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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 


Quick Reference

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54


WRITE {source|(source_name)} TO destination 


The statement WRITE TO prepares the content of a source either using

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

The source field can be specified either statically or dynamically:

  • source
If static, the field is specified directly as source. source is a general expression position with the restriction that no numeric literals, arithmetic expressions, or bit expressions can be specified directly.
  • source_name
If dynamic, the field is specified as the content of a parenthesized flat character-like data object source_name, which must contain the name of the data object in question (non-case-sensitive). 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. The following can be specified for source_name:
  • Literal or constant

    If the data object source_name is specified as a text field literal or as a constant, it can be evaluated statically and the specified data object is identified as the used object.
  • Variable

    If the data object source_name is specified as a variable, it is specified only dynamically and the content is not evaluated statically.
When the statement is executed, name is not evaluated until runtime (in both cases).

Only the data types grouped together under the simple generic type can be used as source fields.

  • All flat data types; flat structures are handled like a data object of type c and can only contain any character-like components.
  • The data types STRING and XSTRING

The target field destination must be character-like and flat‎.

  • 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.

System Fields

sy-subrc Meaning
0 (means: 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.


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. 


Handleable Exceptions

If one of the following handleable exceptions is raised in the output of a decimal floating point number, the target field or output of the statement WRITE is filled using asterisks ("*").


  • 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-Handleable 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
    Runtime error: WRITE_UNIT_ILLEGAL_TYPE
  • Cause: Incomplete rules for a time zone when using the addition TIME ZONE


WRITE - Predefined Formats

WRITE - format_options

WRITE - Cutoff Behavior