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I realize that CHAR is recommended if all my values are fixed-width. But, so what? Why not just pick VARCHAR for all text fields just to be safe.

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Following cases are mentioned below for selecting CHAR over VARCHAR in SQL:

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  • If the column's data does not vary widely in length, then we should consider using a fixed-length char field instead of the varchar.
  • It may take a little more space to store the data. But in SQL Server, processing the fixed-length columns is faster than processing the variable-length columns (in most cases).
  • In several cases the length of Name values will be more than 80, that’s why char will be a better choice than varchar as it will save some extra space.
  • If you are using char datatype then the search becomes faster than the VARCHAR. In the case of varchar, the SQL Server verifies the length of each record and search through the file in order to locate it, but for char datatype, as it is fixed, SQL Server doesn’t calculate the length of record each time it processes, and this helps to save some time.

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