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ALTER TABLE Command – SQL

ALTER TABLE Command – SQL is used to add, delete or modify columns in an existing table.

You would also use ALTER TABLE command to add and drop various constraints on a an existing table.

Syntax:

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to add a new column in an existing table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name ADD column_name datatype;

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to DROP COLUMN in an existing table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name DROP COLUMN column_name;

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to change the DATA TYPE of a column in a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name MODIFY COLUMN column_name datatype;

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to add a NOT NULL constraint to a column in a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name MODIFY column_name datatype NOT NULL;

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to ADD UNIQUE CONSTRAINT to a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
ADD CONSTRAINT MyUniqueConstraint UNIQUE(column1, column2...);

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to ADD CHECK CONSTRAINT to a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
ADD CONSTRAINT MyUniqueConstraint CHECK (CONDITION);

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to ADD PRIMARY KEY constraint to a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
ADD CONSTRAINT MyPrimaryKey PRIMARY KEY (column1, column2...);

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to DROP CONSTRAINT from a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
DROP CONSTRAINT MyUniqueConstraint;

If you’re using MySQL, the code is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
DROP INDEX MyUniqueConstraint;

The basic syntax of ALTER TABLE to DROP PRIMARY KEY constraint from a table is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
DROP CONSTRAINT MyPrimaryKey;

If you’re using MySQL, the code is as follows:

ALTER TABLE table_name 
DROP PRIMARY KEY;

Example:

Consider the CUSTOMERS table having the following records:

+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
|  1 | Ramesh   |  32 | Ahmedabad |  2000.00 |
|  2 | Khilan   |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 |
|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |
|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 |
|  5 | Hardik   |  27 | Bhopal    |  8500.00 |
|  6 | Komal    |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 |
|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+

Following is the example to ADD a new column in an existing table:

ALTER TABLE CUSTOMERS ADD SEX char(1);

Now, CUSTOMERS table is changed and following would be output from SELECT statement:

+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+------+
| ID | NAME    | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   | SEX  |
+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+------+
|  1 | Ramesh  |  32 | Ahmedabad |  2000.00 | NULL |
|  2 | Ramesh  |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 | NULL |
|  3 | kaushik |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 | NULL |
|  4 | kaushik |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 | NULL |
|  5 | Hardik  |  27 | Bhopal    |  8500.00 | NULL |
|  6 | Komal   |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 | NULL |
|  7 | Muffy   |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 | NULL |
+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+------+

Following is the example to DROP sex column from existing table:

ALTER TABLE CUSTOMERS DROP SEX;

Now, CUSTOMERS table is changed and following would be output from SELECT statement:

+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+
| ID | NAME    | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |
+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+
|  1 | Ramesh  |  32 | Ahmedabad |  2000.00 |
|  2 | Ramesh  |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 |
|  3 | kaushik |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |
|  4 | kaushik |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 |
|  5 | Hardik  |  27 | Bhopal    |  8500.00 |
|  6 | Komal   |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 |
|  7 | Muffy   |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 |
+----+---------+-----+-----------+----------+

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