I want to add more than 100 characters worth of email addresses to the SQL Agent Operators alerting.

For example: [email protected];[email protected];[email protected];....

I tried to get around the 100 character limit by altering sysoperators email_address column as such

ALTER TABLE sysoperators
ALTER column email_address NVARCHAR(1000);

and then creating my operator, but the addresses are still cut off at 100 characters?

  • 10
    How about creating a distribution list instead? That should be easier to manage than modifying built-in defaults.
    – vonPryz
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


Just because you can does not mean you should. Please do not apply the changes below. This answer is only to show you why you should not change system tables or system procedures and what can go wrong.


When adding the operator with the ssms gui, msdb.dbo.sp_add_operator is called behind the scenes.

The email address parameter used is also nvarchar(100).

enter image description here

In theory, you could adapt the procedure by altering it

And then changing the @email_address parameter to nvarchar(1000)

enter image description here

If I then run it wih 384 characters (non gui)

USE [msdb]
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_add_operator @name=N'test', 
        @email_address=N'[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];[email protected];'

Getting the length:

select LEN(email_address)  as email_length
from sysoperators 
where name = 'test';

Shows the 384 characters are there.


However, one of the things instantly breaking is the operator list when opening it via ssms:

enter image description here

Due to ssms running this query:

create table #tmp_sp_help_operator
(id int null, name nvarchar(128) null, enabled tinyint null, email_address nvarchar(100) null, last_email_date int null, last_email_time int null, pager_address nvarchar(100) null, last_pager_date int null, last_pager_time int null, weekday_pager_start_time int null, weekday_pager_end_time int null, saturday_pager_start_time int null, saturday_pager_end_time int null, sunday_pager_start_time int null, sunday_pager_end_time int null, pager_days tinyint null, netsend_address nvarchar(100) null, last_netsend_date int null, last_netsend_time int null, category_name nvarchar(128) null)
insert into #tmp_sp_help_operator exec msdb.dbo.sp_help_operator

tsho.name AS [Name],
'Server[@Name=' + quotename(CAST(
       AS sysname),'''') + ']' + '/JobServer' + '/Operator[@Name=' + quotename(tsho.name,'''') + ']' AS [Urn],
CAST(tsho.enabled AS bit) AS [Enabled]
#tmp_sp_help_operator AS tsho
[Name] ASC

drop table #tmp_sp_help_operator

Showing why we should not play around with system tables & procedures.

Who knows what will work and what will break when changing the table & the procedure.

A distribution list as vonPryz mentioned would be a much better solution.

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