The picture clause explains the general characteristics of an elementary data item.
These characteristics are elaborated below:
In COBOL the data item may be one of the 3 classes - numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric. The numeric items consist only of digits 0 to 9. The Alphabetic items consist only of the letters A to Z (a to z) and the space (blank) character. The alphanumeric may consist of alphabets, digits as well as the special characters.