COBOL: Importance of 7th Column

In COBOL program coding starts at position 8 and up to 72nd position. Given here the 7th column in COBOL you can use it for five different uses. Here, I have also added how to use Display continue to next line.

There are two areas in COBOL you need to focus. One is Margin A and the other one is Margin B.

Margin A

It starts from position 8. Usually entries of DIVISION and Para name starts from column 8.

Margin B

We code all procedure division statements, and all other sentences at position 12.

Importance of 7th Column

  • ‘*’ this will be used to give comments. Compiler ignores this line.
  • ‘/’ this is the instruction to compiler. When you want to print the program, the code will move to next page. In real-time projects many people are giving at the end of the para-just for coding clarity.
  • ‘-‘ Hyphen is used for continuation lines. That means you can continue a string into next line. See the below example how you can use hyphen ‘-‘ in 7th column.
^^^^^^  move 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbaaaaaa
^^^^^^-       'cccccccccccccccc'     to variable_name
  • Sequence numbers 1-6: It is optional. In some projects giving sequence number in their COBOL code. But in some projects it is not mandatory.
  • ‘D’  we code it at 7th position for debugging purpose. But,this will anyway be ignored by compiler. The usage you can see when you use debugging tools.

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Author: Srini

Experienced software developer. Skills in Development, Coding, Testing and Debugging. Good Data analytic skills (Data Warehousing and BI). Also skills in Mainframe.