# How To Use Data Types

The following are the character data types:

- alpha
- varalpha
- char
- varchar

The following are the numeric data types:

- int
- longint
- vastint
- numeric

The following is the other data type:

- date

## Alpha Data Type

A character string of fixed length (uses a pre-defined amount of storage space). Pads with trailing blanks if necessary. Case insensitive in sorts, compares, and so on, but case is stored and is apparent on display.

## Varalpha Data Type

A character string of variable length (uses only as much storage space as data requires). Ignores trailing blanks if entered. Case insensitive in sorts, compares, and so on, but case is stored and is apparent on display.

## Char Data Type

A character string of fixed length (uses a pre-defined amount of storage space). Pads with trailing blanks if necessary. Case sensitive in sorts, compares, and so on.

## Varchar Data Type

A character string of variable length (uses only as much storage space as data requires). Ignores trailing blanks if entered. Case sensitive in sorts, compares, and so on.

## Int Data Type

A numeric value occupying two bytes of storage space. Can contain any number of decimal places, but digit value (ignoring decimal places) must fall between -32768 and 32767.

## Longint Data Type

A numeric value occupying four bytes of storage space. Can contain any number of decimal places, but digit value (ignoring decimal places) must fall between -2147483648 and 2147483647.

## Vastint Data Type

A numeric value occupying eight bytes of storage space. Can contain any number of decimal places and up to fifteen significant digits (ignoring decimal places).

## Numeric Data Type

A number stored in character form. Can include a leading sign (+, -), or an embedded decimal point, or both. Can include spaces between the sign and the first digit, but not between digits.

## Date Data Type

A date value occupying eight bytes of storage space. On display, contains eight digits in the form YYYYMMDD. Dates and numbers are freely interchangeable, and date arithmetic is available.