Fixing the Common Error: Converting Data Type NVarChar to Numeric - A Comprehensive Guide


In this guide, we will walk you through the process of fixing the common error that occurs when converting data type NVARCHAR to numeric. This error is particularly common in SQL Server and can cause issues when you are trying to perform calculations or comparisons using numeric values stored as strings.

## Table of Contents

- [Understanding the Error](#understanding-the-error)
- [Step-by-Step Solution](#step-by-step-solution)
  - [Step 1: Identify the Problematic Data](#step-1-identify-the-problematic-data)
  - [Step 2: Clean the Data](#step-2-clean-the-data)
  - [Step 3: Convert the Data Type](#step-3-convert-the-data-type)
- [FAQ](#faq)

<a name="understanding-the-error"></a>
## Understanding the Error

The "Conversion failed when converting the nvarchar value '...' to data type numeric" error occurs when you try to convert a non-numeric value to a numeric data type. This often happens when you have a column with mixed data types or when the NVARCHAR column contains non-numeric characters.

For example, you might have a table with product prices stored as NVARCHAR, but you want to calculate the total price for an order. This would require you to convert the price values to numeric data types to perform the calculation.

<a name="step-by-step-solution"></a>
## Step-by-Step Solution

To fix this error, you need to follow these steps:

<a name="step-1-identify-the-problematic-data"></a>
### Step 1: Identify the Problematic Data

First, you need to identify the rows with non-numeric values in the NVARCHAR column. You can use the `ISNUMERIC()` function in SQL Server to find these rows.

FROM your_table
WHERE ISNUMERIC(your_column) = 0

This query will return all rows where the your_column contains non-numeric values.

Step 2: Clean the Data

Next, you need to clean the data by removing or replacing non-numeric characters. You can use the REPLACE() function to remove specific characters or the PATINDEX() function to find the position of the first non-numeric character in the string.

For example, to remove all dollar signs from the price column, you can use the following query:

UPDATE your_table
SET price = REPLACE(price, '$', '')

Alternatively, you can use the PATINDEX() function to find and remove the first non-numeric character:

UPDATE your_table
SET price = STUFF(price, PATINDEX('%[^0-9.]%', price), 1, '')
WHERE PATINDEX('%[^0-9.]%', price) > 0

Ensure to replace 'your_table' and 'price' with the appropriate table and column names for your specific use case.

Step 3: Convert the Data Type

After cleaning the data, you can now convert the NVARCHAR column to a numeric data type using the CAST() or CONVERT() functions.

FROM your_table


FROM your_table

This will convert the price column to a numeric data type with a precision of 10 and a scale of 2.


1. Can I use the TRY_CONVERT() function to avoid the error?

Yes, the TRY_CONVERT() function can be used to avoid the error by returning NULL if the conversion fails.

FROM your_table

2. Can I convert NVARCHAR to INT instead of NUMERIC?

Yes, you can convert NVARCHAR to INT using the same steps mentioned above. Just replace NUMERIC(10, 2) with INT in the conversion functions.

3. How can I prevent this error in the future?

To prevent this error in the future, ensure that numeric values are stored in the appropriate data type columns (e.g., INT, DECIMAL, FLOAT) instead of NVARCHAR.

4. What if I have multiple non-numeric characters in my NVARCHAR column?

You can use the PATINDEX() and STUFF() functions in a loop to remove all non-numeric characters from the column.

5. How can I find the rows that failed the conversion?

You can use the ISNUMERIC() function in a query to find the rows with non-numeric values in the NVARCHAR column, as shown in Step 1.

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