T-SQL Tip: Inserting Leading Characters to a String

T-SQL Tip: Inserting Leading Characters to a String

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Scenario: You have a fixed-length table column for which you want to add leading characters.
Example: In this scenario we have column “ID” which is a varchar field of length 10 and we want to add  leading zeros so that its values always have 10 characters.
–Create Development/Test Database
CREATE DATABASE [DevDB]
GO


–Use Database

USE [DevDB]
GO

–Create Table
CREATE TABLE [dbo].[TestID](
[ID] [varchar](10) NULL
) ON [PRIMARY]
GO

–Populate Table With Data
INSERT INTO dbo.TestID
VALUES
(‘1’),
(’12’),
(‘123’),
(‘1234’),
(‘12345’),
(‘123456’),
(‘1234567’),
(‘12345678’),
(‘123456789’)
GO

–Test the Transformation Logic (number 10 is the ID column size)
SELECT ID,RIGHT((‘0000000000’+ID),10) as FilteredID
FROM dbo.TestID
GO

–Execute the Transformation Logic (number 10 is the ID column size)
UPDATE dbo.TestID
SET ID=RIGHT((‘0000000000000’+ID),10)
GO
So, with a single UPDATE statement along with the use of the RIGHT string function you can easily add leading characters to a string.


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Artemakis Artemiou
Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior SQL Server Architect, Author, Software Developer and a Microsoft Data Platform MVP. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Among other, via his initiative SQLEBooks.com, Artemakis authors and publishes eBooks on different topics on SQL Server. Artemakis currently serves as the President of the Cyprus .NET User Group (CDNUG) and the International .NET Association Country Leader for Cyprus (INETA). Additionally he is the founder of the SQLArtBits initiative that aims to provide the technical community with simple, yet powerful and high-quality SQL Server tools. Currently, the highlights of these tools are DBA Security Advisor and In-Memory OLTP Simulator. Artemakis's official website can be found at aartemiou.com. Artemakis's blogs can be found at: SQLNetHub.com and TechHowTos.com.