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Oracle/PLSQL: DUMP Function

Learn how to use the Oracle/PLSQL DUMP function with syntax and examples.


The Oracle/PLSQL DUMP function returns a varchar2 value that includes the datatype code, the length in bytes, and the internal representation of the expression.


The syntax for the Oracle/PLSQL DUMP function is:

DUMP( expression, [return_format], [start_position], [length] )

Parameters or Arguments

expression is the expression to analyze.

return_format is optional. It determines the format of the return value. This parameter can be any of the following values:

Value Explanation
8 octal notation
10 decimal notation
16 hexadecimal notation
17 single characters
1008 octal notation with the character set name
1010 decimal notation with the character set name
1016 hexadecimal notation with the character set name
1017 single characters with the character set name

start_position and length are optional parameters. They determines which portion of the internal representation to display. If these parameters are omitted, the DUMP function will display the entire internal representation in decimal notation.

Applies To

The DUMP function can be used in the following versions of Oracle/PLSQL:

  • Oracle 12c, Oracle 11g, Oracle 10g, Oracle 9i, Oracle 8i


Let's look at some Oracle DUMP function examples and explore how to use the DUMP function in Oracle/PLSQL.

For example:

DUMP('Tech') would return 'Typ=96 Len=4: 84,101,99,104'
DUMP('Tech', 10) would return 'Typ=96 Len=4: 84,101,99,104'
DUMP('Tech', 16) would return 'Typ=96 Len=4: 54,65,63,68'
DUMP('Tech', 1016) would return 'Typ=96 Len=4 CharacterSet=US7ASCII: 54,65,63,68'
DUMP('Tech', 1017) would return 'Typ=96 Len=4 CharacterSet=US7ASCII: T,e,c,h'