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Oracle® Database SQL Language Reference
11g Release 1 (11.1)

Part Number B28286-01
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Description of nvl.gif follows
Description of the illustration nvl.gif


NVL lets you replace null (returned as a blank) with a string in the results of a query. If expr1 is null, then NVL returns expr2. If expr1 is not null, then NVL returns expr1.

The arguments expr1 and expr2 can have any datatype. If their datatypes are different, then Oracle Database implicitly converts one to the other. If they are cannot be converted implicitly, the database returns an error. The implicit conversion is implemented as follows:


The following example returns a list of employee names and commissions, substituting "Not Applicable" if the employee receives no commission:

SELECT last_name, NVL(TO_CHAR(commission_pct), 'Not Applicable')
   "COMMISSION" FROM employees
   WHERE last_name LIKE 'B%'
   ORDER BY last_name;
LAST_NAME                 COMMISSION
------------------------- ----------------------------------------
Baer                      Not Applicable
Baida                     Not Applicable
Banda                     .1
Bates                     .15
Bell                      Not Applicable
Bernstein                 .25
Bissot                    Not Applicable
Bloom                     .2
Bull                      Not Applicable