troubleshooting Question

Odd Define of Table Column Includes CHAR in Column Length

Avatar of Julie Kurpa
Julie KurpaFlag for United States of America asked on
Oracle Database
17 Comments2 Solutions87 ViewsLast Modified:
We have an Oracle 11g database.

Recently a vendor altered a column this way:

ALTER TABLE myTable MODIFY myColumn varchar2(12 char);

I don't know what the column looked like before but when you describe the table it looks like this for that column:

Name                 Type
-----------------      -----------------------------
myColumn       VARCHAR2(12 CHAR)

In looking at the dba_tab_columns table, the column shows this way:

table_name    column_name    data_type     data_length
-------------         -----------------        ----------------   ---
myTable          myColumn          VARCHAR2   12

Google searches show others have done this but I haven't found an explanation on WHY?  
Can anyone explain why you would want to specify "CHAR" in the length of a column?

Thank you.
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