I am looking for a technical term (or phrase, or something concise) that describes the process of limiting the number of records returned from a query through the use of OFFSET and LIMIT.

For example, I have an application that displays a bunch of records in a table. If I do something naive like this


It might be slow, especially if there are millions of records, so I optimize my application by using a paginated user interface that will display 50 records at a time. So for example, I want to get records 101 to 150 because the user decided to go to page 3, I might say something like

SELECT * from table LIMIT 50 OFFSET 100

I don't know what kind of words I should be using to describe my design decisions so that others will immediately understand what I'm doing.

1 Answer 1


It's generally called paging.

Different vendors have implemented it in different ways. SQL Server was late in adopting the standard (OFFSET/FETCH in SQL Server 2012); prior to that you had to use wacky tricks with CTEs and ROW_NUMBER(), and I forget what we did in SQL Server 2000. #temp tables? MySQL chose to one-finger salute the standard and use LIMIT.

Lots of discussion about various techniques for SQL Server in this comment thread.

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