Is a variable-length string datatype, with precision being the maximum character length.


VARCHAR [( precision )]


The range of precision is 1 to 8000.

The storage size of a varchar data is not affected by the value of precision. Only the actual size of the data consumes memory or disk space.


All varchar objects (variables, columns, literal strings) have a collation attribute. By default, it is the server default collation, unless overriden by a specific COLLATE clause.

The varchar datatype can hold any unicode character, as it is internally encoded as utf-8.

Literal Varchar String

A literal varchar string is a string enclosed by single quotes. It is of type varchar, not char.

If the string contains a single quote, it must be represented as two single quotes.

If the option QUOTED_IDENTIFIER is OFF, the string can also be enclosed by double quotes.

''                    -- empty string
'Hello World'
"O'Hara"              -- allowed if option QUOTED_IDENTIFIER is OFF

N'Hello'              -- MS SQL Server uses the prefix 'N' for unicode strings. RSQL ignores it.

e'H\u00e9l\u00e8ne'   -- RSQL syntax, allowing use of \uxxxx, \Uxxxxxxxx, \n, \r, \t

The prefix N is only used by MS SQL Server for unicode strings. RSQL just ignores it, as all strings are unicode.

The prefix e is only used by RSQL. The string can contain \uxxxx, \Uxxxxxxxx, \n, \r, \t escape sequences.
\uxxxx and \Uxxxxxxxx are unicode point, with x being hexadecimal digits.

It is possible to write a long string on multiple lines for readability, by putting a backslash \ at the end of the line:

PRINT 'This is a very \
long line';


DECLARE @a VARCHAR(100) = 'Hello';
DECLARE @c VARCHAR;      -- default precision is 1

SET @b = 'O''Hara';
SET @c = 'x';

PRINT @a + ' ' + @b + ' ' + @c;

SET @c = 'World';  -- the assignment SILENTLY TRUNCATES the literal string, as precision of @c is 1

SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER OFF;    -- allow double-quotes around string literals
PRINT 'Goodbye';
PRINT "Goodbye";
PRINT e'H\u00e9l\u00e8ne';    -- RSQL syntax

-- if precision is omitted in a CAST, the default precision is 30
PRINT CAST('abcdefghijABCDEFGHIJabcdefghijXYZ' AS VARCHAR); -- default precision is 30

The result is:

Hello O'Hara x
abcdefghijABCDEFGHIJabcdefghij      <--- truncated to 30 bytes
RSQL, a simple alternative to Microsoft SQL Server