COBOL Coding Form


This shows the use of a coding form. Unfortunately, it did not scan well. The first 6 characters of the coding form are for sequence numbers. These are no longer used by programmers. When you code in MicroFocus on the computer it automatically starts in column 8.

Column 7 is used for special symbols. An asterisk in column 7 means the line is a comment and will be ignored. A hyphen in column 7 is used for continuation of a literal. More about that later. Columns 73 through 80 are also not used - originally they were used for the name of the program, but again, this is no longer done.

Column 8 is also known as margin A and column B is known as margin B.
COBOL requires that certain code start in margin A (actually that means in columns 8, 9, 10 or 11) and that certain code starts in margin B (that means column 12 or beyond). For example FD and 01 start in margin A while 05 starts in column 12. Paragraph names start in margin A and instructions start in margin B. Division and section names start in margin A. Look at my examples for more clarification on this.