Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering the SQL Server INSERT Statement: Syntax and Examples

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standard programming language used in managing and manipulating data in Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS). SQL provides various commands used in creating, modifying, and retrieving data from databases.

Among these commands is the INSERT statement, which is specifically used to add new data into a table. In this article, we will explore the SQL Server INSERT statement, its syntax, and examples of how to use it to insert data into a table.

Syntax of INSERT statement:

The syntax of the INSERT statement is as follows:

INSERT INTO table_name (column1, column2, ) VALUES (value1, value2, );

The primary keyword of the INSERT statement is INSERT, which tells SQL Server to add new data to the specified table. The table_name specifies the name of the table to which data will be added.

The column1, column2, specify the columns in the table where data will be inserted. Finally, the VALUES clause specifies the values to be inserted into the table in the order of the columns specified earlier.

Specifying table name and columns for insertion:

To successfully use the INSERT statement, you must specify the name of the table into which data will be inserted as well as the columns where the data will be inserted. When the INSERT statement is executed, SQL Server will automatically create a new row in the table and fill the specified columns with the respective values.

Providing values for insertion:

The VALUES clause is where you specify the values to insert into the table. Typically, the number of values specified must match the number of columns specified.

If you don’t want to specify values for all columns, provide NULL or an empty string ”. SQL Server INSERT statement examples:

Creating a new table for demonstration:

To effectively demonstrate how to use the SQL Server INSERT statement, we will first create a student table with columns; StudentID, FirstName, LastName, DateOfBirth, Email, and PhoneNumber.

CREATE TABLE student(

StudentID INT PRIMARY KEY IDENTITY(1,1),

FirstName VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,

LastName VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,

DateOfBirth DATE,

Email VARCHAR(100),

PhoneNumber VARCHAR(20)

);

Basic INSERT example:

Suppose we want to add a new student to the student table with values; John, Doe, 2000-01-01, [email protected], and 1234567890, we could use the following SQL query:

INSERT INTO student (FirstName, LastName, DateOfBirth, Email, PhoneNumber) VALUES(‘John’, ‘Doe’, ‘2000-01-01’, ‘[email protected]’, ‘1234567890’);

This query will insert the specified values into the appropriate columns in the student table. Inserting and returning inserted values:

SQL Server allows you to insert data into a table and retrieve the inserted values into a separate table using the OUTPUT clause.

This clause is useful for tracking changes to tables and validating data more efficiently. INSERT INTO student (FirstName, LastName, DateOfBirth, Email, PhoneNumber) OUTPUT INSERTED.* VALUES(‘Jane’, ‘Doe’, ‘2002-07-10’, ‘[email protected]’, ‘2345678901’);

This query will insert the specified values and return all newly inserted rows with all columns.

You can choose to return specific columns by specifying their names instead of using INSERTED.*. Inserting explicit values into identity column:

When inserting data into a table with an identity column, you should not specify a value for the identity column.

This is because the identity column is auto-incremented by SQL Server and will insert unique values into the column automatically. However, there may be scenarios where you need to explicitly add values to the Identity column.

INSERT INTO student(StudentID, FirstName, LastName, DateOfBirth, Email, PhoneNumber) VALUES(1001, ‘Mark’, ‘Smith’, ‘1997-06-18’, ‘[email protected]’, ‘3456789012’);

This query specifies the value 1001 for the StudentID column, which is an identity column. SQL Server will insert the specified value into the StudentID column, and subsequent values will be auto-incremented from 1002.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the SQL Server INSERT statement is a useful command used to add new data into tables. When using the INSERT statement, you must specify the table name and columns where the data will be inserted, and provide values for each column.

SQL Server also allows you to insert data into a table and return the inserted values using the OUTPUT clause, which is useful for tracking changes to tables. Finally, we learned that when inserting data into a table with an identity column, you should avoid specifying values for the identity column except when necessary.

Summary of topics covered in the tutorial:

In this tutorial, we explored the SQL Server INSERT statement, its syntax, and examples of how to use it to insert data into a table. We started by discussing the syntax of the INSERT statement, which includes the primary keyword of INSERT, the name of the table, the columns where data will be inserted, and the values to insert.

We then talked about specifying the name of the table and columns for insertion and how to provide values for insertion using the VALUES clause. Furthermore, we looked into various SQL Server INSERT statement examples, including creating a new table for demonstration, basic INSERT example, inserting and returning inserted values using the OUTPUT clause, and inserting explicit values into identity columns.

After completing this tutorial, you should be able to use the SQL Server INSERT statement effectively to insert data into tables, understand the different scenarios in which the statement can be applied and manipulate data in a relational database. Moreover, you’ll be equipped with a foundational understanding of the INSERT statement that will facilitate more complex SQL queries and help you address the complex data manipulation requirements.

Overall, the SQL Server INSERT statement is an essential tool in database management, allowing database administrators to add data efficiently into tables and ensures data integrity. The INSERT statement is fundamental to all database operations as we always write programs to record the new values in the database.

In case you need to manipulate the data present in the tables or analyse the data stored in those databases, the INSERT statement is fundamental to your work, and to the success of a database-driven application. In this tutorial, we explored the SQL Server INSERT statement and its various applications in inserting data into tables.

We discussed the syntax of the INSERT statement, how to specify the table and columns for insertion, and how to provide values using the VALUES clause. Additionally, we provided SQL Server INSERT statement examples, including creating a new table, basic inserts, explicit identity column inserts, and retrieving inserted values using the OUTPUT clause.

Mastering the SQL Server INSERT statement is fundamental to any database-driven application as it’s an essential tool in manipulating data. As a result, understanding the various applicable use cases of the INSERT statement helps to ensure data integrity and facilitate the implementation of complex SQL queries.

Overall, this tutorial should give you a comprehensive understanding of the SQL Server INSERT statement and its many benefits in managing databases.