Documenting the Field: DESCRIPTION

DESCRIPTION is an optional attribute that enables you to provide comments and other documentation for a field within the Master File. You can include any comment up to 2K (2048) characters in length.

Note that you can also add documentation to a field declaration, or to a segment or file declaration, by typing a comment in the columns following the terminating dollar sign. You can even create an entire comment line by inserting a new line following a declaration and placing a dollar sign at the beginning of the line. The syntax and rules for creating a Master File are described in Understanding a Data Source Description.

The DESCRIPTION attribute for a FOCUS data source can be changed at any time without rebuilding the data source.

Master Files support description attributes for multiple languages. For information, see Multilingual Metadata.

Syntax: How to Supply Field Documentation




Can be shortened to DESC. Abbreviating the keyword has no effect on its function.


Is any string of up to 2K (2048) characters. If it contains a comma, the string must be enclosed within single quotation marks.

Example: Specifying a DESCRIPTION

The following FIELD declaration provides a DESCRIPTION:


Reference: Usage Notes for DESCRIPTION

Note the following rules when using the DESCRIPTION attribute:

  • Alias. The DESCRIPTION attribute has an alias of DEFINITION.
  • Changes. You can change DESCRIPTION at any time.
  • Virtual fields. You can use the DESCRIPTION attribute for a virtual field created with the DEFINE attribute.