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Indicator area

Use the indicator area to specify:

o The continuation of words or alphanumeric literals from the previous

line onto the current line

o The treatment of text as documentation

o Debugging lines

Continuation lines (An “-” in column 7)

Any sentence, entry, clause, or phrase that requires more than one line

can be continued in Area B of the next line that is neither a comment line

nor a blank line. The line being continued is a continued line; the

succeeding lines are continuation lines. Area A of a continuation line

must be blank.

If there is no hyphen (-) in the indicator area (column 7) of a line, the

last character of the preceding line is assumed to be followed by a space.

Comment lines (An “*” or “/” in column 7)

A comment line is any line with an asterisk (*) or slash (/) in the

indicator area (column 7) of the line. The comment can be written anywhere

in Area A and Area B of that line, and can consist of any combination of

characters from the character set of the computer.

An asterisk (*) comment line is printed on the next available line in the

output listing. The effect can be dependent on the LINECOUNT compiler

option. For information about the LINECOUNT compiler option, see the

Enterprise COBOL Programming Guide. A slash (/) comment line is printed on

the first line of the next page, and the current page of the output

listing is ejected.

Debugging lines (An “D” in column 7)

A debugging line is any line with a D (or d) in the indicator area of the

line. Debugging lines can be written in the environment division (after

the OBJECT-COMPUTER paragraph), the data division, and the procedure

division. If a debugging line contains only spaces in Area A and Area B,

it is considered a blank line.

Area A (Columns 8 – 11 )

The following items must begin in Area A:

  • Division headers
  • Section headers
  • Paragraph headers or paragraph names
  • Level indicators or level-numbers (01 and 77)
  • DECLARATIVES and END DECLARATIVES
  • End program, end class, and end method markers

Area B (Columns 12 through 72)

The following items must begin in Area B:

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

 

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