DBA Tips Archive for Oracle
Convert Numbers to Words
by Brian Membrey, The PaperBag Software Company Pty Ltd
I guess a mundane exercise that most programmers cop at some stage is having to convert a number (123) into a text equivalent (ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE) - for cheques, group certificates, etc. Probably the code involved a loop stripping out the numerals and then applying a value according to the relative position within the overall value.
Although it winds a strange path via date functions, SQL*Plus actually provides a mechanism for automating much of this process. Executing the following :
SELECT TO_CHAR ( TO_DATE ( TO_CHAR ( 103465, '99999999999') , 'J'), 'JSP') FROM dual;
returns a value of ONE HUNDRED THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE
If we break the statement into each component function, then what happens is :
SP can be used in a number of situations. For example, if SYSDATE is 26-AUG-98, then :
SELECT TO_CHAR ( SYSDATE, 'DdSp') FROM dual; -- spells the day as Twenty-Six,and
SELECT TO_CHAR ( SYSDATE, 'DDSPTH') FROM dual; --returns TWENTY-SIXTH
Some simple manipulations can be included with the base conversion to cover floating numbers or currencies (email firstname.lastname@example.org for source), eg. 103465.27 becomes ONE HUNDRED AND THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS AND TWENTY-SEVEN CENTS.
One covenant however : if in your mad appreciation of this trivia you want to send me a cheque for more than $5,373,484.00, then you'll have to write it manually, or send more than one cheque!
SQL*Plus restricts Julian days to between 1 and 5373484, which won't be a problem for most applications, but should be borne in mind before using the technique in anger.
5373484 represents 31-Dec-9999, so this may be Oracle's way of introducing us to a Year 10K problem!
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