Describe a global or structure‑specific format

FORMAT name TYPE type "string" [JUSTIFY just]



The name of a new or existing format. This name can have a maximum of 30 characters.

TYPE type

Indicates the format type. Valid values are ALPHA and NUMERIC.


The format string, which must be enclosed in double or single quotation marks ( “ ” or ‘ ’ ). For alpha formats, an “at” sign (@) stands for an alphanumeric character. For numeric formats, Synergy DBL data formatting characters are used to represent the data. Refer to Appendix D for a list of valid formatting characters. Any other characters (such as dashes, backslashes, and so forth) appear wherever they are placed in the format. The maximum length of a format string is 30 characters.


(optional) The justification type. This affects how the format is truncated before being applied to a field. Valid values are NONE (default), LEFT, and RIGHT.


The FORMAT statement is used to describe a global or structure‑specific format. If no structures have previously been defined, this format is stored as a global format. Otherwise, it is associated with the most recently defined structure.

Global formats must be defined before any templates or structures that reference them. Structure‑specific formats must be defined after the STRUCTURE statement and before any fields.

Adding new definitions

If name is a global format, the name must be unique within the entire repository. If name is a structure‑specific format, the name must be unique for the current structure.

The maximum number of global formats that can be defined is 9,999. The maximum number of structure‑specific (local) formats that can be defined in one structure is 250.

Replacing existing definitions

All required keywords and data must be specified. The existing format is cleared and set to the specified attributes.

Overlaying existing definitions

All required keywords and data must be respecified because “string” is position‑dependent. The current format attributes are overwritten with any new attributes that are specified.


FORMAT dig3num TYPE numeric "ZZZ"
FORMAT dig8mony TYPE numeric "ZZZ,ZZZ.ZZZ" JUSTIFY right

FORMAT license_num TYPE alpha "@@@@-@@"