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ZIM Language Reference


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Applies a mask pattern to the specified data item.

For a more detailed explanation of mask patterns and their relation to data types, see Masking.




  • A value of any type or an expression that yields a value of any type; or
  • An field of any data type.
  • The mask pattern to apply to item.
  • alphanumeric;
  • a constant, a variable, a parameter, or a field.

Return Value

Character string, containing the masked value.


  • Mask patterns consist of special characters and fixed text characters;
  • Fixed text characters are always output as is;
  • The set of special characters available for use to mask a particular data value is determined by the data type of value being masked (character string, date, or number );
  • Most special characters are typically replaced by characters from item, but they can also output characters in their own right (e.g., the floating currency symbol: $, which can be customized);
  • The Language Customizer utility (ZIMLANG) can be used to redefine how certain special characters are displayed or output.
    For example, in numeric masks, the currency symbol $ normally outputs a dollar sign, but it can be configured to output other symbols, such as the pound sign £ or yen sign ¥.


list all Employees format FirstName LastName
  ($mask(DeptNum,”?epartment Number ??”))

Displays values of DeptNum, such as “D09”, as “Department Number 09”, instead of “D09”.


list all Employees format FirstName LastName

Displays all values of Salary with a floating dollar sign.


$mask ($date, “MM-DD-YY”)

Evaluates to “08-18-98” if $Date is 19980818.


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