Mon, Apr
7 New Articles

Programming in ILE RPG - Creating and Using Files: Output Editing

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Output editing refers to formatting output values by suppressing leading zeros and adding special characters—such as decimal radix characters, thousands separators, and currency symbols—to make the values easier for people looking at the output to comprehend

Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from chapter 3 of Programming in ILE RPG, Fifth Edition.

Output editing refers to formatting output values by suppressing leading zeros and adding special characters—such as decimal radix characters, thousands separators, and currency symbols—to make the values easier for people looking at the output to comprehend. RPG and DDS allow you to edit numeric fields (but not character fields). Editing is used in part because of the way numbers are stored in the computer. For example, if Amount, a six-byte field with two decimal positions, is assigned the value 31.24, the computer stores that value as 003124. Although the computer keeps track of the decimal position, a radix character is not actually stored as part of the numeric value. If you print Amount without editing, the number prints as 003124—the nonsignificant zeros appears, and there is no indication of where the decimal should be.

Edit Codes

To make it easier to specify the most commonly desired kinds of editing, DDS includes several built-in edit codes you can use to indicate how you want to print a field’s value. You associate an edit code with a field by entering the code in parentheses immediately following the EDTCDE keyword at the field level for each field you want to edit. All commonly used edit codes automatically result in zero suppression (i.e., printing blanks in place of nonsignificant leading zeros) because that is a standard desired format.

Some editing decisions vary with the application. Do you want numbers to print with thousands separators (e.g., commas) inserted? How do you want to handle negative values— ignore them and omit any sign, print CR immediately after a negative value, print a minus sign (-) after the value, or print a floating negative sign to the left of the value? And when a field has a value of zero, do you want to print zeros or leave that spot on the report blank? A set of 16 edit codes (1 through 4, A through D, and J through Q) cover all combinations of these three options. The table in Figure 1 details the effects of the 16 edit codes. Thus, if you want commas, zero balances to print, and a floating negative sign, you use edit code N. If you do not want commas or a sign but do want zero balances to print, use edit code 3.

Programming in ILE RPG - Creating and Using Files: Output Editing - Figure 1

Figure 3.12: Edit codes

DDS provides four additional useful edit codes: W, X, Y, and Z. Edit codes W and Y result in slashes being printed as part of a number representing a date. Using edit code Y renders the value 12252015 as 12/25/2015, and the value 122515 prints as 12/25/15. Edit code W prints 20151225 as 2015/12/25, and 151225 displays as 15/12/25. Although edit codes W and Y are normally used to edit dates, you can also use them with any field for which slash insertion is appropriate.

Edit code Z simply zero-suppresses leading nonsignificant zeros. Z does not enable the printing of a decimal point or a negative sign. So if a field contains a value of -234.56, the Z edit code causes the field to print as 23456. The use of Z is usually limited to whole number fields.

With one exception, all the edit codes suppress leading zeros. Edit code X, however, retains them. For this reason, the X edit code is useful when you want to convert a numeric value to a character string and retain the leading zeros.

You can include a floating currency symbol immediately to the left of a numeric value if you are using an edit code (except for W–Z). For example, specifying EDTCDE(J '$') prints a number as $12,345.67. Or, you can specify asterisk fill to print an asterisk in place of each suppressed zero; for example, EDTCDE(J *) might print ***12,345.67.

Edit Words

Given the variety of edit codes built into DDS, you might expect find a code to fit your every need. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Telephone numbers and tax identification numbers represent good examples of values that we are used to seeing in a format that an edit code cannot supply. DDS includes an alternative to edit codes, called edit words, which can help in this kind of situation.

You code an edit word (EDTWRD) in the Functions area of the DDS at the field level for the field you want to edit. Edit words and edit codes are never used together for the same field because they perform the same function. An edit word supplies a template, or mask, into which you insert a number, and you enclose the template with apostrophes. Within the template, a blank position indicates where a digit should appear, and a 0 indicates where zero suppression should occur. With no zero in the edit word, the default is to zero suppress to the first significant digit.

You can use any characters as insertion characters within the template. The insertion characters print in the specified place, provided they are to the right of a significant digit. A currency symbol at the left of the edit word signals a fixed currency symbol, and a currency symbol adjacent to a zero denotes a floating currency symbol. To indicate a blank as an insertion character, use an ampersand (&).

Examine the following table to see how edit words work. You can duplicate the effects of edit codes with an edit word. Generally, RPG programmers use edit words only when no edit code is available that provides the format they want for their output.

Programming in ILE RPG - Creating and Using Files: Output Editing - Figure 2

James Buck
Jim Buck's career in IT has spanned more than 35 years, primarily in the college education, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Past president (13 years) of the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association, he has served on several teams developing IBM and COMMON certification tests. Jim has co-authored several IBM i textbooks with Bryan Meyers that are used by many companies and in colleges worldwide. Other accomplishments include: recipient of the 2007 IBM System i Innovation - Education Excellence Award, 2014 COMMON President's Award, and 2013/2016/2017 IBM Champion - Power Systems.

Jim is the president and founder of imPower Technologies, where he provides professional IBM i training and consulting services. He is active in the IBM i community, working to help companies train their employees in the latest IBM technologies and develop the next generation of IBM i professionals.

MC Press books written by Jim Buck available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Control Language Programming for IBM i Control Language Programming for IBM i
Master the A-Z of CL, including features such as structured programming, file processing enhancements, and ILE.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale

Mastering IBM i Mastering IBM i
Get the must-have guide to the tools and concepts needed to work with today's IBM i.
List Price $85.95

Now On Sale

Programming in ILE RPG Programming in ILE RPG
Get the definitive guide to the RPG programming language.
List Price $95.95

Now On Sale

Programming in RPG IV Programming in RPG IV
Understand the essentials of business programming using RPG IV.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: