Skip to main content
Previous sectionNext section

LEFT

A scalar string function that returns a specified number of characters from the beginning (leftmost position) of a string expression.

Synopsis

{fn LEFT(string-expression,count)}

Arguments

Argument Description
string-expression A string expression, which can be the name of a column, a string literal, or the result of another scalar function, where the underlying data type can be represented as any character type (such as CHAR or VARCHAR).
count An integer that specifies the number of characters to return from the starting position of string-expression.

Description

LEFT returns the specified number of characters from the beginning of a string. LEFT does not pad strings; if you specify a larger number of characters than are in the string, LEFT returns the string. LEFT returns NULL if passed a NULL value for either argument.

LEFT can only be used as an ODBC scalar function (with the curly brace syntax).

Examples

The following example returns the seven leftmost characters from each name in the Sample.Person table:

SELECT Name,{fn LEFT(Name,7)}AS ShortName
     FROM Sample.Person
Copy code to clipboard

The following embedded SQL example shows how LEFT handles a count that is longer than the string itself:

   &sql(SELECT Name,{fn LEFT(Name,40)}
   INTO :a,:b
   FROM Sample.Person)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,a,"=original",!,b,"=LEFT 40" }
Copy code to clipboard

No padding is performed.

See Also

LTRIM RIGHT RTRIM