The Rudymiester noted: >>NVL will do the job (nice one, Ron), but COALESCE will, too >>COALESCE is standard SQL, and can also handle more than two parameters Hi Rudy, Really? That would be cool. And it would certainly be more elegant than nested NVLs! But I always thought COALESCE was the MSSQL command for doing this. It didn't used to work in Oracle. Hmmm. I don't see it listed in my "Oracle - The Complete Reference" volume. Aha! Well whaddaya know? I see it listed online as working for Oracle versions 9i, 10g, and 11g. What the hey? Oh crap! Looks like my dead tree reference book is woefully out of date. <checks date /> Goodness! Copyright 1997. Covers up to Oracle version 7.3! Ooopsie! >>by the way, i thought oracle doesn't like the AS keyword... Always worked okay for me ... and it _is_ listed in my [antique] Oracle reference book. Oh dear, do you think maybe the command is now deprecated? Mumble mumble ... Hey you kids! Get off my lawn! RonL.