How Do I Find the Data Type of a Column in SQL Server?

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Angela Bailey

In SQL Server, it is important to know the data type of a column as it affects how data is stored and processed. There are several ways to find the data type of a column in SQL Server. Let’s explore some of these methods.

Using the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS Table

To find the data type of a column using the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS table, you can use the following query:

SELECT COLUMN_NAME, DATA_TYPE 
FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS 
WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'your_table_name' 
AND COLUMN_NAME = 'your_column_name';

This query retrieves the COLUMN_NAME and DATA_TYPE columns from the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS table. Replace ‘your_table_name’ with the name of your table and ‘your_column_name’ with the name of your column.

Using the sys.columns System View

An alternative method is to use the sys.columns system view. Here’s an example:

SELECT name AS COLUMN_NAME, 
       TYPE_NAME(system_type_id) AS DATA_TYPE
FROM sys.columns
WHERE object_id = OBJECT_ID('your_table_name')
AND name = 'your_column_name';

This query retrieves the name (renamed as COLUMN_NAME) and TYPE_NAME(system_type_id) (renamed as DATA_TYPE) columns from the sys. Replace ‘your_table_name’ with your actual table name and ‘your_column_name’ with your actual column name.

Using sp_help or sp_helpindex Stored Procedures

You can also use the sp_help or sp_helpindex stored procedures to find information about a table, including its columns and their data types.

  • To use sp_help, execute the following command:
EXEC sp_help 'your_table_name';
  • To use sp_helpindex, execute the following command:
EXEC sp_helpindex 'your_table_name';

Replace ‘your_table_name’ with your actual table name.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we explored different methods to find the data type of a column in SQL Server. By using the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS table, sys.columns system view, or the sp_help and sp_helpindex stored procedures, you can easily retrieve the data type information for a specific column. Knowing the data type is essential for performing accurate data operations and ensuring data integrity in SQL Server.

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