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I have a database on a server that's running Microsoft SQL. I would like to find a tool that logs into that server, allows me to search to a string, and returns the tables and fields that contain that string. I"m not a programmer, nor do I know SQL. I saw someone using free desktop software that does this, but I've come to a Google dead-end. Does anyone know a software product that does this?

I don't think monitoring software is what I'm looking for. I might be wrong, but when I look at those products (RedGate, etc), they seem like overkill.

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Red Gate has a free SQL Search tool but I think that it's only accessible through Sql Server Management Studio, so that would have to be installed and you'd have to be able to login to the server. –  swasheck Mar 22 '12 at 14:29
Do you have access to any tool that has a query builder? That would let you write query without knowing SQL. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 22 '12 at 15:04
@FrustratedWithFormsDesigner I don't have a query builder, but I'm willing to get one. Any suggestions? –  Dorje Mar 22 '12 at 15:08
@swasheck Yeah, I saw that, but I can't install things on the server. If I had access, I'd install that and be golden. –  Dorje Mar 22 '12 at 15:10
@swasheck Oooooooo! I can do THAT! –  Dorje Mar 22 '12 at 19:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Step 1: Download SSMS LINK

Step 2: Download Red Gate SQL Search LINK

Step 3: Install both

Step 4: Connect to your database server

Step 5: Search!

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is the OP looking for a way to search content of the database or schema/objects of the database? Redgate's tool works for the later. –  DaniSQL Mar 23 '12 at 13:40
Good point of clarification. I guess I took for granted that they were looking for schema/object definitions and not a query. –  swasheck Mar 23 '12 at 14:57

If you're okay with using a script through SSMS the script below will search through user tables for a certain string. In a system with a lot of tables and columns it will take a long time. :)

set nocount on

    @TableName varchar (100)
    ,@ColumnName varchar (100)
    ,@TableSchema varchar (100)
    ,@min int
    ,@max int
    ,@sql nvarchar (4000)
    ,@string varchar (2000)
    ,@SummaryLevel int

--  search criteria
--      @string fro string to be searched in all relevant fields in all tables
--      @SummaryLevel 0 for detailed results, 1 for search hit count by table
    @string = '<the string you want to search for>'
    ,@SummaryLevel = 1

create table #cols (
    colsId int identity (1,1) primary key
    ,TableName varchar (100)
    ,TableSchema varchar (100)
    ,ColumnName varchar (100)

create table #results (
    resultsId int identity (1,1) primary key
    ,TableName varchar (100)
    ,ColumnName varchar (100)
    ,ColumnValue varchar (4000)
    ,SummaryLevel int

insert into #cols ( TableName, TableSchema, ColumnName )
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I'm not sure if you got truncated or what, but OP may want to know from what you're SELECTing. –  swasheck Mar 23 '12 at 18:46
Sorry man, SO won't let me put in the whole script. The field accepts it but I get a timeout on the save. I think the back end engine doesn't agree with all my single ticks. :) If you're interested in a script to do this I can post it up somewhere, but I got the impression you were looking for a client side application to do this. –  Jason Cumberland Mar 26 '12 at 18:48

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