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RAISERROR (Transact-SQL)

Generates an error message and initiates error processing for the session. RAISERROR can either reference a user-defined message stored in the sys.messages catalog view or build a message dynamically. The message is returned as a server error message to the calling application or to an associated CATCH block of a TRY…CATCH construct. New applications should use THROW instead.

Applies to: SQL Server (SQL Server 2008 through current version), Azure SQL Database.

Topic link icon Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions

RAISERROR ( { msg_id | msg_str | @local_variable }
    { ,severity ,state }
    [ ,argument [ ,...n ] ] )
    [ WITH option [ ,...n ] ]

msg_id

Is a user-defined error message number stored in the sys.messages catalog view using sp_addmessage. Error numbers for user-defined error messages should be greater than 50000. When msg_id is not specified, RAISERROR raises an error message with an error number of 50000.

msg_str

Is a user-defined message with formatting similar to the printf function in the C standard library. The error message can have a maximum of 2,047 characters. If the message contains 2,048 or more characters, only the first 2,044 are displayed and an ellipsis is added to indicate that the message has been truncated. Note that substitution parameters consume more characters than the output shows because of internal storage behavior. For example, the substitution parameter of %d with an assigned value of 2 actually produces one character in the message string but also internally takes up three additional characters of storage. This storage requirement decreases the number of available characters for message output.

When msg_str is specified, RAISERROR raises an error message with an error number of 50000.

msg_str is a string of characters with optional embedded conversion specifications. Each conversion specification defines how a value in the argument list is formatted and placed into a field at the location of the conversion specification in msg_str. Conversion specifications have this format:

% [[flag] [width] [. precision] [{h | l}]] type

The parameters that can be used in msg_str are:

flag

Is a code that determines the spacing and justification of the substituted value.

Code

Prefix or justification

Description

- (minus)

Left-justified

Left-justify the argument value within the given field width.

+ (plus)

Sign prefix

Preface the argument value with a plus (+) or minus (-) if the value is of a signed type.

0 (zero)

Zero padding

Preface the output with zeros until the minimum width is reached. When 0 and the minus sign (-) appear, 0 is ignored.

# (number)

0x prefix for hexadecimal type of x or X

When used with the o, x, or X format, the number sign (#) flag prefaces any nonzero value with 0, 0x, or 0X, respectively. When d, i, or u are prefaced by the number sign (#) flag, the flag is ignored.

' ' (blank)

Space padding

Preface the output value with blank spaces if the value is signed and positive. This is ignored when included with the plus sign (+) flag.

width

Is an integer that defines the minimum width for the field into which the argument value is placed. If the length of the argument value is equal to or longer than width, the value is printed with no padding. If the value is shorter than width, the value is padded to the length specified in width.

An asterisk (*) means that the width is specified by the associated argument in the argument list, which must be an integer value.

precision

Is the maximum number of characters taken from the argument value for string values. For example, if a string has five characters and precision is 3, only the first three characters of the string value are used.

For integer values, precision is the minimum number of digits printed.

An asterisk (*) means that the precision is specified by the associated argument in the argument list, which must be an integer value.

{h | l} type

Is used with character types d, i, o, s, x, X, or u, and creates shortint (h) or longint (l) values.

Type specification

Represents

d or i

Signed integer

o

Unsigned octal

s

String

u

Unsigned integer

x or X

Unsigned hexadecimal

Note Note

These type specifications are based on the ones originally defined for the printf function in the C standard library. The type specifications used in RAISERROR message strings map to Transact-SQL data types, while the specifications used in printf map to C language data types. Type specifications used in printf are not supported by RAISERROR when Transact-SQL does not have a data type similar to the associated C data type. For example, the %p specification for pointers is not supported in RAISERROR because Transact-SQL does not have a pointer data type.

Note Note

To convert a value to the Transact-SQL bigint data type, specify %I64d.

@ local_variable

Is a variable of any valid character data type that contains a string formatted in the same manner as msg_str. @local_variable must be char or varchar, or be able to be implicitly converted to these data types.

severity

Is the user-defined severity level associated with this message. When using msg_id to raise a user-defined message created using sp_addmessage, the severity specified on RAISERROR overrides the severity specified in sp_addmessage.

Severity levels from 0 through 18 can be specified by any user. Severity levels from 19 through 25 can only be specified by members of the sysadmin fixed server role or users with ALTER TRACE permissions. For severity levels from 19 through 25, the WITH LOG option is required. Severity levels less than 0 are interpreted as 0. Severity levels greater than 25 are interpreted as 25.

Caution note Caution

Severity levels from 20 through 25 are considered fatal. If a fatal severity level is encountered, the client connection is terminated after receiving the message, and the error is logged in the error and application logs.

You can specify -1 to return the severity value associated with the error as shown in the following example.

RAISERROR (15600,-1,-1, 'mysp_CreateCustomer');

Here is the result set.

Msg 15600, Level 15, State 1, Line 1
An invalid parameter or option was specified for procedure 'mysp_CreateCustomer'.

state

Is an integer from 0 through 255. Negative values or values larger than 255 generate an error. You can specify -1 to return the value associated with the error as shown in the example in the definition of severity.

If the same user-defined error is raised at multiple locations, using a unique state number for each location can help find which section of code is raising the errors.

argument

Are the parameters used in the substitution for variables defined in msg_str or the message corresponding to msg_id. There can be 0 or more substitution parameters, but the total number of substitution parameters cannot exceed 20. Each substitution parameter can be a local variable or any of these data types: tinyint, smallint, int, char, varchar, nchar, nvarchar, binary, or varbinary. No other data types are supported.

option

Is a custom option for the error and can be one of the values in the following table.

Value

Description

LOG

Logs the error in the error log and the application log for the instance of the Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine. Errors logged in the error log are currently limited to a maximum of 440 bytes. Only a member of the sysadmin fixed server role or a user with ALTER TRACE permissions can specify WITH LOG.

NOWAIT

Sends messages immediately to the client.

SETERROR

Sets the @@ERROR and ERROR_NUMBER values to msg_id or 50000, regardless of the severity level.

The errors generated by RAISERROR operate the same as errors generated by the Database Engine code. The values specified by RAISERROR are reported by the ERROR_LINE, ERROR_MESSAGE, ERROR_NUMBER, ERROR_PROCEDURE, ERROR_SEVERITY, ERROR_STATE, and @@ERROR system functions. When RAISERROR is run with a severity of 11 or higher in a TRY block, it transfers control to the associated CATCH block. The error is returned to the caller if RAISERROR is run:

  • Outside the scope of any TRY block.

  • With a severity of 10 or lower in a TRY block.

  • With a severity of 20 or higher that terminates the database connection.

CATCH blocks can use RAISERROR to rethrow the error that invoked the CATCH block by using system functions such as ERROR_NUMBER and ERROR_MESSAGE to retrieve the original error information. @@ERROR is set to 0 by default for messages with a severity from 1 through 10.

When msg_id specifies a user-defined message available from the sys.messages catalog view, RAISERROR processes the message from the text column using the same rules as are applied to the text of a user-defined message specified using msg_str. The user-defined message text can contain conversion specifications, and RAISERROR will map argument values into the conversion specifications. Use sp_addmessage to add user-defined error messages and sp_dropmessage to delete user-defined error messages.

RAISERROR can be used as an alternative to PRINT to return messages to calling applications. RAISERROR supports character substitution similar to the functionality of the printf function in the C standard library, while the Transact-SQL PRINT statement does not. The PRINT statement is not affected by TRY blocks, while a RAISERROR run with a severity of 11 to 19 in a TRY block transfers control to the associated CATCH block. Specify a severity of 10 or lower to use RAISERROR to return a message from a TRY block without invoking the CATCH block.

Typically, successive arguments replace successive conversion specifications; the first argument replaces the first conversion specification, the second argument replaces the second conversion specification, and so on. For example, in the following RAISERROR statement, the first argument of N'number' replaces the first conversion specification of %s; and the second argument of 5 replaces the second conversion specification of %d.

RAISERROR (N'This is message %s %d.', -- Message text.
           10, -- Severity,
           1, -- State,
           N'number', -- First argument.
           5); -- Second argument.
-- The message text returned is: This is message number 5.
GO

If an asterisk (*) is specified for either the width or precision of a conversion specification, the value to be used for the width or precision is specified as an integer argument value. In this case, one conversion specification can use up to three arguments, one each for the width, precision, and substitution value.

For example, both of the following RAISERROR statements return the same string. One specifies the width and precision values in the argument list; the other specifies them in the conversion specification.

RAISERROR (N'<<%*.*s>>', -- Message text.
           10, -- Severity,
           1, -- State,
           7, -- First argument used for width.
           3, -- Second argument used for precision.
           N'abcde'); -- Third argument supplies the string.
-- The message text returned is: <<    abc>>.
GO
RAISERROR (N'<<%7.3s>>', -- Message text.
           10, -- Severity,
           1, -- State,
           N'abcde'); -- First argument supplies the string.
-- The message text returned is: <<    abc>>.
GO

A. Returning error information from a CATCH block

The following code example shows how to use RAISERROR inside a TRY block to cause execution to jump to the associated CATCH block. It also shows how to use RAISERROR to return information about the error that invoked the CATCH block.

Note Note

RAISERROR only generates errors with state from 1 through 127. Because the Database Engine may raise errors with state 0, we recommend that you check the error state returned by ERROR_STATE before passing it as a value to the state parameter of RAISERROR.

BEGIN TRY
    -- RAISERROR with severity 11-19 will cause execution to 
    -- jump to the CATCH block.
    RAISERROR ('Error raised in TRY block.', -- Message text.
               16, -- Severity.
               1 -- State.
               );
END TRY
BEGIN CATCH
    DECLARE @ErrorMessage NVARCHAR(4000);
    DECLARE @ErrorSeverity INT;
    DECLARE @ErrorState INT;

    SELECT 
        @ErrorMessage = ERROR_MESSAGE(),
        @ErrorSeverity = ERROR_SEVERITY(),
        @ErrorState = ERROR_STATE();

    -- Use RAISERROR inside the CATCH block to return error
    -- information about the original error that caused
    -- execution to jump to the CATCH block.
    RAISERROR (@ErrorMessage, -- Message text.
               @ErrorSeverity, -- Severity.
               @ErrorState -- State.
               );
END CATCH;

B. Creating an ad hoc message in sys.messages

The following example shows how to raise a message stored in the sys.messages catalog view. The message was added to the sys.messages catalog view by using the sp_addmessage system stored procedure as message number 50005.

sp_addmessage @msgnum = 50005,
              @severity = 10,
              @msgtext = N'<<%7.3s>>';
GO
RAISERROR (50005, -- Message id.
           10, -- Severity,
           1, -- State,
           N'abcde'); -- First argument supplies the string.
-- The message text returned is: <<    abc>>.
GO
sp_dropmessage @msgnum = 50005;
GO

C. Using a local variable to supply the message text

The following code example shows how to use a local variable to supply the message text for a RAISERROR statement.

DECLARE @StringVariable NVARCHAR(50);
SET @StringVariable = N'<<%7.3s>>';

RAISERROR (@StringVariable, -- Message text.
           10, -- Severity,
           1, -- State,
           N'abcde'); -- First argument supplies the string.
-- The message text returned is: <<    abc>>.
GO

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