Picture and usage descriptions

The picture and usage description must conform to ANSI-COBOL 85 specifications.

For information about COBOL picture strings, see the documentation for the COBOL compiler.

Picture description

The picture description must match the record file descriptor (FD) from the COBOL program that generates or use the data. For information about COBOL formats, see your COBOL programmer's publication.

Usage description

The usage description must match the data-field type described in the FD descriptor of the COBOL program. If the COBOL program does not include a usage clause, select the Chars (character) option for the usage.

Packed-decimal conversions

When values are converted to packed-decimal formats, supply a picture clause that matches the picture clauses in the COBOL programs that use the data. Otherwise, the COBOL interpretation of the values is wrong.

The following table lists some examples of appropriate picture clauses.
Picture Input data Output data COBOL value =
9999999 123 0000123C 123
9999V99 123 0000123C 1.23
9999.99 123 0000123C 1.23
9999V99 -123.22 0012322D -123.22

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