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ORA-12899: Value Too Large for Column

Expert Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

February 17, 2011

 

Question:  I received the following error message:

ERROR ORA-12899: value too large for column

I am working with the following settings:

NLS_LANGUAGE = HEBREW

NLS_TERRITORY = ISRAEL

NLS_CHARACTERSET-AL32UTF8

NLS_NCHAR_CHARACTERSET -AL16UTF16

How do I resolve this error ORA-12899: value too large for column?

Answer:  To diagnose any error, you start by using the oerr utility to display the ORA-12899 error:

ORA-12899: value too large for column string (actual: string, maximum: string)

Cause: An attempt was made to insert or update a column with a value which is too wide for the width of the destination column. The name of the column is given, along with the actual width of the value, and the maximum allowed width of the column. Note that widths are reported in characters if character length semantics are in effect for the column, otherwise widths are reported in bytes.

Action: Examine the SQL statement for correctness. Check source and destination column data types. Either make the destination column wider, or use a subset of the source column (i.e. use substring).

Second, you should be aware that the full ORA-12899 message is needed in order for you to get helpful feedback.  According to Oracle, the ORA-12899 error is reported in the following format:

ORA-12899: value too large for column string (actual: string, maximum: string)

Therefore, your actual resulting ORA-12899 error message should look something like this:

ORA-12899: value too large for column AUTHOR_LASTNAME (actual: 22, maximum: 20)

Although your question does not reveal much about what you were trying to do, the resulting ORA-12899 does!  The usual suspects to check are:

  • SQL statements to make sure they're correct
  • Source and destination column data types to make sure they are compatible
  • Destination column width to make sure it's large enough for your largest expected value

If all of that checks out, you can try again and let us know more about the process and the error you're getting.

Bugs causing ORA-12899

When getting an ORA-12899 on a virtual column, see MOSC:

MOSC Note 1599351.1 titled "ORA-12899: Value Too Large For Column when using Deterministic Function".

MOSC Note 1516303.1 titled "ORA-12899 Creating a Table With Virtual Columns".

MOSC bugs 16066239 and 13640613.

Also see MOSC Notes 752716.1 and 5868257.8:

See bug 5172797, bug 15835753 and bug 8211083 titled "GETTING ORA-12899 INTERMITTENTLY, WHILE INSERT/UPDATE ON DATE TYPE COLUMN"

 
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