If your file is externally described, you would use the following:-

Move 10 to Dept-number
Move zeros to Section-Number

Start Employee File
 Key is Not Less Than Externally-Described-Key
 Invalid key
Not invalid key

This only works, if you know the value of the first key.


-----Original Message-----
From: cobol400-l-admin@midrange.com
[mailto:cobol400-l-admin@midrange.com] On Behalf Of Ravi Prasanna
Annasagara Nagarajan
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 9:43 AM
To: cobol400-l@midrange.com
Subject: Setting File pointer using Partial Keys

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]

Using Start statement, can we position the file pointer if we have
values for a part of the key.

For example

If an Employee file has 3 keys say Dept number, Section number and
Employee number, using just the Dept number can we position the file at
the specified Dept number even though Section number and Employee number
are not specified?

Move 10 to Dept-number

Start Employee File
 Key is equal to Dept-number
 Invalid key
Not invalid key

I have tried this but it seems to fail.  In RPG, we can actually do a
Chain to the file with partial keys, so is there a provision for that in

Any thoughts on this issue would be very helpful?

Many thanks in advance.

Ravi Prasanna A.N.
Wipro Technologies Ltd.,



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