Decimals in COBOL


I'm very new to COBOL. I'm following the tutorials that came with Micro Focus and I can't seem to get the example to work right. I'm trying to print -123.45 and I keep getting the following,

I looked up a number of posts on here and they don't address my problem. I'm using Micro Focus' Visual COBOL in Eclipse. Here's my code,

program-id. tictac as "tictac". environment division. configuration section. data division. working-storage section. 01 WS-NUM3 PIC S9(3)V9(2) VALUE -123.45. procedure division. Display WS-NUM3. goback. end program tictac.

The V in your picture clause is an <em>implied</em> decimal point. I think you want a field with PIC -999.99, where the . is an <em>explicit</em> decimal point, for its picture clause.

You might think of this as COBOL making a distinction between how a variable is defined and how it is shown. Sort of like a format string in printf is just specifying how to show a variable, not how it is defined. Though in both cases the definition and how it is shown have to match up to a certain extent.

Choosing the right picture clause for a numeric field is important; if you're doing calculations it can have a significant performance impact.

So it's common to have a field with a definition such as...

PIC 9(4)V99 COMP-3

...and a corresponding field for output purposes such as...


...so that computations can be done on the first, and when displaying the field is necessary one uses a MOVE statement to copy the contents of the first to the second.



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