T-SQL Tip: Inserting Leading Characters to a String

This post, is actually a T-SQL tip, on how to easily insert leading characters to a string.

The Scenario for Inserting Leading Characters

Consider that  you have a fixed-length table column for which you want to add leading characters, so that all its records, values with the same number of characters.

How to Insert Leading Characters for the Above Scenario

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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