oracle error messages

Oracle/PLSQL: ORA-01438

Learn the cause and how to resolve the ORA-01438 error message in Oracle.


When you encounter an ORA-01438 error, the following error message will appear:

  • ORA-01438: value larger than specified precision allows for this column


You tried to assign a numeric value to a column, but the value was larger than the column will allow. This occurred during either an INSERT or an UPDATE statement.


The option(s) to resolve this Oracle error are:

Option #1

Assign a smaller precision value to the column.

Option #2

Modify the definition of the table to allow for a higher precision number in the column. This can be done with a ALTER TABLE statement.

For example, if you had a table called suppliers defined as follows:

CREATE TABLE suppliers
( supplier_id number(5) not null,
  supplier_name varchar2(50) not null

And you tried to execute the following INSERT statement:

INSERT into suppliers
(supplier_id, supplier_name)
VALUES (123456, 'IBM');

You would receive the following error message:

Oracle PLSQL

You could correct the error with either of the following solutions:

Solution #1

You can correct the INSERT statement to assign a smaller precision value to the supplier_id column as follows:

INSERT into suppliers
(supplier_id, supplier_name)
VALUES (12345, 'IBM');
Solution #2

You can modify the table definition of the suppliers table to allow for a 6 digit precision number.

ALTER TABLE suppliers
 MODIFY supplier_id number(6);