# An Oracle Programmatic and General Reference

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Functions, like operators, act on data to return a result. However, unlike operators, functions can operate on zero, one, or more arguments. Of the built in SQL functions in Oracle 9i, there are single row functions, aggregate functions, analytical functions and object reference functions. User defined functions, that can be written in PL/SQL or Java in Oracle 9i, are not covered here.

#### Table 1-6. Single Row Number Functions

Function

What it does

ABS(n)

Returns absolute value of n

ACOS(n)

Returns arc cosine of n in radians

ASIN(n)

Returns arc sine of n in radians

ATAN(n)

Returns arc tangent of n, in radians

ATAN2(n,m)

Returns the arc tangent of n and m, in radians

BITAND(n,m)

Computes the bitwise logical AND of the bits of n and m, where n and m are nonnegative integers. Returns an integer.

CEIL(n)

Ceiling function—returns the smallest integer >= n

COS(n)

Returns the cosine of n where n is in radians

COSH(n)

Returns the hyperbolic cosine of n where n is in radians

EXP(n)

Returns en

FLOOR(n)

Returns the largest integer <= n

LN(n)

Returns the natural log of n

LOG(m,n)

Returns the base m log of n

MOD(m,n)

Returns the modulus of m, n—the remainder of m divided by n. (Returns m when n=0)

POWER(m,n)

Returns m raised to the nth power

ROUND (m[,n])

Rounds m to the nearest n places. Where n is omitted, default is zero. n must be an integer

SIGN(n)

For n < 0, returns –1, for n > 0, returns 1, for n = 0, returns 0

SIN(n)

Returns sine(n) where n is in radians

SINH(n)

Returns the hyperbolic sine(n) where n is in radians

SQRT(n)

Returns the square root of n

TAN(n)

Returns the tangent(n) where n is in radians

TANH(n)

Returns the hyperbolic tangent(n) where n is in radians

TRUNC (m[,n])

Truncate. Returns m truncated to n places. Where n is omitted, it returns the integer value of m.

WIDTH_BUCKET (exp,min,max,num)

Returns the “bucket” in which exp belongs, where min is the minimum value, max is the maximum value, and num is the number of divisions (buckets) to use

#### Table 1-7. Character Single Row Functions

Function

What it does

CHR (n)

Returns the character whose binary value is n. Accepts USING NCHAR_CS clause

CONCAT (char1,char2)

Combines two strings, char1 and char2

INITCAP(char)

Returns char with the first character of each word in char capitalized

LOWER(char)

Returns char with all characters converted to lowercase

Returns char1 padded on the left to width n with character sequence in char2. Default padding is a single blank (space).

LTRIM(char[,set])

Returns char with initial characters in set removed from the left. Default set is a blank character (space).

NLS_INITCAP(char[,nlsparam])

Returns char with the first character of each word in char capitalized. Accepts an NLS parameter.

NLS_LOWER(char[,nlsparam])

Returns char with all characters converted to lowercase. Accepts an NLS parameter.

NLSSORT(char[,nlsparam])

Returns language specific sort of char. Accepts an NLS parameter.

NLS_UPPER(char[,nlsparam])

Returns char with all characters converted to uppercase. Accepts an NLS parameter.

REPLACE(char[,searchstring[,replacestring]])

Returns char with searchstring replaced by replacestring. Where replacestring is omitted or null, all instances of searchstring are removed. Where searchstring is omitted or null, char is returned.

Returns char1 padded on the right to width n with character sequence in char2. Default padding is a single blank (space).

RTRIM(char[,set])

Returns char with initial characters in set removed from the right. Default set is a blank character (space).

SOUNDEX(char)

Returns the phonetic equivalent of char. Allows for searches for words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

SUBSTR(string,n[,m])

also:

SUBSTRB - bytes

SUBSTRC - unicode

SUBSTR2 - UCS2 codepoints

SUBSTR4 - UCS4 codepoints

Returns the substring of string, starting at position n, for a length of m (or to the end of string if m is not present)

TRANSLATE(char,from,to)

Returns char, with all occurrences of characters in the from string replaced with the corresponding character in the to string. If to is shorter than from, then from characters without a corresponding to character will be removed. Empty to returns NULL, not an empty string.

TREAT(exp AS [[REF] [schema.]] type)

Changes the declared type of exp to type

Returns source with leading and/or trailing trimchars removed. Default trimchar is a blank space, default action is to remove both leading and trailing blank spaces.

UPPER (char)

Returns char with all characters converted to uppercase

ASCII (char)

Returns the number value of the first character of char

INSTR(str,substr[,pos[,occur]])

also:

INSTRB - bytes

INSTRC - unicode

INSTR2 - UCS2 codepoints

INSTR4 - UCS4 codepoints

“In string” function. Returns the position of the occurrence occur of substr in str, starting at pos. Default for pos and occur is 1. If pos is negative, search works backwards from the end of str.

LENGTH (char)

also:

LENGTHB - bytes

LENGTHC - unicode

LENGTH2 - UCS2 codepoints

LENGTH4 - UCS4 codepoints

Returns the length of char

#### Table 1-8. Date Single Row Functions

Function

What it does

Returns the date d plus n months. If d is the last day of the month, or d+n would be past the end of the month, returns the last day of the month.

CURRENT_DATE

Returns the current Gregorian date as datatype DATE, in the session specific time zone

CURRENT_TIMESTAMP [(precision)]

Returns the current date and time as datatype TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE, in the session specific time zone. Precision defaults to 6 places.

DBTIMEZONE

Returns the time zone of the database

EXTRACT (datetime FROM expr)

datetime can be YEAR, MONTH, DAY, HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND, TIMEZONE_HOUR, TIMEZONE_MINUTE, TIMEZONE_REGION, or TIMEZONE_ABBR, and expr can be either an internal value or datetime value expression

FROM_TZ(timestamp, time_zone)

Returns timestamp converted to a TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE value, using time_zone

LAST_DAY(date)

Returns the date of the last day of the month containing date

LOCALTIMESTAMP [(precision)]

Returns the current date and time of the session in datatype TIMESTAMP of precision

MONTHS_BETWEEN(date1, date2)

Returns the number of months between date1 and date2

NEW_TIME(date,zone1,zone2)

Returns date converted from time zone zone1 to zone2. NLS_DATE_FORMAT must be set to a 24-hour format.

NEXT_DAY(date,weekday)

Returns the next weekday later than date where weekday is the day of the week or its abbreviation

NUMTODSINTERVAL (n, char)

Returns n converted to an INTERVAL DAY TO SECOND literal. char can be 'DAY,' 'HOUR,' 'MINUTE,' or 'SECOND,' or an expression that resolves to one of those

NUMTOYMINTERVAL (n, char)

Returns n converted to an INTERVAL YEAR TO MONTH literal. char can be 'MONTH' or 'YEAR' or an expression that resolves to one of those

ROUND (date[,fmt])

Returns date rounded to the nearest unit specified by the format model fmt. Defaults to the nearest day.

SESSIONTIMEZONE

Returns the time zone of the current session, either as a time zone offset or a time zone region name, depending on the format used for the most recent ALTER SESSION statement

SYS_EXTRACT_UTC (datetz)

Extracts the UTC value of datetz where datetz is a datetime with time zone displacement

SYSDATE

Returns the current date and time

SYSTIMESTAMP

Returns the system timestamp in TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE datatype

TO_DSINTERVAL(char [nlsparm])

Converts char to an INTERVAL DAY TO SECOND type

TO_TIMESTAMP (char[,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts char to datatype of TIMESTAMP. fmt specifies the format of char if other than the default for datatype TIMESTAMP

TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ (char[,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts char to datatype of TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE. fmt specifies the format of char if other than the default for datatype TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE.

TO_YMINTERVA(char)

Converts char to an INTERVAL YEAR TO MONTH type

TRUNC (date[,fmt])

Returns date truncated to the time unit specified by fmt. If fmt is omitted, date is truncated to the nearest day.

TZ_OFFSET(tzname | SESSIONTIMEZONE | DBTIMEZONE | '+|-hh:mi')

Returns the timezone offset

#### Table 1-9. Conversion Single Row Functions

Function

What it does

ASCIISTR(string)

Returns the ASCII string in the database language of string which can be in any character set. Non-ASCII characters are converted to their UTF-16 binary values.

BIN_TO_NUM(expr[,expr…])

Converts the binary bits of expr,expr,… to a number. Example: BIN_TO_NUM(1,1,0,1) returns 13.

CAST(expr | [MULTISET] (subquery) AS type)

Converts from one built in datatype or collection type to another

CHARTOROWID(char)

Converts char to type ROWID

COMPOSE('string')

Converts string to its Unicode string equivalent in the same character set

CONVERT(char, dest_set [,source_set])

Returns char converted from source_set character set to dest_set character set. If source_set is not specified, the database character set is assumed.

DECOMPOSE(string [CANONICAL | COMPATIBILITY])

Returns a unicode string decomposed from its fully normalized form. If CANONICAL(the default) is used, the result can be recomposed with COMPOSE.

HEXTORAW (char)

Returns hexadecimal digits of char as RAW

NUMTODSINTERVAL (n, char)

Converts number n to an INTERVAL DAY TO SECOND literal. char can be 'DAY,' 'HOUR,' 'MINUTE,' or 'SECOND'

NUMTOYMINTERVAL (n, char)

Converts number n to an INTERVAL YEAR TO MONTH literal. char can be 'YEAR or 'MONTH'

RAWTOHEX(raw)

Converts raw to its hexadecimal equivalent character value

RAWTONHEX(raw)

Converts raw to its hexadecimal equivalent NVARCHAR2 character value

ROWIDTOCHAR(rowid)

Converts rowid to a VARCHAR2 18 characters long

ROWIDTONCHAR(rowid)

Converts rowid to a NVARCHAR2 18 characters long

TO_CHAR (nchar | clob | nclob)

Converts an NCHAR, NVARCHAR2, CLOB or NCLOB value to the underlying database character set

TO_CHAR (date [,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts date to VARCHAR2, using format fmt and any nlsparm

TO_CHAR (num [,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts num to VARCHAR2, using format fmt and any nlsparm

TO_CLOB (lob_col|char)

Converts lob_col or char to CLOB value

TO_DATE char [,fmt[nlsparm]]

Converts char to a date, using the format fmt and any nlsparm. If fmt is not specified, then the default date format is used.

TO_DSINTERVAL (char [nlsparm])

Converts char to an INTERVAL DAY TO SECOND literal

TO_LOB(long_col)

Converts the LONG or LONG RAW value of long_col to LOB values

TO_MULTI_BYTE(char)

Converts single byte char to multibyte characters

TO_NCHAR(char [,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts a string from the database character set to the national character set

TO_NCHAR (datetime | interval[,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts a date, time, or interval value from the database character set to the national character set

TO_NCHAR (n [,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts a number to a string in the NVARCHAR2 character set

TO_NCLOB (lob_column | char)

Converts char or lob_column to NCLOB data, using the national character set

TO_NUMBER(char[,fmt[nlsparm]])

Converts char to a number, using fmt as the format specifier

TO_SINGLE_BYTE(char)

Returns char with any multibyte characters converted to the corresponding single byte characters

TO_YMINTERVAL(char [nlsparm])

Converts char to an INTERVAL YEAR TO MONTH literal

TRANSLATE (text USING CHAR_CS | NCHAR_CS)

Returns text translated into the database character set (USING CHAR_CS) or the national character set (USING NCHAR_CS)

UNISTR(string)

Returns string in Unicode using the database Unicode character set

#### Table 1-10. Miscellaneous Single Row Functions

Function

What it does

BFILENAME('dir','fname')

Returns a locator for an LOB binary file on the filesystem. dir is the database object that is an alias for the full pathname of the file directory, fname is the actual file name.

COALESCE(expr[,expr,...])

Returns the first nonnull expression in a list of expressions

DECODE(expr,search ,result [ ,search,result...][,default])

Searches expr for search, returning the specific result for each search. Returns default if search is not found.

DEPTH(correlation_int)

Returns the number of levels in the path specified by an UNDER_PATH condition

DUMP(expr[,return_fmt [,start[,length]]])

Returns a VARCHAR2 value with the datatype, length, and internal representation of expr, using the format of return_fmt. Returns entire internal representation unless start and optionally length are specified.

EMPTY_BLOB()

Returns a locator for a BLOB, allowing you to initialize the BLOB

EMPTY_CLOB()

Returns a locator for a CLOB, allowing you to initialize the CLOB

EXISTSNODE(XML_Instance, path [expr])

Walks the XML tree and returns success if a node is found that matches the specified path

EXTRACT (XML_Instance, path [expr])

Walks the XML tree and, if nodes are found which match the specified path, returns those nodes

EXTRACTVALUE(XML_Instance, path [expr])

Walks the XML tree and, if nodes are found that match the specified path, returns the scalar value of those nodes

GREATEST(expr[,expr,...])

Returns the expression in the list with greatest value. All data types are implicitly converted to the data type of the first expression. Character comparisons use the database character set.

LEAST(expr[,expr,...])

Returns the expression in the list with least value. All data types are implicitly converted to the data type of the first expression. Character comparisons use the database character set.

NLS_CHARSET_DECL_LEN (bytes,set_id)

Returns the declaration width of the NCHAR column of width bytes and a character set ID of set_id

NLS_CHARSET_ID(text)

Returns the number of a character set ID with a character set name of text

NLS_CHARSET_NAME(num)

Returns the character set name of the character set with ID num

NULLIF(expr1,expr2)

Returns null if expr1and expr2 are equal, else returns expr1

NVL(expr1,expr2)

Returns expr2 if expr1 is NULL, else returns expr1

NVL2(expr1,expr2,expr3)

Returns expr2 if expr1 is NOT NULL, else returns expr3

PATH (correlation_int)

Returns the relative path to the resource specified in an UNDER_PATH or EQUALS_PATH condition

SYS_CONNECT_BY_PATH (column,char)

Returns the path of a column value from root to node in an hierarchical query. Column values are separated by char.

SYS_CONTEXT('namespace', 'param'[,len])

Returns a VARCHAR2 with the value of param of namespace. Return is 256 bytes unless overridden by len.

SYS_DBURIGEN(col|attr [rowid][,col|attr [rowid],...] [,'text()'])

Generates a URL that can be used to retrieve an XML document from one or more columns col or attributes attr with or without a rowid

SYS_EXTRACT_UTC(time)

Returns the UTC from time where time is a datetime with time zone displacement

SYS_GUID()

Generates and then returns a Globally Unique IDentifier (GUID) of 16 RAW bytes

SYS_TYPEID(obj_val)

Returns the typeid of an object type operand

SYS_XMLAGG(expr [fmt])

Creates a single well-formed XML document from multiple documents

SYS_XMLGEN(expr [fmt])

Creates a well-formed XML document from a database row/column expression

UID

Returns the UID of the current session user

UPDATEXML(XML_instance, path, expr)

Updates an XML document by searching for the node specified in the path, then replaces either the node or the scalar value of the node, depending on argument types

USER

Returns the username of the current session user

USERENV(param)

Returns a variety of information about the current session. While deprecated in favor of SYS_CONTEXT, this is retained for backward compatibility.

VSIZE(expr)

Returns the number of bytes used by the value represented by expr

XMLAGG(XML_instance [ORDER BY sortlist])

Returns a well-formed XML document by aggregating a series of XML fragments. The returned document is a simple aggregate and no formatting is supported.

XMLCOLATTVAL

Creates an XML fragment for one or more columns of a single row. The format of the fragment is fixed as <column name=”column name”>column value</column>.

XMLCONCAT(XML_instance [, XML_instance,...])

Returns an XML fragment created by concatenating a series of XML fragments or elements

XMLFOREST

Creates an XML fragment for one or more columns of a single row. The format of the fragment is fixed as <column name>column value</column name>.

XMLSEQUENCE

Used to “unroll” a stored XMLType into multiple rows for further processing as individual elements

XMLTRANSFORM

Applies an XSL style sheet to an XML document and returns the resulting new XML document

#### Aggregate Functions

All of the aggregate functions described below can have an analytical clause appended to them using the OVER (analytical_clause) syntax. For space considerations, we've omitted this from the Function column.

#### Table 1-11. Aggregate Functions

Function

What it does

AVG([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Computes the average of the rows returned by expr. If the DISTINCT keyword is used, duplicate rows will be excluded from the calculation.

CORR( expr1 , expr2 )

Calculates the coefficient of correlation between expr1 and expr2

COUNT(* | [DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the number of [DISTINCT] rows in the expr that are not null, or if * is specified, the total number of rows, including duplicates and nulls

COVAR_POP( expr1, expr2 )

Given a set of pairs, expr1 and expr2, where nulls are excluded, returns the population covariance

COVAR_SAMP( expr1, expr2 )

Given a set of pairs, expr1 and expr2, where nulls are excluded, returns the sample covariance

CUME_DIST(expr[,expr...]) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC] [NULLS [FIRST|LAST])

Given a list of values, finds and returns the cumulative distribution of a single value within that list

DENSE_RANK(expr[,expr...]) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr)

Given an ordered group of rows, finds and returns the rank of a single value within that group

FIRST ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC] [NULLS [FIRST|LAST])

Returns the first row or rows from a set based on the specified sort order. If multiple rows tie as “first” then all tied rows will be returned. Used in an aggregate function.

GROUP_ID()

Used in GROUP BY specification to distinguish duplicate groups

GROUPING(expr)

Used to distinguish superaggregate rows from regular grouped rows when ROLLUP and CUBE are used

GROUPING_ID(expr[,expr...])

Returns the number of the GROUPING bit vector for a row

LAST ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC] [NULLS [FIRST|LAST])

Returns the last row or rows from a set based on the specified sort order. If multiple rows tie as “last” then all tied rows will be returned. Used in an aggregate function.

MAX([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the maximum value of expr. If the DISTINCT keyword is used, duplicate rows will be excluded from the calculation.

MIN([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the minimum value of expr. If the DISTINCT keyword is used, duplicate rows will be excluded from the calculation.

PERCENTILE_CONT(expr) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC])

Given a list of values and a specified percentile ranking, returns the interpolated value of that percentile by assuming a continuous distribution of data in the list

PERCENTILE_DISC(expr) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC])

Given a list of values and a specified percentile ranking, returns the smallest value that meets or exceeds that percentile rank by assuming a discrete distribution of data in the list

PERCENT_RANK(expr) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC][NULLS FIRST|LAST])

Given a list of values, calculates the hypothetical rank of a single value within that list

RANK(expr) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY expr [DESC|ASC][NULLS FIRST|LAST])

Returns the rank (ordering) of expr in the group of values returned by the order by expression

STDDEV([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the standard deviation of expr

STDDEV_POP([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the square root of the population variance from computing the standard deviation of expr

STDDEV_SAMP([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the square root of the cumulative sample standard deviation of expr

SUM([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

Returns the sum of expr. Distinct eliminates duplicates from the set of values being summed.

VAR_POP(expr)

Returns the population variance of expr. Nulls are removed from the calculation.

VAR_SAMP(expr)

Returns the sample variance of expr. Nulls are removed from the calculation.

VARIANCE([DISTINCT|ALL] expr)

The variance of expr, with duplicates removed if DISTINCT is specified

#### Table 1-12. Regression Functions

Function

What it does

REGR_SLOPE(expr,expr2)

Returns the slope of a least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2)

REGR_INTERCEPT(expr,expr2)

Returns the Y intercept of a least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2)

REGR_COUNT(expr,expr2)

Returns the number of NOT NULL pairs used to fit the least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2)

REGR_R2(expr,expr2)

Returns the R2 value (coefficient of determination) of a least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2)

REGR_AVGX(expr,expr2)

Returns the average value of expr2 of a least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2) after removing nulls from the calculation

REGR_AVGY(expr,expr2)

Returns the average value of expr of a least squares regression line of the set of number pairs defined by (expr,expr2) after removing nulls from the calculation

REGR_SXX(expr,expr2)

Returns the value of calculating REGR_COUNT(expr, expr2) * VAR_POP(expr2) with nulls removed from the calculation

REGR_SYY(expr,expr2)

Returns the value of calculating REGR_COUNT(expr, expr2) * VAR_POP(expr) with nulls removed from the calculation

REGR_SXY(expr,expr2)

Returns the value of calculating REGR_COUNT(expr, expr2) * COVAR_POP(expr,expr2) with nulls removed from the calculation

#### Analytical Functions

All of the aggregate functions described above can also have analytic functionality, using the OVER (analytical_clause) syntax. For space considerations, we've declined to list them twice. Note that you cannot nest analytic functions.

#### Table 1-13. Analytical Functions

Function

What it does

FIRST_VALUE(expr) OVER (analytical_clause)

Returns the first in the ordered set of expr

LAG(expr[,offset][,default]) OVER (analytical_clause)

Provides access at a point offset prior to the cursor in a series of rows returned by expr

LAST_VALUE(expr) OVER (analytical_clause)

Returns the last in the ordered set of expr

Provides access at a point offset beyond the cursor in a series of rows returned by expr

NTILE(expr) OVER (analytical_clause)

Divides the ordered dataset into expr number of buckets

RATIO_TO_REPORT(expr) OVER (analytical_clause)

Returns the ratio of expr to the sum returned by analytical_clause

ROW_NUMBER(expr) OVER ([partition_clause]order_by_clause)

Assigns a unique number to each row

#### Table 1-14. Object Reference Functions

Function

What it does

DEREF(expr)

Returns the object reference of expr. Without this, an the object ID of the reference would be returned.

MAKE_REF(table|view,key [,key...])

Returns a REF to a row of an object view or table

REF(correlation_var)

Returns the REF value of correlation_var

REFTOHEX(expr)

Converts expr to its hexadecimal equivalent where expr is a REF

VALUE(correlation_var)

Returns the value associated with the correlation_var

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California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

## Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

• As required by law.
• With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
• In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
• To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
• In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
• To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
• To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
• To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
• To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.