The NUMCHARS function counts the number of characters in a text expression. When the value is a multiline text value, NUMCHARS returns the total number of characters in all the lines. The result returned by NUMCHARS has the same dimensions as the specified expression.
Tip:When you are using a multibyte character set, you can use the NULLIF function instead of the NUMCHARS function.
The text expression whose characters are to be counted. NUMCHARS accepts either a TEXT or NTEXT argument. It does not perform an automatic conversion to either data type. It returns the information that is correct for the data type of the specified argument.
You would like to know the length of the names of your products so you can specify the appropriate width for the label column in a report. You can use the NUMCHARS function in combination with the LARGEST function to find the length of the longest label. Then use that value to set the column size. The following statements in a program find the longest name and use the character count to format a report.
firstcol = LARGEST(NUMCHARS(name.product))+1 LIMIT month TO FIRST 3 FOR product DO ROW WIDTH FIRSTCOL name.product WIDTH 6 ACROSS month - FIRST 3: units DOEND
When the program is run, it produces the following output.
3-Person Tents 200 203 269 Aluminum Canoes 347 400 482 Tennis Racquets 992 1,076 1,114 Warm-up Suits 1,096 1,214 1,294 Running Shoes 2,532 2,405 2,775