How to query a CLOB column in Oracle

I’m trying to run a query that has a few columns that are a CLOB datatype. If i run the query like normal, all of those fields just have (CLOB) as the value.

I tried using DBMS_LOB.substr(column) and i get the error

ORA-06502: PL/SQL: numeric or value error: character string buffer too small

How can i query the CLOB column?

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If you are using SQL*Plus try the following…

set long 8000

select ...

When getting the substring of a CLOB column and using a query tool that has size/buffer restrictions sometimes you would need to set the BUFFER to a larger size. For example while using SQL Plus use the SET BUFFER 10000 to set it to 10000 as the default is 4000.

Running the DMBS_LOB.substr command you can also specify the amount of characters you want to return and the offset from which. So using DMBS_LOB.substr(column, 3000) might restrict it to a small enough amount for the buffer.

See oracle documentation for more info on the substr command

   lob_loc     IN    CLOB   CHARACTER SET ANY_CS,
   amount      IN    INTEGER := 32767,
   offset      IN    INTEGER := 1)

This works

select DBMS_LOB.substr(myColumn, 3000) from myTable

Another option is to create a function and call that function everytime you need to select clob column.

create or replace function clob_to_char_func
(clob_column in CLOB,
 for_how_many_bytes in NUMBER,
 from_which_byte in NUMBER)
return VARCHAR2
Return substrb(dbms_lob.substr(clob_column

and call that function as;

SELECT tocharvalue, clob_to_char_func(tocharvalue, 1, 9999)
FROM (SELECT clob_column AS tocharvalue FROM table_name);

For big CLOB selects also can be used:

SELECT dbms_lob.substr( column_name, dbms_lob.getlength(column_name), 1) FROM foo