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Basic SQL Queries
Part five of a five-part series of blogs

This blog teaches the absolute basics of writing queries in Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. You'll learn how to use the SELECT and FROM keywords to create simple queries showing all of the records from a single table.

  1. Getting Started with SQL Queries
  2. Referring to Tables in the FROM Clause
  3. Adding Columns to the SELECT List
  4. Executing SQL Queries
  5. Useful Hints for Writing Basic Queries (this blog)

This blog is part of our complete SQL tutorial.  Alternatively, have a look at our SQL training courses for small groups.

Posted by Andrew Gould on 23 July 2012

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Useful Hints for Writing Basic Queries

Now that you know the basics of writing queries in SQL Server Management Studio here are a couple of techniques that can help speed up the process.

Including all of the Columns from a Table

When you're working with large tables and you want to include all of the columns in a query it can be annoying to have to type out all of the column names.  To avoid this you can use the asterisk symbol to show all of the columns in a table:

Using asterisk

Replace the normal column names with the asterisk symbol in the SELECT list.

This is a quick and simple way to include all of the table columns, but it does mean that you can't add aliases to the columns and you have no control over the order in which the columns appear.

There are other good reasons not to use the asterisk to select all of the columns from a table, one of which is the performance of your query.

Scripting a Table as a SELECT Statement

Rather than using the asterisk to include all of the columns from a table you can choose to script a table as a query.  To do this, right-click on the table and choose the option shown in the diagram below:

Scripting to

Right-click on the table and choose the sequence of options shown here.

You will end up with a new query window and a complete SELECT statement that includes all of the columns from the selected table:

Scripted query

You can now remove any columns you don't want, put the columns in a different order and add your own aliases.

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