9.6. Bit String Functions and Operators

This section describes functions and operators for examining and manipulating bit strings, that is values of the types bit and bit varying. Aside from the usual comparison operators, the operators shown in Table 9.14 can be used. Bit string operands of &, |, and # must be of equal length. When bit shifting, the original length of the string is preserved, as shown in the examples.

Table 9.14. Bit String Operators

|| concatenationB'10001' || B'011'10001011
& bitwise ANDB'10001' & B'01101'00001
| bitwise ORB'10001' | B'01101'11101
# bitwise XORB'10001' # B'01101'11100
~ bitwise NOT~ B'10001'01110
<< bitwise shift leftB'10001' << 301000
>> bitwise shift rightB'10001' >> 200100

The following SQL-standard functions work on bit strings as well as character strings: length, bit_length, octet_length, position, substring, overlay.

The following functions work on bit strings as well as binary strings: get_bit, set_bit. When working with a bit string, these functions number the first (leftmost) bit of the string as bit 0.

In addition, it is possible to cast integral values to and from type bit. Some examples:

44::bit(10)                    0000101100
44::bit(3)                     100
cast(-44 as bit(12))           111111010100
'1110'::bit(4)::integer        14

Note that casting to just bit means casting to bit(1), and so will deliver only the least significant bit of the integer.


Casting an integer to bit(n) copies the rightmost n bits. Casting an integer to a bit string width wider than the integer itself will sign-extend on the left.