Summary -

In this topic, we described about the Data Types with detailed example.

Data type describes the data items characteristics that are declared in the program. All data items get declared in DATA DIVISION.

There are mainly five data types in COBOL -

  • Numeric
  • Alphabetic
  • Alphanumeric
  • Sign
  • Decimal point

The below is the table represents the data types, symbol and the allowed characters -

Data Type Description
Numeric Numeric data type allows to declare the data items to store the numeric decimal values.
Numeric values are the combination of 0 to 9 numbers.
Declaration Symbol - 9
Allowed Characters - 0 to 9.
Example -
 01 WS-NUM         PIC 9(5).
Alphabet Alphabetic data type allows to declare the data items to store the alphabetic strings.
Alphabetic strings are the combination of A to Z or a to z characters.
Declaration Symbol - A
Allowed Characters -
Character(s) Description
Space
+Plus sign
-Minus sign or hyphen
*Asterisk
/Forward slash or solidus
=Equal sign
$Currency sign
,Comma
;Semicolon
.Decimal point or period
"Quotation mark
'Apostrophe
(Left parenthesis
)Right parenthesis
>Greater than
<Less than
:Colon
_Underscore
A - ZAlphabet (uppercase)
a - zAlphabet (lowercase)
Example -
 01 WS-NUM         PIC A(15).
Alpha-numeric Alphanumeric data type allows to declare the data items to store the strings that are combination of alphabets and numbers.
Alphanumeric strings are the combination of A to Z or a to z characters or 0 to 9 numbers.
Declaration Symbol - X
Allowed Characters -
Character(s) Description
Space
+Plus sign
-Minus sign or hyphen
*Asterisk
/Forward slash or solidus
=Equal sign
$Currency sign
,Comma
;Semicolon
.Decimal point or period
"Quotation mark
'Apostrophe
(Left parenthesis
)Right parenthesis
>Greater than
<Less than
:Colon
_Underscore
A - ZAlphabet (uppercase)
a - zAlphabet (lowercase)
0 - 9Numeric characters
Example -
 01 WS-NUM         PIC X(15).
Sign Sign data type allows to declare the numeric data item with sign to capture the negative values.
Sign can specify for numeric values. i.e. sign data types can come up with numeric data type.
Declaration Symbol - S
Allowed Characters - - (minus) or + (plus)
Example -
 01 WS-SIGNED-NUMBER         PIC S9(5).
Decimal point When a data comes as a decimal to the program, a data item should declare with decimal point to handle the decimal value.
Declaration Symbol - P/V
Allowed Characters - . (Dot)
Example -
 01 WS-TOTAL         PIC 9(5)V9(2).
 01 WS-SUM           PIC 9(5)P.