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SQL Anywhere 11.0.1 » SQL Anywhere Server - Database Administration » Configuring Your Database » Database options » Introduction to database options » Alphabetical list of options


ansi_substring option [compatibility]

Controls the behavior of the SUBSTRING (SUBSTR) function when negative values are provided for the start or length parameters.

Allowed values

Off, On




Can be set for an individual connection or for the PUBLIC group. Takes effect immediately.


When the ansi_substring option is set to On, the behavior of the SUBSTRING function corresponds to ANSI/ISO SQL/2003 behavior. A negative or zero start offset is treated as if the string were padded on the left with non-characters, and gives an error if a negative length is provided.

When this option is set to Off, the behavior of the SUBSTRING function is the same as in previous releases of SQL Anywhere: a negative start offset means an offset from the end of the string, and a negative length means the desired substring ends length characters to the left of the starting offset. Also, using a start offset of 0 is equivalent to a start offset of 1.

The setting of this option does not affect the behavior of the BYTE_SUBSTR function. It is recommended that you avoid using non-positive start offsets or negative lengths with the SUBSTRING function. Where possible, use the LEFT or RIGHT functions instead.

See also

The following examples show the difference in the values returned by the SUBSTRING function based on the setting of the ansi_substring option.

SUBSTRING( 'abcdefgh',-2,4 );
  ansi_substring = Off ==> 'gh' // substring starts at second-last character
  ansi_substring = On  ==> 'a'  // takes the first 4 characters of 
                                // ???abcdefgh and discards all ?
SUBSTRING( 'abcdefgh',4,-2 );
  ansi_substring = Off ==> 'cd'
  ansi_substring = On  ==> value -2 out of range for destination

SUBSTRING( 'abcdefgh',0,4 );
  ansi_substring = Off ==> 'abcd'
  ansi_substring = On  ==> 'abc'