The SQL LEN function returns the number of characters within a string.  Keep in mind the count of characters returned does not include training spaces.

Description

The SQL LEN function return the length of a string (number of characters).  It does not include trailing spaces.

In this example, we’ll use the HumanResource.Employee table for our examples.

Employee Example Data for SQL LEN function

Using the data above, let’s use LEN to find out the number of characters within JobTitle:

SELECT JobTitle, LEN(JobTitle) JobTitleLength FROM HumanResources.Employee
/* Answer */
SELECT JobTitle, LEN(JobTitle) JobTitleLength
FROM  HumanResources.Employee

SQL LEN Usage Notes

  • The LEN function does not count spaces at the end of the string.
  • The result of LEN(NULL)  is NULL.
  • LEN returns an integer, except when using the max data length, such as VARCHAR(MAX).  In this case it returns bigint.
  • Use DATALENGTH to return number of bytes used within string.

Syntax

LEN(string)

Where string is constant, variable, or column of either character or binary data.

SQL LEN Examples

Return the length of a string using LEN:

SELECT LEN('EssentialSQL.com') Length;
/* Answer */
SELECT LEN('EssentialSQL.com') Length;

Return the length of a string containing trailing spaces:

SELECT LEN('EssentialSQL.com ') Length;
/* Answer */
SELECT LEN('EssentialSQL.com     ')  Length;

Using LEN within a where clause. Return job titles with 15 or more characters:

SELECT DISTINCT JobTitle FROM HumanResources.Employee WHERE LEN(JobTitle) >= 15;
/* Answer */
SELECT DISTINCT JobTitle
FROM  HumanResources.Employee
WHERE LEN(JobTitle) >= 15;

What is the length of a NULL string?

SELECT LEN(NULL) Length;
/* Answer */
SELECT LEN(NULL) Length;

See Also

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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