RE: SQL question

From: William Wagman <>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 08:51:21 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Thanks to all those who offered suggestions. It appears that indeed this is the nature of SQL*Plus. Jack Van Zanen's suggestion...

select foo||','||bar||,||baz
from mytable

is the only way to do what I want but I was hoping I could achieve what I was after without this kind of manipulation, clearly it isn't possible. I appreciate the replies.


Bill Wagman
Univ. of California at Davis
IET Campus Data Center
(530) 754-6208
From: [] On Behalf Of William Robertson Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:12 AM To:
Subject: Re: SQL question

Agreed, this has nothing to do with SQL. SQL*Plus reports results in columns - that's the way it's built and you can't turn it off by changing settings. "SET COLSEP ," merely changes the character between columns from a single space to a single comma, it's not going to collapse each row into a comma-separated list. You have to do that manually.

btw those CHAR(1) columns are asking for trouble. I would make them VARCHAR2(1). You are not supposed to actually use CHAR, it's there to look good on ANSI compatibility checklists.

-----Original message-----
From: Mark Brinsmead
Date: 14/10/08 05:36
Actually, this does not appear to be a "SQL" question, nearly so much as a SQL*Plus question. Unless I am completely mising something, anyway.

SQL*Plus is trying to do you a favour, and format your output "nicely" in human readable columns. There is nothing wrong with your data, nor with your query -- attempts to use INSTR and SUBSTR to remove the trailing blanks from your data are doomed to failure. Because there are no blanks. Remember, SQL*Plus is really -- as much as anything -- a report writing tool.

Sadly, I don't have the answer right at my fingertips, but the prior suggestion of COLSEP was probably on the right track (assuming that it is not, in fact, the correct answer). A few minutes with the SQL*Plus documentation ought to get you what you need.

On Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 5:34 PM, William Wagman <<>> wrote: Greetings,

Running Oracle on RHEL4, 64-bit.


foo VARCHAR2(300)
bar CHAR(1)
baz CHAR(1)




select foo,bar,baz
from mytable


somelongishstring                                                                  ,A,B
shorterstring                                                                      ,A,C
shorter                                                                            ,A,D



SQL> select substr(foo,0,instr(foo,' ',0,1)),bar,baz from mytable;

Does not work, because there's no space in the data, INSTR(FOO,' ') returns zero and so SUBSTR(foo,0,0) returns an empty string. > Is there any way to achieve the desired result in vanilla SQL*Plus short of the following (which looks like line noise), or resorting to PL/SQL or some other language (Perl, Java, ...)?

select foo||','||bar||','||baz
from mytable

Received on Tue Oct 14 2008 - 10:51:21 CDT

Original text of this message