COBOL Tutorial

COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) was one of the earliest high-level programming languages.

COBOL was developed in 1959 by the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL). This committee was a formed by a joint effort of industry, major universities, and the United States Government.

COBOL programs are in use globally in governmental and military agencies, in commercial enterprises. 95% financial and insurance business is on COBOL in US

In 1997, the Gartner Group reported that 80% of the world's business ran on COBOL with over 200 billion lines of code in existence and with an estimated 5 billion lines of new code annually.


COBOL Program Structure

COBOL compiler accepts the source code in a standard format. There are 80 character positions on each line of source code

coding sheet

Sequence Number:

  • The sequence number area can be used to tag a statement line. we can populate any character in this area and this area is optional


  • This field can be populated with Slash (/) or Hyphen (-) for denoting continuation or Asterisk (*) for commenting a line or "D" for debugging

Area A & Area B :

  • Contains source code

The following items must begin in Area A

  • Division header
  • Section header
  • Paragraph header or paragraph name
  • Level indicator or level-number (01 and 77)
  • End program header

The following items must begin in Area B

  • Entries, sentences, statements, clauses
  • Continuation lines.

The following items can begin in either Area A or Area B:

  • Level-numbers
  • Comment lines
  • Compiler-directing statements
  • Debugging lines
  • Pseudo-text

Identification :

  • COBOL compiler will ignore the data in these positions.

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