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Oracle® Database SQL Language Reference
11g Release 1 (11.1)

B28286-07
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NLSSORT

Syntax

Description of nlssort.gif follows
Description of the illustration nlssort.gif

Purpose

NLSSORT returns the string of bytes used to sort char.

Both char and 'nlsparam' can be any of the datatypes CHAR, VARCHAR2, NCHAR, or NVARCHAR2. The string returned is of RAW datatype.

The value of 'nlsparam' can have the form

'NLS_SORT = sort'

where sort is a linguistic sort sequence or BINARY. If you omit 'nlsparam', then this function uses the default sort sequence for your session. If you specify BINARY, then this function returns char.

If you specify 'nlsparam', then you can append to the linguistic sort name the suffix _ai to request an accent-insensitive sort or _ci to request a case-insensitive sort. Refer to Oracle Database Globalization Support Guide for more information on accent- and case-insensitive sorting.

This function does not support CLOB data directly. However, CLOBs can be passed in as arguments through implicit data conversion.

See Also:

"Datatype Comparison Rules" for more information.

Examples

This function can be used to specify sorting and comparison operations based on a linguistic sort sequence rather than on the binary value of a string. The following example creates a test table containing two values and shows how the values returned can be ordered by the NLSSORT function:

CREATE TABLE test (name VARCHAR2(15));
INSERT INTO test VALUES ('Gaardiner');
INSERT INTO test VALUES ('Gaberd');
INSERT INTO test VALUES ('Gaasten');

SELECT * FROM test ORDER BY name;

NAME
---------------
Gaardiner
Gaasten
Gaberd

SELECT * FROM test ORDER BY NLSSORT(name, 'NLS_SORT = XDanish');

NAME
---------------
Gaberd
Gaardiner
Gaasten

The following example shows how to use the NLSSORT function in comparison operations:

SELECT * FROM test WHERE name > 'Gaberd'
  ORDER BY name;

no rows selected

SELECT * FROM test WHERE NLSSORT(name, 'NLS_SORT = XDanish') > 
   NLSSORT('Gaberd', 'NLS_SORT = XDanish')
   ORDER BY name;

NAME
---------------
Gaardiner
Gaasten

If you frequently use NLSSORT in comparison operations with the same linguistic sort sequence, then consider this more efficient alternative: Set the NLS_COMP parameter (either for the database or for the current session) to LINGUISTIC, and set the NLS_SORT parameter for the session to the desired sort sequence. Oracle Database will use that sort sequence by default for all sorting and comparison operations during the current session:

ALTER SESSION SET NLS_COMP = 'LINGUISTIC';
ALTER SESSION SET NLS_SORT = 'XDanish';

SELECT * FROM test WHERE name > 'Gaberd'
  ORDER BY name;

NAME
---------------
Gaardiner
Gaasten

See Also:

Oracle Database Globalization Support Guide for information on sort sequences