Oracle REPLACE

The Oracle REPLACE() function replaces all occurrences of a specified substring in a string with another.

Syntax

The following illustrates the syntax of the Oracle REPLACE() function:

REPLACE(string_expression, string_pattern [,string_replacement])
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

Arguments

The Oracle REPLACE() function accepts three arguments:

1) string_expression

is a string (or an expression that evaluates to a string) to be searched.

2) string_pattern

is a substring to be replaced.

3) string_replacement

is the replacement string.

Return Value

The REPLACE() function returns a string with every occurrence of the string_pattern replaced with the string_replacement.

If you omit the string_replacement, the REPLACE() function removes all occurrences of the string_pattern in the string_expression.

In case the string_pattern is null or empty, the REPLACE() function returns the string_expression.

Examples

The following statement replaces is with 'IS' in the string ‘This is a test':

SELECT REPLACE( 'This is a test', 'is', 'IS' ) FROM dual;
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

The following is the result:

'thIS IS a test'
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

We often use the REPLACE() function to modify the data in tables.

Let’s create a new table named articles for the demonstration.

First, create the articles table with the following structure:

CREATE TABLE articles( article_id NUMBER GENERATED BY DEFAULT AS IDENTITY, title VARCHAR2( 255 ), article_body VARCHAR2(4000), PRIMARY KEY (article_id) );
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

Next, insert sample data into the articles table:

INSERT INTO articles( title, article_body) VALUES('Sample article','This is a <strong>sample</strong> article'); INSERT INTO articles( title, article_body) VALUES('Another article','Another excellent <strong>sample</strong> article');
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

Then, query data from the articles table:

SELECT article_id, title, article_body FROM articles;
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)
Oracle REPLACE function example

After that, suppose you want to want to replace all <strong> tags with <b> tags in the article_body column. Here are the queries to do so:

UPDATE articles SET article_body = REPLACE( article_body, '<strong>', '<b>' ); UPDATE articles SET article_body = REPLACE( article_body, '</strong>', '</b>' );
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)

These queries used the REPLACE() function to replace <strong> with <b> and </strong> with </b>.

Finally, query data from the articles table to verify the replacements:

SELECT article_id, title, article_body FROM articles;
Code language: SQL (Structured Query Language) (sql)
Oracle REPLACE function after replacement

As you can see in the output, the <strong> tags have been replaced with the b tags as expected.

Remarks

Oracle provides you with the TRANSLATE() function that has similar functionality as the REPLACE() function.

However, the TRANSLATE() function provides single-character, one-to-one substitution, while the REPLACE() function allows you to substitute one string for another.

In this tutorial, you have learned how to use the Oracle REPLACE() function to replace all occurrences of a substring in a string with another.

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