|PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference
10g Release 1 (10.1)
Part Number B10807-01
RETURN statement immediately completes the execution of a subprogram and returns control to the caller. Execution resumes with the statement following the subprogram call. In a function, the
RETURN statement also sets the function identifier to the return value. For more information, see "Using the RETURN Statement".
Keyword and Parameter Description
A combination of variables, constants, literals, operators, and function calls. The simplest expression consists of a single variable. When the
RETURN statement is executed, the value of
expression is assigned to the function identifier.
Do not confuse the
RETURN statement with the
RETURN clause in a function spec, which specifies the datatype of the return value.
A subprogram can contain several
RETURN statements. Executing any of them completes the subprogram immediately. The RETURN statement might not be positioned as the last statement in the subprogram.
In procedures, a
RETURN statement cannot contain an expression. The statement just returns control to the caller before the normal end of the procedure is reached.
In functions, a
RETURN statement must contain an expression, which is evaluated when the
RETURN statement is executed. The resulting value is assigned to the function identifier. In functions, there must be at least one execution path that leads to a
RETURN statement. Otherwise, PL/SQL raises an exception at run time.
RETURN statement can be used in an anonymous block to exit the block (and all enclosing blocks), but the
RETURN statement cannot contain an expression.
The following example demonstrates the
RETURN statement using a variable, an expression, or no argument at all:
DECLARE FUNCTION num_rows (table_name VARCHAR2) RETURN user_tables.num_rows%TYPE IS howmany user_tables.num_rows%TYPE; BEGIN EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'SELECT num_rows FROM user_tables ' || 'WHERE table_name = ''' || UPPER(table_name) || '''' INTO howmany; -- A function can compute a value, then return that value. RETURN howmany; END num_rows; FUNCTION double_it(n NUMBER) RETURN NUMBER IS BEGIN -- A function can also return an expression. RETURN n * 2; END double_it; PROCEDURE print_something IS BEGIN dbms_output.put_line('Message 1.'); -- A procedure can end early by issuing RETURN with no value. RETURN; dbms_output.put_line('Message 2 (never printed).'); END; BEGIN dbms_output.put_line('EMPLOYEES has ' || num_rows('employees') || ' rows.'); dbms_output.put_line('Twice 100 is ' || double_it(n => 100) || '.'); print_something; END; /