values How to concatenate text from multiple rows into a single text string in SQL server?




sql multiple rows into one row comma (24)

Consider a database table holding names, with three rows:

Peter
Paul
Mary

Is there an easy way to turn this into a single string of Peter, Paul, Mary?


This method applies to Teradata Aster database only as it utilizes its NPATH function.

Again, we have table Students

SubjectID       StudentName
----------      -------------
1               Mary
1               John
1               Sam
2               Alaina
2               Edward

Then with NPATH it is just single SELECT:

SELECT * FROM npath(
  ON Students
  PARTITION BY SubjectID
  ORDER BY StudentName
  MODE(nonoverlapping)
  PATTERN('A*')
  SYMBOLS(
    'true' as A
  )
  RESULT(
    FIRST(SubjectID of A) as SubjectID,
    ACCUMULATE(StudentName of A) as StudentName
  )
);

Result:

SubjectID       StudentName
----------      -------------
1               [John, Mary, Sam]
2               [Alaina, Edward]

In SQL Server 2005

SELECT Stuff(
  (SELECT N', ' + Name FROM Names FOR XML PATH(''),TYPE)
  .value('text()[1]','nvarchar(max)'),1,2,N'')

In SQL Server 2016

you can use the FOR JSON syntax

i.e.

SELECT per.ID,
Emails = JSON_VALUE(
   REPLACE(
     (SELECT _ = em.Email FROM Email em WHERE em.Person = per.ID FOR JSON PATH)
    ,'"},{"_":"',', '),'$[0]._'
) 
FROM Person per

And the result will become

Id  Emails
1   [email protected]
2   NULL
3   [email protected], [email protected]

This will work even your data contains invalid XML characters

the '"},{"_":"' is safe because if you data contain '"},{"_":"', it will be escaped to "},{\"_\":\"

You can replace ', ' with any string separator


And in SQL Server 2017, Azure SQL Database

You can use the new STRING_AGG function


MySQL complete Example:

We have Users which can have many Data's and we want to have an output, where we can see all users Datas in a list:

Result:

___________________________
| id   |  rowList         |
|-------------------------|
| 0    | 6, 9             |
| 1    | 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,1  |
|_________________________|

Table Setup:

CREATE TABLE `Data` (
  `id` int(11) NOT NULL,
  `user_id` int(11) NOT NULL
) ENGINE=InnoDB AUTO_INCREMENT=11 DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;


INSERT INTO `Data` (`id`, `user_id`) VALUES
(1, 1),
(2, 1),
(3, 1),
(4, 1),
(5, 1),
(6, 0),
(7, 1),
(8, 1),
(9, 0),
(10, 1);


CREATE TABLE `User` (
  `id` int(11) NOT NULL
) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;


INSERT INTO `User` (`id`) VALUES
(0),
(1);

Query:

SELECT User.id, GROUP_CONCAT(Data.id ORDER BY Data.id) AS rowList FROM User LEFT JOIN Data ON User.id = Data.user_id GROUP BY User.id

Starting with PostgreSQL 9.0 this is quite simple:

select string_agg(name, ',') 
from names;

In versions before 9.0 array_agg() can be used as shown by hgmnz


Postgres arrays are awesome. Example:

Create some test data:

postgres=# \c test
You are now connected to database "test" as user "hgimenez".
test=# create table names (name text);
CREATE TABLE                                      
test=# insert into names (name) values ('Peter'), ('Paul'), ('Mary');                                                          
INSERT 0 3
test=# select * from names;
 name  
-------
 Peter
 Paul
 Mary
(3 rows)

Aggregate them in an array:

test=# select array_agg(name) from names;
 array_agg     
------------------- 
 {Peter,Paul,Mary}
(1 row)

Convert the array to a comma delimited string:

test=# select array_to_string(array_agg(name), ', ') from names;
 array_to_string
-------------------
 Peter, Paul, Mary
(1 row)

DONE

Since PostgreSQL 9.0 it is even easier.


One method not yet shown via the XML data() command in MS SQL Server is:

Assume table called NameList with one column called FName,

SELECT FName + ', ' AS 'data()' 
FROM NameList 
FOR XML PATH('')

returns:

"Peter, Paul, Mary, "

Only the extra comma must be dealt with.

Edit: As adopted from @NReilingh's comment, you can use the following method to remove the trailing comma. Assuming the same table and column names:

STUFF(REPLACE((SELECT '#!' + LTRIM(RTRIM(FName)) AS 'data()' FROM NameList
FOR XML PATH('')),' #!',', '), 1, 2, '') as Brands

SELECT STUFF((SELECT ', ' + name FROM [table] FOR XML PATH('')), 1, 2, '')

Here's a sample:

DECLARE @t TABLE (name VARCHAR(10))
INSERT INTO @t VALUES ('Peter'), ('Paul'), ('Mary')
SELECT STUFF((SELECT ', ' + name FROM @t FOR XML PATH('')), 1, 2, '')
--Peter, Paul, Mary

I usually use select like this to concatenate strings in SQL Server:

with lines as 
( 
  select 
    row_number() over(order by id) id, -- id is a line id
    line -- line of text.
  from
    source -- line source
), 
result_lines as 
( 
  select 
    id, 
    cast(line as nvarchar(max)) line 
  from 
    lines 
  where 
    id = 1 
  union all 
  select 
    l.id, 
    cast(r.line + N', ' + l.line as nvarchar(max))
  from 
    lines l 
    inner join 
    result_lines r 
    on 
      l.id = r.id + 1 
) 
select top 1 
  line
from
  result_lines
order by
  id desc

I don't have access to a SQL Server at home, so I'm guess at the syntax here, but it's more or less:

DECLARE @names VARCHAR(500)

SELECT @names = @names + ' ' + Name
FROM Names

This answer will require some privilege in server to work.

Assemblies are a good option for you. There are a lot of sites that explain how to create it. The one I think is very well explained is this one

If you want, I have already created the assembly, and it is possible to download the DLL here.

Once you have downloaded it, you will need to run the following script in your SQL Server:

CREATE Assembly concat_assembly 
   AUTHORIZATION dbo 
   FROM '<PATH TO Concat.dll IN SERVER>' 
   WITH PERMISSION_SET = SAFE; 
GO 

CREATE AGGREGATE dbo.concat ( 

    @Value NVARCHAR(MAX) 
  , @Delimiter NVARCHAR(4000) 

) RETURNS NVARCHAR(MAX) 
EXTERNAL Name concat_assembly.[Concat.Concat]; 
GO  

sp_configure 'clr enabled', 1;
RECONFIGURE

Observe that the path to assembly may be accessible to server. Since you have successfully done all the steps, you can use the function like:

SELECT dbo.Concat(field1, ',')
FROM Table1

Hope it helps!!!


In Oracle, it is wm_concat. I believe this function is available in the 10g release and higher.


If you are on SQL Server 2017 or Azure, see Mathieu Renda answer.

I had a similar issue when I was trying to join two tables with one-to-many relationships. In SQL 2005 I found that XML PATH method can handle the concatenation of the rows very easily.

If there is a table called STUDENTS

SubjectID       StudentName
----------      -------------
1               Mary
1               John
1               Sam
2               Alaina
2               Edward

Result I expected was:

SubjectID       StudentName
----------      -------------
1               Mary, John, Sam
2               Alaina, Edward

I used the following T-SQL:

SELECT Main.SubjectID,
       LEFT(Main.Students,Len(Main.Students)-1) As "Students"
FROM
    (
        SELECT DISTINCT ST2.SubjectID, 
            (
                SELECT ST1.StudentName + ',' AS [text()]
                FROM dbo.Students ST1
                WHERE ST1.SubjectID = ST2.SubjectID
                ORDER BY ST1.SubjectID
                FOR XML PATH ('')
            ) [Students]
        FROM dbo.Students ST2
    ) [Main]

You can do the same thing in a more compact way if you can concat the commas at the beginning and use substring to skip the first one so you don't need to do a sub-query:

SELECT DISTINCT ST2.SubjectID, 
    SUBSTRING(
        (
            SELECT ','+ST1.StudentName  AS [text()]
            FROM dbo.Students ST1
            WHERE ST1.SubjectID = ST2.SubjectID
            ORDER BY ST1.SubjectID
            FOR XML PATH ('')
        ), 2, 1000) [Students]
FROM dbo.Students ST2

This can be useful too

create table #test (id int,name varchar(10))
--use separate inserts on older versions of SQL Server
insert into #test values (1,'Peter'), (1,'Paul'), (1,'Mary'), (2,'Alex'), (3,'Jack')

DECLARE @t VARCHAR(255)
SELECT @t = ISNULL(@t + ',' + name, name) FROM #test WHERE id = 1
select @t
drop table #test

returns

Peter,Paul,Mary

I really liked elegancy of Dana's answer. Just wanted to make it complete.

DECLARE @names VARCHAR(MAX)
SET @names = ''

SELECT @names = @names + ', ' + Name FROM Names 

-- Deleting last two symbols (', ')
SET @sSql = LEFT(@sSql, LEN(@sSql) - 1)

In SQL Server 2005 and later, use the query below to concatenate the rows.

DECLARE @t table
(
    Id int,
    Name varchar(10)
)
INSERT INTO @t
SELECT 1,'a' UNION ALL
SELECT 1,'b' UNION ALL
SELECT 2,'c' UNION ALL
SELECT 2,'d' 

SELECT ID,
stuff(
(
    SELECT ','+ [Name] FROM @t WHERE Id = t.Id FOR XML PATH('')
),1,1,'') 
FROM (SELECT DISTINCT ID FROM @t ) t


With the other answers, the person reading the answer must be aware of a specific domain table such as vehicle or student. The table must be created and populated with data to test a solution.

Below is an example that uses SQL Server "Information_Schema.Columns" table. By using this solution, no tables need to be created or data added. This example creates a comma separated list of column names for all tables in the database.

SELECT
    Table_Name
    ,STUFF((
        SELECT ',' + Column_Name
        FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.Columns Columns
        WHERE Tables.Table_Name = Columns.Table_Name
        ORDER BY Column_Name
        FOR XML PATH ('')), 1, 1, ''
    )Columns
FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.Columns Tables
GROUP BY TABLE_NAME 

A recursive CTE solution was suggested, but no code provided. The code below is an example of a recursive CTE -- note that although the results match the question, the data doesn't quite match the given description, as I assume that you really want to be doing this on groups of rows, not all rows in the table. Changing it to match all rows in the table is left as an exercise for the reader.

;with basetable as 
(   SELECT id, CAST(name as varchar(max))name, 
        ROW_NUMBER() OVER(Partition By id     order by seq) rw, 
        COUNT(*) OVER (Partition By id) recs 
FROM (VALUES (1, 'Johnny', 1), (1,'M', 2), 
                  (2,'Bill', 1), (2, 'S.', 4), (2, 'Preston', 5), (2, 'Esq.', 6),
        (3, 'Ted', 1), (3,'Theodore', 2), (3,'Logan', 3),
                  (4, 'Peter', 1), (4,'Paul', 2), (4,'Mary', 3)

           )g(id, name, seq)
),
rCTE as (
    SELECT recs, id, name, rw from basetable where rw=1
    UNION ALL
    SELECT b.recs, r.ID, r.name +', '+ b.name name, r.rw+1
    FROM basetable b
         inner join rCTE r
    on b.id = r.id and b.rw = r.rw+1
)
SELECT name FROM rCTE
WHERE recs = rw and ID=4

A ready-to-use solution, with no extra commas:

select substring(
        (select ', '+Name AS 'data()' from Names for xml path(''))
       ,3, 255) as "MyList"

An empty list will result in NULL value. Usually you will insert the list into a table column or program variable: adjust the 255 max length to your need.

(Diwakar and Jens Frandsen provided good answers, but need improvement.)


Using XML helped me in getting rows separated with commas. For the extra comma we can use the replace function of SQL Server. Instead of adding a comma, use of the AS 'data()' will concatenate the rows with spaces, which later can be replaced with commas as the syntax written below.

REPLACE(
        (select FName AS 'data()'  from NameList  for xml path(''))
         , ' ', ', ') 

SQL Server 2017+ and SQL Azure: STRING_AGG

Starting with the next version of SQL Server, we can finally concatenate across rows without having to resort to any variable or XML witchery.

STRING_AGG (Transact-SQL)

Without grouping

SELECT STRING_AGG(Name, ', ') AS Departments
FROM HumanResources.Department;

With grouping :

SELECT GroupName, STRING_AGG(Name, ', ') AS Departments
FROM HumanResources.Department
GROUP BY GroupName;

With grouping and sub-sorting

SELECT GroupName, STRING_AGG(Name, ', ') WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY Name ASC) AS Departments
FROM HumanResources.Department 
GROUP BY GroupName;

If you want to deal with nulls you can do it by adding a where clause or add another COALESCE around the first one.

DECLARE @Names VARCHAR(8000) 
SELECT @Names = COALESCE(COALESCE(@Names + ', ', '') + Name, @Names) FROM People

Use COALESCE - Learn more from here

For an example:

102

103

104

Then write below code in sql server,

Declare @Numbers AS Nvarchar(MAX) -- It must not be MAX if you have few numbers 
SELECT  @Numbers = COALESCE(@Numbers + ',', '') + Number
FROM   TableName where Number IS NOT NULL

SELECT @Numbers

Output would be:

102,103,104

You need to create a variable that will hold your final result and select into it, like so.

Easiest Solution

DECLARE @char VARCHAR(MAX);

SELECT @char = COALESCE(@char + ', ' + [column], [column]) 
FROM [table];

PRINT @char;




group-concat