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sql_cond - LIKE

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54


... operand1 [NOT] LIKE operand2 [ESCAPE esc] ... 


... ESCAPE esc


This relational expression is true if the value of the operand operand1 matches (does not match) the pattern in the operand operand2.

  • The following applies to operand1:
  • The data type of can be one of the dictionary types CHAR, NUMC, CLNT, LANG, DATS, TIMS, ACCP, CUKY, UNIT, or SSTRING.
  • The following applies to operand2:
  • Any trailing blanks are ignored by the pattern, even in the data type string.
  • The content can be a maximum of twice the number of characters in the length of operand1, but no more than 1333 characters. Character literals and constants, however, respect any trailing blanks and a syntax error occurs if this rule is broken. All other data objects ignore any trailing blanks and a runtime error occurs if this rule is broken.
  • The content must match the data type of operand1 in accordance with the rules for lossless assignments. This is checked by the strict modes of the syntax check from Release 7.40, SP08 and can raise an exception .

A pattern in operand2 is defined using the following wildcard characters:

  • "%" is any character string (including an empty string)
  • "_” stands for any character.

The pattern is case-sensitive. If the pattern in operand2 consists of precisely one "%" character, the evaluation of the condition in the database interface is optimized so that the condition is not passed to the database and that, instead, operand1 LIKE '%' is always true regardless of the content of operand1 and operand1 NOT LIKE '%' is always false.


  • The wildcard characters "_" and "%" are used as in standard SQL. Elsewhere in ABAP, the wildcard characters "+" and "*" are used in similar relational expressions, in particular when ranges table are used.

  • It is not usually practical to define patterns in operand2 without wildcard characters. Instead, it is best to perform a comparison using =.

  • Do not use patterns that are closed by wildcard characters to search for trailing blanks. The semantics of searches of this type are dependent on the database system that is used and in general do not produce the required result.

  • Due to ABAP SQL-specific optimization, operand1 LIKE '%' is also true if the operand operand1 contains null values.

  • The trailing blanks in operand2 can also be ignored for the data type string, which is a different property from all other operand positions in ABAP.

  • The special character-like types n, d, and t cannot be used on the right side, since the wildcard characters "_" and "%" required for patterns are invalid content for these types.

  • The maximum number of characters on the right side is twice the maximum in operand1 because, in theory, each character can be prefixed with an escape character defined using ESCAPE.


Full text search in a table with text columns.

DATA srch_str TYPE string. 
cl_demo_input=>request( CHANGING field = srch_str ). 

IF srch_str IS INITIAL. 

srch_str = '%' && srch_str && '%'. 

       FROM doktl 
       WHERE id      = 'SD'      AND 
             object  LIKE 'AB%'  AND 
             langu   = @sy-langu AND 
             typ     = 'E'       AND 
             doktext LIKE @srch_str 
       INTO TABLE @DATA(text_tab) 
       UP TO 100 ROWS. 

IF sy-subrc = 0. 
  cl_demo_output=>display( text_tab ). 


Pattern synchronization for a numeric column of the table DEMO_EXPRESSIONS. A CAST expression is used here to create the required character-like data type.

DELETE FROM demo_expressions. 
INSERT demo_expressions FROM TABLE @( 
  VALUE #( ( id = 'X' num1 = 111 ) 
           ( id = 'Y' num1 = 222 ) 
           ( id = 'Z' num1 = 333 ) ) ). 

SELECT FROM demo_expressions 
       FIELDS id, num1 
       WHERE CAST( num1 AS CHAR ) LIKE '2%' 
       INTO TABLE @DATA(result). 

cl_demo_output=>display( result ). 


... ESCAPE esc.


The addition ESCAPE can be used to define a single-character escape character. esc expects a flat character-like data object with the length 1 containing the escape character. A literal or a host variable can be specified. In the pattern in operand2, the escape character in esc may only be placed before a wildcard character or before the escape character itself. In this case, these lose their special meaning.

If an escape character in operand2 is not placed in front of a valid character, an exception of the class CX_SY_OPEN_SQL_DB is raised.


  • The character # is recommended for the escape character esc.

  • One of the wildcard characters "_" and "%" can be specified as an escape character esc, but is not recommended for reasons of readability.

  • If the pattern in operand2 is created dynamically or comes from outside of the program, care must be taken that any escape characters it contains are not placed in front of characters other than "_", "%", or the escape character itself. To prevent an exception, escape characters that are part of the patter must be escaped using themselves before being used.


To search for the pattern '100%', the following expression can be used with # as the escape character.

... LIKE '100#%' ESCAPE '#' ...