Typically, variables that are used to hold values from tables in a database are declared in SPL programs. To ensure compatibility between the table columns and the SPL variables, the data types of the columns and variables must be the same.

However, as quite often happens, a change might be made to the table definition. If the data type of the column is changed, the corresponding change may be required to the variable in the SPL program.

Instead of coding the specific column data type into the variable declaration, the %TYPE column attribute can be used. A qualified column name in dot notation or the name of a previously declared variable must be specified as a prefix to %TYPE. The data type of the column or variable prefixed to %TYPE is assigned to the variable being declared. If the data type of the given column or variable changes, the new data type will be associated with the variable without the need to modify the declaration code.

Note The %TYPE attribute can also be used with formal parameter declarations.
name { { table | view }.column | variable }%TYPE;

name is the identifier assigned to the variable or formal parameter that is being declared. column is the name of a column in table or view. variable is the name of a variable that was declared prior to the variable identified by name.

Note The variable does not inherit any other attributes of the column such as the attributes that might be specified on the column by using the NOT NULL clause or the DEFAULT clause.

In the following example, a procedure queries the emp table by using an employee number, displays data about the employee, finds the average salary of all employees in the department to which the employee belongs, and then compares the salary of the chosen employee with the department average.

CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE emp_sal_query (
    p_empno         IN NUMBER
)
IS
    v_ename         VARCHAR2(10);
    v_job           VARCHAR2(9);
    v_hiredate      DATE;
    v_sal           NUMBER(7,2);
    v_deptno        NUMBER(2);
    v_avgsal        NUMBER(7,2);
BEGIN
    SELECT ename, job, hiredate, sal, deptno
        INTO v_ename, v_job, v_hiredate, v_sal, v_deptno
        FROM emp WHERE empno = p_empno;
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee # : ' || p_empno);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Name       : ' || v_ename);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Job        : ' || v_job);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Hire Date  : ' || v_hiredate);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Salary     : ' || v_sal);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Dept #     : ' || v_deptno);

    SELECT AVG(sal) INTO v_avgsal
        FROM emp WHERE deptno = v_deptno;
    IF v_sal > v_avgsal THEN
        DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee''s salary is more than the '
            || 'department average of ' || v_avgsal);
    ELSE
        DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee''s salary does not exceed the '
            || 'department average of ' || v_avgsal);
    END IF;
END;

Instead of the above, you can write the procedure as follows without explicitly coding the emp table data types into the declaration section of the procedure.

CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE emp_sal_query (
    p_empno         IN emp.empno%TYPE
)
IS
    v_ename         emp.ename%TYPE;
    v_job           emp.job%TYPE;
    v_hiredate      emp.hiredate%TYPE;
    v_sal           emp.sal%TYPE;
    v_deptno        emp.deptno%TYPE;
    v_avgsal        v_sal%TYPE;
BEGIN
    SELECT ename, job, hiredate, sal, deptno
        INTO v_ename, v_job, v_hiredate, v_sal, v_deptno
        FROM emp WHERE empno = p_empno;
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee # : ' || p_empno);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Name       : ' || v_ename);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Job        : ' || v_job);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Hire Date  : ' || v_hiredate);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Salary     : ' || v_sal);
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Dept #     : ' || v_deptno);

    SELECT AVG(sal) INTO v_avgsal
        FROM emp WHERE deptno = v_deptno;
    IF v_sal > v_avgsal THEN
        DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee''s salary is more than the '
            || 'department average of ' || v_avgsal);
    ELSE
        DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('Employee''s salary does not exceed the '
            || 'department average of ' || v_avgsal);
    END IF;
END;
Note p_empno shows an example of a formal parameter defined using %TYPE.

v_avgsal illustrates the usage of %TYPE referring to another variable instead of a table column.

The following example shows the sample output from executing this procedure:

EXEC emp_sal_query(7698);

Employee # : 7698
Name       : BLAKE
Job        : MANAGER
Hire Date  : 01-MAY-81 00:00:00
Salary     : 2850.00
Dept #     : 30
Employee's salary is more than the department average of 1566.67