Call now: 252-767-6166  
Oracle Training Oracle Support Development Oracle Apps

 E-mail Us
 Oracle Articles
New Oracle Articles

 Oracle Training
 Oracle Tips

 Oracle Forum
 Class Catalog

 Remote DBA
 Oracle Tuning
 Emergency 911
 RAC Support
 Apps Support
 Oracle Support

 SQL Tuning

 Oracle UNIX
 Oracle Linux
 Remote s
 Remote plans
 Application Server

 Oracle Forms
 Oracle Portal
 App Upgrades
 SQL Server
 Oracle Concepts
 Software Support

 Remote S


 Consulting Staff
 Consulting Prices
 Help Wanted!


 Oracle Posters
 Oracle Books

 Oracle Scripts

Don Burleson Blog 







Formatting numbers in Oracle SQL

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJuly 7, 2015

Question:  I'm having a problem displaying a NUMBER column type for display purposes.

I want the plus and minus number notation to appear within brackets, along with punctuation like this

(+) 1000,00,000
(-) 2,00,000

The SQL I used is below, but I get the error "ORA-017222 -- Invalid number" when I try to format the number column using to_char:

   decode(sign(to_char(pamt,'99,99,999')),1,'(+)'||' '||pamt,-1,'(-)'||' '||pamt,pamt)

How do I format number columns in Oracle SQL?

Answer:  If the SQL runs inside SQL*Plus it's easy to format numbers using column (col) directive in SQL*Plus. 

In standard SQL you can also use built-in function to format numbers, but number formatting is less straightforward.  Oracle guru Laurent Schneider (author of the popular book Advanced SQL Programming) offers this solution to number formatting in SQL:

      TO_CHAR (column_value, 'FMS9999,99,9999'),
      '-', '(-) '
    '+', '(+) '
  ) fmt
FROM TABLE(sys.odcinumberlist(1,-1e7 / 7));

COLUMN_VALUE FMT                
------------ --------------------
           1 (+) 1              
  -1428571.4 (-) 1,42,8571

As we see, you can use the replace and to_char SQL functions to format numeric columns for attractive display in native Oracle SQL.



Oracle Training at Sea
oracle dba poster

Follow us on Twitter 
Oracle performance tuning software 
Oracle Linux poster


Burleson is the American Team

Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

Verify experience! Anyone considering using the services of an Oracle support expert should independently investigate their credentials and experience, and not rely on advertisements and self-proclaimed expertise. All legitimate Oracle experts publish their Oracle qualifications.

Errata?  Oracle technology is changing and we strive to update our BC Oracle support information.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback.  Just  e-mail:  

and include the URL for the page.


Burleson Consulting

The Oracle of Database Support

Oracle Performance Tuning

Remote DBA Services


Copyright © 1996 -  2020

All rights reserved by Burleson

Oracle ® is the registered trademark of Oracle Corporation.