the x, SQL Server adds a 0 (zero) after the x to make an even number of values.



    Binary data consists of the characters from 0 through 9 and from A through F (or from a through f), in groups of two characters each. Binary strings must be preceded by 0x. For example, to input FF, type 0xFF. The maximum value is a binary value of 8000 bytes, each of which is FF. The binary data types are not for hexadecimal data but rather for bit patterns. Conversions and calculations of hexadecimal numbers stored as binary data can be unreliable.



    When specifying the length of a binary data type, every two characters count as one. A length of 10 signifies that 10 two-character groupings will be entered.



    Empty binary strings, represented by 0x, can be stored as binary data.



    Examples


    A. Use both CAST and CONVERT


    Each example retrieves the titles for those books that have a 3 in the first digit of year-to-date sales, and converts their ytd_sales to char(20).



    -- Use CAST.
    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT SUBSTRING(title, 1, 30) AS Title, ytd_sales
    FROM titles
    WHERE CAST(ytd_sales AS char(20)) LIKE '3%'
    GO

    -- Use CONVERT.
    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT SUBSTRING(title, 1, 30) AS Title, ytd_sales
    FROM titles
    WHERE CONVERT(char(20), ytd_sales) LIKE '3%'
    GO


    Here is the result set (for either query):



    Title                          ytd_sales  
    ------------------------------ -----------
    Cooking with Computers: Surrep 3876
    Computer Phobic AND Non-Phobic 375
    Emotional Security: A New Algo 3336
    Onions, Leeks, and Garlic: Coo 375

    (4 row(s) affected)


    B. Use CAST with arithmetic operators


    This example calculates a single column computation (Copies) by dividing the total year-to-date sales (ytd_sales) by the individual book price (price). This result is converted to an int data type after being rounded to the nearest whole number.



    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT CAST(ROUND(ytd_sales/price, 0) AS int) AS 'Copies'
    FROM titles
    GO


    Here is the result set:



    Copies     
    ------
    205
    324
    6262
    205
    102
    7440
    NULL
    383
    205
    NULL
    17
    187
    16
    204
    418
    18
    1263
    273

    (18 row(s) affected)


    C. Use CAST to concatenate


    This example concatenates noncharacter, nonbinary expressions using the CAST data type conversion function.



    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT 'The price is ' + CAST(price AS varchar(12))
    FROM titles
    WHERE price > 10.00
    GO


    Here is the result set:



    ------------------
    The price is 19.99
    The price is 11.95
    The price is 19.99
    The price is 19.99
    The price is 22.95
    The price is 20.00
    The price is 21.59
    The price is 10.95
    The price is 19.99
    The price is 20.95
    The price is 11.95
    The price is 14.99

    (12 row(s) affected)


    D. Use CAST for more readable text


    This example uses CAST in the select list to convert the title column to a char(50) column so the results are more readable.



    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT CAST(title AS char(50)), ytd_sales
    FROM titles
    WHERE type = 'trad_cook'
    GO


    Here is the result set:



                                                           ytd_sales
    -------------------------------------------------- ---------
    Onions, Leeks, and Garlic: Cooking Secrets of the 375
    Fifty Years in Buckingham Palace Kitchens 15096
    Sushi, Anyone? 4095

    (3 row(s) affected)


    E. Use CAST with LIKE clause


    This example converts an int column (the ytd_sales column) to a char(20) column so that it can be used with the LIKE clause.



    USE pubs
    GO
    SELECT title, ytd_sales
    FROM titles
    WHERE CAST(ytd_sales AS char(20)) LIKE '15%'
    AND type = 'trad_cook'
    GO


    Here is the result set:



    title                                                        ytd_sales  
    ------------------------------------------------------------ -----------
    Fifty Years in Buckingham Palace Kitchens 15096

    (1 row(s) affected)


    See Also


    Data Type Conversion



    SELECT



    System Functions



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