The DECIMAL clause is used to indicate that the field is a packed decimal number. The ZONED clause is used to indicate that the field is a zoned decimal number. The precision field indicates the number of digits in the number. The scale field is used to specify the location of the decimal point in the number. It is the number of digits to the right of the decimal point. If scale is omitted, then a value of 0 is assumed.

Note that there are different encoding formats of zoned decimal numbers depending on whether the character set being used is EBCDIC-based or ASCII-based. If the language of the source data is EBCDIC, then the zoned decimal numbers in that file must match the EBCDIC encoding. If the language is ASCII-based, then the numbers must match the ASCII encoding.

If the EXTERNAL parameter is specified, then the data field is a character string whose length matches the precision of the field.