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ABAP Keyword Documentation →  ABAP - Reference →  Processing Internal Data →  Character String and Byte String Processing →  Statements for Character String and Byte String Processing 


Short Reference

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54


WRITE {source|(source_name)} TO destination 


The statement WRITE TO formats the content of source or of the source field specified in source_name using either

as a character string and assigns the formatted content to the character-like data object destination.

source is a general expression position with the restriction that no numeric literals, arithmetic expressions, or bit expressions can be specified directly.

All flat data types and the data types string and xstring are allowed for source; structures are handled as data objects of type c and must be character-like only. Only the data types grouped together under the simple generic type can be used. The data object source can be specified using either a field symbol or a dereferenced data reference.

The data objects source_name and destination must be character-like and have a fixed length (flat data type).

  • If the length of the target field destination is less than the length of the data object format either predefined or specified using format_options, the output (when formatted and assigned) is shortened in accordance with a type-specific cutoff behavior
  • If the available length exceeds the length required for formatting, the system places the result in the target field based on the predefined or self-defined alignment and fills the non-required space with blanks.

source_name can contain the name of the data object to be assigned in uppercase or lowercase. If the data object specified in source_name does not exist, no assignment takes place and sy-subrc is set to 4. When evaluating source_name, the same applies as to a dynamically specified (name) in the statement ASSIGN.

System Fields

sy-subrc Meaning
0 The data object specified in source_name was found and the assignment was performed.
4 The data object specified in source_name could not be found and the assignment was not performed.

If the static source is specified, sy-subrc is not set.


  • Although the statement WRITE TO does not send any data to an output medium, the system may execute a conversion routine.
  • The statement WRITE TO is primarily designed for formatting data for output purposes but not for further internal processing. For example, a field can no longer be handled as a numeric data object if the decimal separator is displayed as a comma.
  • No numeric literals can be specified between WRITE and TO. This is because, in this case, the statement cannot be distinguished from a WRITE statement with a specified position.
  • Use of the WRITE TO statement can be replaced in most cases by embedded expressions in string templates of string expressions.
  • It is possible to use string templates as source fields for the statement WRITE TO, but this is not usually recommended since both WRITE TO and string templates are used to format data and only a single method should be used. It is best to use string templates only.
  • In obsolete non-Unicode programs, a flat structure source does not need to be character-like only.
  • If destination is specified as an untyped field symbol or as an untyped formal parameter and is not flat and character-like when the statement is executed, an exception is raised only in deep types in obsolete non-Unicode programs. Flat types, on the other hand, are handled like character-like types.


After the assignment, the variables date_short and date_long contain the current local date in the order specified in the user master record. The variable date_long contains the separators defined there. The variable date_short does not contain any separators since their length is not sufficient. The content of the variable date_mask is formatted according to the formatting addition DD/MM/YY, for which their length is sufficient.

DATA: date_long  TYPE c LENGTH 10, 
      date_short TYPE c LENGTH 8, 
      date_mask  TYPE c LENGTH 8. 

WRITE sy-datlo TO: date_short, 
                   date_mask DD/MM/YY. 


Catchable Exceptions


  • Cause: Incorrect output format for decimal floating point numbers with the STYLE addition.
    Runtime Error: WRITE_INVALID_STYLE


  • Cause: Invalid format of the source field in the output of a decimal floating point number.
    Runtime Error: CONVT_NO_NUMBER


  • Cause: Target field is too short to display a decimal floating point number.
    Runtime Error: CONVT_OVERFLOW

Non-Catchable Exceptions

  • Cause: Negative length specified when offset/length is specified.
  • Cause: Negative offset specified when offset/length is specified.
  • Cause: Offset specified when offset/length is specified is greater than the field length.
  • Cause: CURRENCY parameter in WRITE does not have type c
  • Cause: Rounding parameter less than -14
    Runtime Error: WRITE_ROUND_TOO_SMALL
  • Cause: UNIT parameter in WRITE does not have type c
  • Cause: Incomplete rules for a time zone when using the addition TIME ZONE


WRITE - Predefined Formats

WRITE - format_options

WRITE - Cutoff Behavior