SQL - How to convert varchar(255) to int

Posted on 2013-05-21
Last Modified: 2013-05-21

I have a parameter @p1 = '1,2,3,4'
and I want to convert it to an int, so that I can query :

where PersonID in (@p1).

I tried :

where PersonID in cast(@p1  as int), but I get the following error:

"Conversion failed when converting the varchar value '1,2,3,4' to data type int."

Can anyone help me fix this?
Question by:Jasmin01

Expert Comment

ID: 39183691

Expert Comment

by:Ross Turner
ID: 39183695
if you want to convert it into a int remove the commas.
but you will get 1234 if that what you are after

Cast(replace(@p1,',','') as int)
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 39183703
Hi Jasmin01,

this happens because you are trying to cast into a single int value the whole varchar '1,2,3,4'. What you would want to do is to actually "split" those values or use a whole different structure in your parameter.

There are many solutions depending on your SQL Server version which I invite you to read through:

Good luck!
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Accepted Solution

Ross Turner earned 500 total points
ID: 39183709
Using mimran18 suggestion i knocked up this example for you, i got the wrong end of the stick apparently i need more coffee!3/17b13/1


INSERT INTO #temptable


SET @WhereClause = '1,2,3,4'
SET @Xml = cast(('<A>' + replace(@WhereClause, ',', '</A><A>') + '</A>') AS XML)

FROM #TempTable
WHERE #TempTable.ID IN (
		SELECT A.value('.', 'varchar(max)') AS [Column]
		FROM @Xml.nodes('A') AS FN(A)

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Author Closing Comment

ID: 39183713
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 39183722
The basic issue here is you can't just convert that parameter to int (and get the wanted results that is). Your parameter is a string that just happens to look like a set of integers separated by commas: '1,2,3,4,5' ; but it is still ONE STRING of characters.

if you are evaluating an integer field against this string via IN(), you not only need to convert to int, but you also need to divide the ONE STRING into MANY INT values, hence you must apply a technique such as the ones in the above URL. e.g. using the XML approach:
DECLARE @p1 varchar(max)
declare @Splitter char(1)
SET @Splitter = ','

SET @p1 = '2,3,4,5'

SplitPersons AS(
  SELECT CAST('<v>' + REPLACE(@p1, @Splitter, '</v><v>') + '</v>' AS XML) AS Split
persons as (
  select 1 as personID, 11 as whatever union all
  select 2 as personID, 22 as whatever union all
  select 3 as personID, 33 as whatever union all
  select 4 as personID, 44 as whatever union all
  select 5 as personID, 55 as whatever union all
  select 6 as personID, 66 as whatever union all
  select 7 as personID, 77 as whatever union all
  select 8 as personID, 88 as whatever union all
  select 9 as personID, 99 as whatever 
from persons
where (@p1 is null
       personID IN (
                            SELECT cast(x.v.value('.', 'bigint') as bigint) AS Value
                            FROM SplitPersons
                            CROSS APPLY Split.nodes('//v') x(v)

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This assumes those parameters will only every carry digits and the delimiter (comma). i.e. if you put bad characters into the parameters the query would fail and don't use a delimiter that would "disturb XML" like a > or < (not that you are likely to).

You should also take care that your parameters should not start with a comma.

I think its also worth mentioning that this xml based approach is also based on the assumption you are not selecting thousands of items, instead I hope you are likely to be selecting a relatively small number of these. Please test against the largest likely selections of these to ensure performance is acceptable.

These are useful references if you need more information or want to explore this parameter issue more deeply:

an often cited reference on this split string topic:

useful introduction to the background of this issue, and some alternative methods for handling it

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