All database objects have names, often called identifiers. The maximum identifier length is 63 characters character set UTF8 (252 bytes).


It is possible to restrict the actual maximum identifier length through configuration. Consult the Firebird 4.0 Release Notes for details. In this language reference we assume the default configuration of 63 characters (252 bytes).

Two types of names are valid as identifiers: regular identifiers, similar to variable names in regular programming languages, and delimited identifiers that are specific to SQL. To be valid, each type of identifier must conform to a set of rules, as follows:

2.3.1Rules for Regular Identifiers

  • Length cannot exceed 63 characters

  • The name must start with an unaccented, 7-bit ASCII alphabetic character. It may be followed by other 7-bit ASCII letters, digits, underscores or dollar signs. No other characters, including spaces, are valid. The name is case-insensitive, meaning it can be declared and used in either upper or lower case. Thus, from the system’s point of view, the following names are the same:

  • Regular identifiers are stored in uppercase

Regular name syntax

   |<name> ::=
   |  <letter> | <name><letter> | <name><digit> | <name>_ | <name>$
   |<letter> ::= <upper letter> | <lower letter>
   |<upper letter> ::= A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M |
   |                   N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
   |<lower letter> ::= a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m |
   |                   n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z
   |<digit> ::= 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

2.3.2Rules for Delimited Identifiers

  • Length cannot exceed 63 characters in character set UTF8 (252 bytes). Identifiers are stored in character set UTF8, which means characters outside the ASCII range are stored using 2 to 4 bytes.

  • The entire string must be enclosed in double-quotes, e.g. "anIdentifier"

  • A double-quote in an identifier can be escaped by doubling it, e.g. "with""doublequote"; we recommend avoiding double-quotes in delimited identifiers.

  • It may contain any character from the UTF8 character set, including accented characters, spaces and special characters

  • An identifier can be a reserved word

  • Delimited identifiers are stored as-is and are case-sensitive in all contexts

  • Trailing spaces in delimited identifiers are removed, as with any string constant

  • Delimited identifiers are available in Dialect 3 only. For more details on dialects, see Section 2.1.2, “SQL Dialects”

Delimited identifier syntax

  |<delimited identifier> ::= "<permitted character>[<permitted character> ...]"


A delimited identifier such as "FULLNAME" is the same as the regular identifiers FULLNAME, fullname, FullName, and so on. The reason is that Firebird stores regular identifiers in upper case, regardless of how they were defined or declared. Delimited identifiers are always stored according to the exact case of their definition or declaration. Thus, "FullName" (quoted, or delimited) is different from FullName (unquoted, or regular) which is stored as FULLNAME in the metadata.