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Dates in SQL*Plus: queries vs. display

The default display format of SQL*PLUS is DD-MON-YY, but the following statement retrieves nothing:

 
SQL> select ename,hiredate from emp where hiredate = '23-JAN-82';
no rows selected
The following works properly:
SQL> select ename,hiredate from emp where hiredate = '23-JAN-1982';
 
ENAME      HIREDATE
---------- ---------
MILLER     23-JAN-82
What causes that result?

The problem lies in the fact that how Oracle handles dates in your query is different than how SQL*Plus displays the date on the screen. Your second query worked just fine. You can determine what your date format is for your session by typing the following at the SQL*Plus prompt, "show parameter nls_date_format". The NLS_DATE_FORMAT parameter value shown is the database default. Looking at your second query, I'd bet that your NLS_DATE_FORMAT is 'DD-MON-YYYY' or 'DD-MON-RRRR'. You can change this format for your session with the ALTER SESSION SET NLS_DATE_FORMAT='format_mask' command. To change how SQL*Plus displays the date output, you'll need to convert the column with the TO_CHAR function.

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