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Tip of the Day
Language: SQL Server
Expertise: Beginner
Jun 28, 2000

Converting Long Character String Into Short String

Question:
How can do I write a query to retrieve a string with a specific number of characters from a field? For example, the "firstname" field has a name that is 25 characters long and I want to retrieve only the first 10 characters.

Answer:
Use the LEFT function to return the leftmost 10 characters from a column (I assume the column is character datatype). If leading spaces are a possibility, combine this function with LTRIM like this:

SELECT ID, LEFT(LTRIM(FirstName) AS FirstName,10)
FROM Contacts
You could also use SUBSTRING, but it takes a starting position as well as the number of characters to return. So LEFT is a little simpler.
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