Working-Storage Section

The Working-Storage Section is composed of the section header, followed by data description entries for noncontiguous data items and/or record description entries. The syntax of data description entries is defined in the topic File Description Entry Skeleton

Each Working-Storage Section record-name and noncontiguous item-name should be unique since it cannot be qualified. Subordinate data-names need not be unique if they can be made unique by qualification.

ANS85 Provided no reference is made to a given data-name or record-name, it need not be unique by qualification.

General Format


Syntax Rules

  1. The Working-Storage Section may be specified in a function definition or a program definition. Within a class definition, the Working-Storage Section must be specified only in a factory definition or an instance definition, but not in a method definition. The Working-Storage Section must not be specified within an interface definition.


Noncontiguous Working-Storage (77-level-description-entry)

Items and constants in the Working-Storage Section which bear no hierarchical relationship to one another need not be grouped into records, provided they do not need to be further subdivided. Instead, they are classified as noncontiguous elementary items and are defined in a separate data description entry which begins with the special level-number, 77. The syntax of data description entries is defined in the chapter File Description Entry Skeleton.

The following data clauses are required in each data description entry:

  • Level-number 77
  • Data-name
  • Either:
    • The PICTURE clause or
    • The USAGE clause specifying USAGE INDEX,






Other data description clauses are optional and can be used to complete the description of the item if necessary.

Working-Storage Records (record-description-entry)

Data elements in the Working-Storage Section which bear a definite hierarchical relationship to one another must be grouped into records according to the rules for formation of record descriptions. All clauses which are used in record descriptions in the File Section can be used in record descriptions in the Working-Storage Section.

Record Description Structure

A record description consists of a set of data description entries which describe the characteristics of a particular record. Each data description entry consists of a level-number

ANS85 optionally

followed by the data-name or FILLER clause, followed by a series of independent clauses as required. A record description can have a hierarchical structure and therefore the clauses used within an entry can vary considerably, depending upon whether or not it is followed by subordinate entries. The structure of a record description is defined in the topic Concept Of Levels in the chapter Concepts of the COBOL Language, while the elements allowed in a record description are defined in the topic File Description Entry Skeleton.