LTRIM (Transact-SQL)

Applies to: SQL Server (all supported versions) Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance Azure Synapse Analytics Analytics Platform System (PDW)

Returns a character string after truncating all leading spaces.

Removes space character char(32) or other specified characters from the start of a string.

Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions

Syntax

LTRIM ( character_expression )

Syntax for SQL Server 2022 (16.x) and later:

Important

You will need your database compatibility level set to 160 to use the optional characters argument.

LTRIM ( character_expression , [ characters ] )

Syntax for Azure SQL Database:

LTRIM ( character_expression )

Note

To view Transact-SQL syntax for SQL Server 2014 and earlier, see Previous versions documentation.

Arguments

character_expression

An expression of character or binary data. character_expression can be a constant, variable, or column. character_expression must be of a data type, except text, ntext, and image, that is implicitly convertible to varchar. Otherwise, use CAST to explicitly convert character_expression.

characters

Applies to: SQL Server 2022 (16.x) and later.

A literal, variable, or function call of any non-LOB character type (nvarchar, varchar, nchar, or char) containing characters that should be removed. nvarchar(max) and varchar(max) types aren't allowed.

Return types

varchar or nvarchar

Returns a character expression with a type of string argument where the space character char(32) or other specified characters are removed from the beginning of a character_expression. Returns NULL if input string is NULL.

Remarks

To enable the optional characters positional argument, enable database compatibility level 160 on the database(s) that you are connecting to when executing queries.

Examples

A. Remove leading spaces

The following example uses LTRIM to remove leading spaces from a character expression.

SELECT LTRIM('     Five spaces are at the beginning of this string.');

Here is the result set.

---------------------------------------------------------------  
  Five spaces are at the beginning of this string.

B: Remove leading spaces using a variable

The following example uses LTRIM to remove leading spaces from a character variable.

DECLARE @string_to_trim VARCHAR(60);  
SET @string_to_trim = '     Five spaces are at the beginning of this string.';  
SELECT  
    @string_to_trim AS 'Original string',
    LTRIM(@string_to_trim) AS 'Without spaces';  
GO

Here is the result set.

Original string	                                        Without spaces
-----------------------------------------------------   ---------------------------------------------
     Five spaces are at the beginning of this string.	Five spaces are at the beginning of this string.

C. Remove specified characters from the beginning of a string

Important

You will need your database compatibility level set to 160 to use the optional characters argument.

The following example removes the characters 123 from the beginning of the 123abc. string.

SELECT LTRIM('123abc.' , '123.');

Here is the result set.

abc.

See also