Data type synonyms (Transact-SQL)

Applies to: SQL Server Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance Azure Synapse Analytics Analytics Platform System (PDW) Warehouse in Microsoft Fabric

Data type synonyms are included in SQL Server for ISO compatibility. The following table lists the synonyms and the SQL Server system data types that they map to.

Synonym SQL Server system data type
binary varying varbinary
char varying varchar
character char
character char(1)
character(n) char(n)
character varying(n) varchar(n)
dec decimal
double precision float
float[(n)] for n = 1-7 real
float[(n)] for n = 8-15 float
integer int
national character(n) nchar(n)
national char(n) nchar(n)
national character varying(n) nvarchar(n)
national char varying(n) nvarchar(n)
national text ntext
rowversion timestamp

Data type synonyms can be used instead of the corresponding base data type name in data definition language (DDL) statements. These statements include CREATE TABLE, CREATE PROCEDURE, and DECLARE @variable. However, after the object is created, the synonyms have no visibility. When the object is created, the object is assigned the base data type that is associated with the synonym. There's no record that the synonym was specified in the statement that created the object.

Objects that are derived from the original object, such as result set columns or expressions, are assigned the base data type. Any metadata functions that use the original object or any derived objects will report the base data type, not the synonym, including:

  • Metadata operations, such as sp_help and other system stored procedures,
  • Information schema views, and
  • Data access API metadata operations that report the data types of table or result set columns.

For example, you can create a table by specifying national character varying:

CREATE TABLE ExampleTable (PriKey int PRIMARY KEY, VarCharCol national character varying(10))  

VarCharCol is assigned an nvarchar(10) data type, and all following metadata functions will report the column as an nvarchar(10) column. The metadata functions will never report them as a national character varying(10) column.

See also

Data Types (Transact-SQL)