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Many times I need to write something like the following when dealing with SQL Server.

create table #table_name
    column1 int,
    column2 varchar(200)

insert into #table_name
execute some_stored_procedure;

But create a table which has the exact syntax as the result of a stored procedure is a tedious task. For example, the result of sp_helppublication has 48 columns! I want to know whether there is any easy way to do this.


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If you'd like a defined output format (and if you're a DBA, you should prefer a defined format!), consider a table-value UDF. Unfortunately they have some serious limitations, so they're not always an option. –  Jon of All Trades Mar 30 '12 at 16:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

If the procedure just returns one result set and the ad hoc distributed queries option is enabled.

                 'SET FMTONLY OFF;EXEC sp_who')

Or you can set up a loopback linked server and use that instead.

EXEC sp_addlinkedserver @server = 'LOCALSERVER',  @srvproduct = '',
                        @provider = 'SQLNCLI', @datasrc = @@servername

               'SET FMTONLY OFF;
               EXEC sp_who')
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Don't you mean SET FMT_ONLY ON? –  Andreas Ågren Feb 13 '12 at 10:01
@Andreas - No because I assumed the idea was to both create and populate the table from the stored procedure output. –  Martin Smith Feb 13 '12 at 10:15

In SQL Server 2012, you will be able to do this locally, assuming the result set you are after is the first result:


SELECT @sql += ',' + CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) + CHAR(9)
    + name + ' ' + system_type_name
    FROM sys.dm_exec_describe_first_result_set('sp_who', NULL, 1);

(' + STUFF(@sql, 1, 1, N'') + '

PRINT @sql;


    spid smallint,
    ecid smallint,
    status nchar(30),
    loginame nvarchar(128),
    hostname nchar(128),
    blk char(5),
    dbname nvarchar(128),
    cmd nchar(16),
    request_id int

Note there is a limitation: if your stored procedure creates #temp tables, the metadata functionality does not work. This is why I did not use sp_who2. :-)

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For those who didn't notice, the 2012+ part about this solution is sys.dm_exec_describe_first_result_set. –  Nick Chammas Feb 13 '12 at 18:16
Yes, sorry, I could have highlighted that. –  Aaron Bertrand Feb 14 '12 at 2:28

No. The result of a stored procedure can vary wildly: it isn't designed to always return exactly one result set like a SELECT on some object.

You have to execute CREATE TABLE

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