Handling apostrophe characters in a textbox when the text becomes a value in a SQL string

Posted on 2002-03-04
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a VB6 app which uses ADO to interact with an Access database. One of the forms in the app is for data-entry, transcribing scores and comments from an evaluation form and entering the form values as a new record in a table. Here's the problem: the comments go into textboxes and then the textbox's text becomes part of a SQL insertion string, which inserts the text into a memo field in the record, but if there is any punctuation involving an apostrophe, it wrecks the SQL string and I get a run-time error saying my query expression has a missing operator. How do I get around this? The SQL string looks like this:

  'build sql string from form field values
  strSQL = _
    "INSERT INTO DailyShiftReports(EmployeeName, ReportDate, " & _
    "Captain, Sect, OpeningDutiesScore, OpeningDutiesComments, " & _
    "TableMaintenanceScore, TableMaintenanceComments, TeamworkScore, " & _
    "TeamworkComments, TablesideMannerScore, TablesideMannerComments, " & _
    "BooksPOSScore, BooksPOSComments, CompletedFocus, SessionNotes, TotalScore)" & _
    "VALUES('" & cboEmployeeMaster(0).Text & "', '" & strReportDate & "', '" & _
    cboCaptain.Text & "', '" & cboSection.Text & "', '" & _
    txtOpeningDutiesScore.Text & "', '" & txtOpeningDutiesComments.Text & "', '" & _
    txtTableMaintScore.Text & "', '" & txtTableMaintComments.Text & "', '" & _
    txtTeamworkScore.Text & "', '" & txtTeamworkComments.Text & "', '" & _
    txtTablesideScore.Text & "', '" & txtTablesideComments.Text & "', '" & _
    txtPOSScore.Text & "', '" & txtPOSComments.Text & "', '" & _
    chkCompletedFocus.Value & "', '" & txtSessionNotes.Text & "', '" & _
    txtTotalScore.Text & "')"
Question by:bob_aloo
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LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:Anthony Perkins
ID: 6840879
Add the following line after the SQL is assigned:
strSQL = Replace(strSQL, "'", "''")

In other words, replace a single apostrophe with two single apostrophes.

LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Ryan Chong
ID: 6840886
Hi bob_aloo,

Try to replace the apostrophe characters with Replace function in VB:


A = "'3424'TT33"
A = Replace$(A,"'","''")

Is this helping?
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Ryan Chong
ID: 6840888
sorry as didn't realize Anthony's post while i'm open this question..
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Expert Comment

ID: 6841069
don't forget to strip off the double apostrophes when you are reading the string back.
to do that, just get the string and do a replace on the doubles to a single.

replace(strBlah, "''", "'")

Accepted Solution

Z_Beeblebrox earned 50 total points
ID: 6841559

Just to explain what is going on here, if you have


everything works great. If however there is an apostrophe in the string, then it fails, since SQL thinks the string is ab, and that the c' don't make any sense:


If you double up the apostrophe in the string, then SQL will see it as 1 apostrophe inside the string

SELECT * FROM TABLE WHERE Field1 = 'ab''c'

When you do an insert with doubled up apostrophes, it will only put one apostrophe in the DB, so when you query data back out, it will be exactly as you want it.

Be careful with acperkins' solution, I think it is doubling up too many apostrophes, ie it is doubling up the ones used to delimit the string, which will totally confuse SQL, you need to do a replace on every single field.

LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:Anthony Perkins
ID: 6842146
>> Be careful with acperkins' solution, I think it is doubling up too many apostrophes, ie it is doubling
up the ones used to delimit the string, which will totally confuse SQL, you need to do a replace on
every single field.<<

Point well made.


Expert Comment

ID: 6842195
like  Z_Beeblebrox said acperkins' solution, I think it is doubling up too many apostrophes

you need the replace for every value you can have a single quote

  "VALUES('" & replace(cboEmployeeMaster(0).Text,"'","''") & "', '" & strReportDate & "', '" & _
   replace(cboCaptain.Text,"'","''" & "', '" & replace(cboSection.Text,"'","''" ......

you get the idea

Author Comment

ID: 6842556
Thanks for all the help folks. I considered all points made, then realized that I did indeed need to be very careful about wrecking other delimiters. So I wrote a function to call just before building the SQL string which now handles things perfectly.

Private Sub FixPunctuation()
  Dim objControl As Control
  For Each objControl In Me.Controls
    If objControl.Name Like "*Comments" Or _
      objControl.Name Like "*Notes" Then
      objControl.Text = Replace(objControl.Text, "'", "''")
    End If
End Sub

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