Internal Table


An Internal Table, in the context of technology, refers to a temporary data storage structure used within computer programs, typically in the form of an array or database-like structure. It holds and manages data during the execution of a program, allowing for efficient data manipulation and processing. Internal Tables are often used in programming languages like ABAP for SAP software systems, as well as in other programming environments.


The phonetic representation of the keyword “Internal Table” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /ɪnˈtɝːnəl ˈteɪbəl/Breaking it down by syllables:- “Internal”: /ɪnˈtɝːnəl/- “Table”: /ˈteɪbəl/

Key Takeaways

  1. Internal tables are temporary data storage structures within ABAP programs that allow you to store, process, and manipulate data in memory.
  2. They offer various operations such as append, insert, modify, delete, sort, and loop, providing flexibility and efficiency when working with large data sets.
  3. Internal tables have different types like standard, sorted, and hashed tables, each optimized for specific access and performance requirements.


The technology term “Internal Table” is important because it acts as a crucial data structure in various programming languages and software applications.

Internal tables enable efficient storage, manipulation, and management of data in the form of rows and columns, much like a traditional database table.

By functioning as a temporary, in-memory data storage facility, internal tables ensure faster data processing and retrieval, providing substantial performance improvement during runtime.

Furthermore, internal tables facilitate better data organization and security by allowing developers to control access and modification of critical data elements while streamlining complex processes within applications.

Overall, internal tables play a vital role in enhancing an application’s functionality, performance, and effectiveness.


Internal tables serve as a critical component within various software applications and programming environments, primarily to enable efficient and well-structured data storage and management. They act as temporary, in-memory data containers that store and organize information in a tabular format, with rows and columns, while a particular program executes. As the data in internal tables resides only in the working memory, its contents are automatically erased once the program is terminated, making them ideal for temporary manipulation and processing of datasets.

By leveraging internal tables, developers can seamlessly sort, filter, aggregate, and even join data from multiple sources while keeping the processing time and system overhead relatively low. Aside from enhancing performance, internal tables offer numerous functional advantages and use-cases across diverse technical scenarios. For instance, when integrating data from different databases or external sources, an internal table can be used as an intermediary store, which simplifies and streamlines the data handling process within the application.

Furthermore, in reporting and analytical tasks, internal tables serve as an excellent resource for computing interim results, performing calculations, and providing real-time reporting and presentation of the queried information. This, in turn, enables decision-makers to discern actionable insights and make informed choices based on the processed data. Ultimately, internal tables have become an indispensable tool that significantly contributes to improved programming efficiency and the overall user experience of software applications.

Examples of Internal Table

In the context of computer programming and database management, an internal table is a data structure used to store and manipulate a collection of records in the memory. Internal tables are commonly used in various programming languages, frameworks and software applications.

SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) is a widely used ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that uses ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) language for its development. In ABAP, internal tables are essential for processing and manipulating large datasets temporarily without accessing the database frequently, thus improving the performance of business applications. Programmers use standard, sorted, or hashed internal tables based on their business needs and performance requirements.

In-memory databases, such as Redis and SQLite, store and manage data in internal tables within the system memory. Internal tables are used to store and process data with high-speed access, since it is faster to read and write data in memory compared to permanent storage on disks. In-memory databases are popular for real-time analytics and caching due to their high performance and low latency capabilities.

Web-based applications, such as e-commerce platforms or content management systems, often use internal tables to cache frequently accessed data from databases to reduce the load on back-end systems. For instance, if an online store has items that are popular and frequently visited, an internal table can store information about the item details to respond quickly to user requests. This results in faster page loading times and improved user experience, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and better customer satisfaction.

Internal Table FAQ

1. What is an internal table?

An internal table is a data structure used in programming languages like ABAP to store multiple occurrences of a structured data type, typically records from a database table, in the form of a table with rows and columns. It is a temporary data storage that exists only during the runtime of a program.

2. How do you define an internal table in ABAP?

In ABAP, you can define an internal table using the following syntax:

DATA: lt_table_name TYPE TABLE OF typename_with_structure,
      wa_table_name TYPE typename_with_structure.

Here, lt_table_name is the internal table name, and typename_with_structure is the data structure used by the internal table.

3. How do you populate an internal table?

You can populate an internal table by inserting records using the APPEND or INSERT keyword, or by using a SELECT statement to fetch records from a database table. For example:

APPEND wa_table_name TO lt_table_name.

INSERT wa_table_name INTO TABLE lt_table_name.

SELECT * FROM db_table_name INTO TABLE lt_table_name.

4. How do you access the data in an internal table?

You can access data in an internal table by using a loop to iterate through the rows and then use the work area to perform operations with the data. For example:

LOOP AT lt_table_name INTO wa_table_name.
  "Perform operations with the data

5. How can you modify or delete data in an internal table?

You can modify or delete data in an internal table using the MODIFY, UPDATE, or DELETE keywords. For example:

MODIFY lt_table_name FROM wa_table_name.

UPDATE lt_table_name FROM wa_table_name.

DELETE lt_table_name WHERE condition.

Related Technology Terms

  • Data Structure
  • Database Management System (DBMS)
  • Primary Key
  • Indexing
  • Query Optimization

Sources for More Information


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