Record Definition

A record is a composite variable that can store data values of different types, similar to a struct type in C, C++, or Java.

In PL/SQL records are useful for holding data from table rows, or certain columns from table rows. For ease of maintenance, you can declare variables as table%ROWTYPE or cursor%ROWTYPE instead of creating new record types.


record_type_definition ::=

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record_field_declaration ::=

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record_type_declaration ::=

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Keyword and Parameter Descriptions


A data type specifier. For the syntax of datatype, see Constant.


A combination of variables, constants, literals, operators, and function calls. The simplest expression consists of a single variable. For the syntax of expression, see Expression. When the declaration is elaborated, the value of expression is assigned to the field. The value and the field must have compatible data types.


A field in a user-defined record.


At run time, trying to assign a null to a field defined as NOT NULL raises the predefined exception VALUE_ERROR. The constraint NOT NULL must be followed by an initialization clause.


A user-defined record.


A user-defined record type that was defined using the data type specifier RECORD.


Initializes fields to default values.

Usage Notes

You can define RECORD types and declare user-defined records in the declarative part of any block, subprogram, or package.

A record can be initialized in its declaration. You can use the %TYPE attribute to specify the data type of a field. You can add the NOT NULL constraint to any field declaration to prevent the assigning of nulls to that field. Fields declared as NOT NULL must be initialized. To reference individual fields in a record, you use dot notation. For example, to reference the dname field in the dept_rec record, use dept_rec.dname.

Instead of assigning values separately to each field in a record, you can assign values to all fields at once:

  • You can assign one user-defined record to another if they have the same data type. (Having fields that match exactly is not enough.) You can assign a %ROWTYPE record to a user-defined record if their fields match in number and order, and corresponding fields have compatible data types.

  • You can use the SELECT or FETCH statement to fetch column values into a record. The columns in the select-list must appear in the same order as the fields in your record.

User-defined records follow the usual scoping and instantiation rules. In a package, they are instantiated when you first reference the package and cease to exist when you end the database session. In a block or subprogram, they are instantiated when you enter the block or subprogram and cease to exist when you exit the block or subprogram.

Like scalar variables, user-defined records can be declared as the formal parameters of procedures and functions. The restrictions that apply to scalar parameters also apply to user-defined records.

You can specify a RECORD type in the RETURN clause of a function specification. That allows the function to return a user-defined record of the same type. When invoking a function that returns a user-defined record, use the following syntax to reference fields in the record:


To reference nested fields, use this syntax:


If the function takes no parameters, code an empty parameter list. The syntax follows:



Related Topics