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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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2.1.2.6 Numeric Constants

Numeric constants are accepted in these general forms:

digits
digits.[digits][e[+-]digits]
[digits].digits[e[+-]digits]
digitse[+-]digits

where digits is one or more decimal digits (0 through 9). At least one digit must be before or after the decimal point, if one is used. At least one digit must follow the exponent marker (e), if one is present. There cannot be any spaces or other characters embedded in the constant. Note that any leading plus or minus sign is not actually considered part of the constant; it is an operator applied to the constant.

These are some examples of valid numeric constants:

42
3.5
4.
.001
5e2
1.925e-3

A numeric constant that contains neither a decimal point nor an exponent is initially presumed to be type integer if its value fits in type integer (32 bits); otherwise it is presumed to be type bigint if its value fits in type bigint (64 bits); otherwise it is taken to be type numeric. Constants that contain decimal points and/or exponents are always initially presumed to be type numeric.

The initially assigned data type of a numeric constant is just a starting point for the type resolution algorithms. In most cases the constant will be automatically coerced to the most appropriate type depending on context. When necessary, you can force a numeric value to be interpreted as a specific data type by casting it. For example, you can force a numeric value to be treated as type real (float4) by writing:

REAL '1.23'  -- string style
1.23::REAL   -- PostgreSQL (historical) style

These are actually just special cases of the general casting notations discussed next.

ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition