What Is Enum Data Type in SQL Server?


Angela Bailey

What Is Enum Data Type in SQL Server?

SQL Server is a powerful relational database management system that allows you to store, manage, and manipulate vast amounts of data. One of the key features of SQL Server is its support for different data types, including the enum data type.

Understanding Enum Data Type

An enum data type, short for enumerated data type, is a user-defined data type in SQL Server that consists of a set of predefined values. These values are typically related to a specific domain or category. Enum data types provide an efficient way to store and validate discrete values within a table column.

When you define an enum data type, you specify a list of possible values that the column can take. Each value represents a unique option or choice within the defined domain.

For example, if you have an “Employee” table with an “EmployeeStatus” column defined as an enum data type, the possible values could be “Active,” “Inactive,” or “On Leave. “

Creating Enum Data Types

In SQL Server, you can create an enum data type using the CREATE TYPE statement. Here’s an example:

CREATE TYPE EmployeeStatus AS ENUM ('Active', 'Inactive', 'On Leave');

In this example, we create an enum data type called “EmployeeStatus” with three possible values: ‘Active’, ‘Inactive’, and ‘On Leave’.

Using Enum Data Types

Once you have created an enum data type, you can use it to define columns in your tables. Here’s an example:

    Name VARCHAR(50),
    Status EmployeeStatus

In this example, we create an “Employee” table with three columns: “ID,” “Name,” and “Status.” The “Status” column is defined using the enum data type “EmployeeStatus” that we created earlier.

Benefits of Using Enum Data Types

Enum data types offer several advantages:

  • Improved Data Integrity: Enum data types provide a way to enforce data integrity by restricting column values to a predefined set of options. This helps prevent invalid or inconsistent data from being stored in the database.
  • Easier Data Validation: With enum data types, you can easily validate input values against the predefined set of options.

    This simplifies the task of ensuring that only valid values are entered.

  • Readability and Maintainability: By using enum data types, you make your code more readable and maintainable. The use of descriptive names for enum values improves code understanding and reduces the likelihood of errors.


The enum data type is a powerful feature in SQL Server that allows you to define user-defined data types with a predefined set of values. By using enum data types, you can improve data integrity, simplify validation, and enhance code readability. Understanding how to create and use enum data types will help you design more efficient and robust databases in SQL Server.

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