I have a table "Test" with 15 different columns of different data types.

I'm looking for rows having characters like "ABC". But "ABC" can be present in any column and I want to find whole records having "ABC".

I cannot restrict the row using a WHERE clause, because I really do not have any idea in which column the ABC resides? Is there a way to do this?

  • Which RDBMS? You've tagged both SQL Server and Oracle
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Sep 26 '13 at 14:27
  • Sorry i just tag both . But the question is for ORACLE. Sep 26 '13 at 14:33
  • Lots of ORs, I guess!
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Sep 26 '13 at 15:03
  • yes that is a solution. here in example i had given only 15 column but in my scenario it is near about 50 columns . so if there is any alternative let me suggest. :-) Sep 26 '13 at 15:11

Well, there is the plain and simple "brute force" way:

FROM   "Test"
       col2 LIKE '%ABC%' OR
       col3 LIKE '%ABC%' OR
       col15 LIKE '%ABC%');

Parentheses won't be necessary if you don't have additional WHERE expressions. Probably faster (and more robust in any case) than concatenating all columns for a single LIKE test.

  • 1
    In PostgreSQL, you could just SELECT * FROM tbl t WHERE t::text LIKE '%ABC%. Details in this answer on code review. I don't think you can cast an entire row or record to varchar in Oracle, or at least I would not know about it. Sep 26 '13 at 22:36
  • Yes the query you suggest will be perfactly work but i just wanted to minimize the query.Nice i refer your answer on Code review. actully i m finiding something like that only "SELECT * FROM tbl t WHERE t::text LIKE '%ABC%" will work on it how can i find some similar solution in oracle. Sep 27 '13 at 3:08
  • 1
    Minimise the query definition or minimise the work done when it is run? Because these are different aims.
    – JamesRyan
    Sep 27 '13 at 11:35

In Oracle 11g, you can use UNPIVOT

select *
from test unpivot (any_column for source_column in (col1, col2, col3, ...))
where any_column like '%ABC%';

Note that if a row contains ABC in more than one columns, this query returns all of them. If you need the original rows, use a subquery

select *
from test
where id in (
  select id
  from test unpivot (any_column for source_column in (col1, col2, col3, ...))
  where any_column like '%ABC%'

Using the instr built-in function you can do like this:

Select * from Test where instr(col1||col2||col3,'ABC') <> 0;
  • 4
    Such query will return row where col1='A' and col2='BC'. Sep 26 '13 at 15:11
  • Yes, you're right, you have to add a separator between each column. Sep 26 '13 at 15:30
  • 1
    @NicolasDurand: And be certain that the separator cannot be part of the search pattern ... Sep 26 '13 at 21:59
  • @Nicolas Instr function is use to find the occurrence of particular character from a given string based on given specification. eg."SELECT INSTR('CORPORATE FLOOR','OR',3,2) "Instring" FROM DUAL;" output---> 14.. So how can we use Column in Instr function? Sep 27 '13 at 5:33
  • The instr function is taking a string as the 1st parameter, so column are accepted, Oracle will cast the column to a string if the column type is not: [techonthenet.com/oracle/functions/instr.php] Sep 27 '13 at 7:20

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