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sp_tables (Transact-SQL)

Updated: 12 December 2006

Returns a list of objects that can be queried in the current environment. This means any object that can appear in a FROM clause, except synonym objects.

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To determine the name of the base object of a synonym, query the sys.synonyms catalog view.

Topic link icon Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions


sp_tables [ [ @table_name = ] 'name' ] 
     [ , [ @table_owner = ] 'owner' ] 
     [ , [ @table_qualifier = ] 'qualifier' ] 
     [ , [ @table_type = ] "type" ] 
     [ , [@fUsePattern = ] 'fUsePattern'];
[ @table_name = ] 'name'

Is the table used to return catalog information. name is nvarchar(384), with a default of NULL. Wildcard pattern matching is supported.

[ @table_owner = ] 'owner'

Is the table owner of the table used to return catalog information. owner is nvarchar(384), with a default of NULL. Wildcard pattern matching is supported. If the owner is not specified, the default table visibility rules of the underlying DBMS apply.

In SQL Server, if the current user owns a table with the specified name, the columns of that table are returned. If the owner is not specified and the current user does not own a table with the specified name, this procedure looks for a table with the specified name owned by the database owner. If one exists, the columns of that table are returned.

[ @table_qualifier = ] 'qualifier'

Is the name of the table qualifier. qualifier is sysname, with a default of NULL. Various DBMS products support three-part naming for tables (qualifier.owner.name). In SQL Server, this column represents the database name. In some products, it represents the server name of the table's database environment.

[ , [ @table_type = ] "'type'" ]

Is a list of values, separated by commas, that gives information about all tables of the table types that are specified. These include TABLE, SYSTEMTABLE, and VIEW. type is varchar(100), with a default of NULL.

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Single quotation marks must enclose each table type, and double quotation marks must enclose the whole parameter. Table types must be uppercase. If SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER is ON, each single quotation mark must be doubled and the whole parameter must be enclosed in single quotation marks.

[ @fUsePattern = ] 'fUsePattern'

Determines whether the underscore ( _ ), percent ( % ), and bracket ( [ or ] ) characters are interpreted as wildcard characters. Valid values are 0 (pattern matching is off) and 1 (pattern matching is on). fUsePattern is bit, with a default of 1.

Column name Data type Description

TABLE_QUALIFIER

sysname

Table qualifier name. In SQL Server, this column represents the database name. This field can be NULL.

TABLE_OWNER

sysname

Table owner name. In SQL Server, this column represents the name of the database user who created the table. This field always returns a value.

TABLE_NAME

sysname

Table name. This field always returns a value.

TABLE_TYPE

varchar(32)

Table, system table, or view.

REMARKS

varchar(254)

SQL Server does not return a value for this column.

For maximum interoperability, the gateway client should assume only SQL-92-standard SQL pattern matching (the % and _ wildcard characters).

Privilege information about the current user's read or write access to a specific table is not always checked. Therefore access is not guaranteed. This result set includes not only tables and views, but also synonyms and aliases for gateways to DBMS products that support those types. If the server attribute ACCESSIBLE_TABLES is Y in the result set for sp_server_info, only tables that can be accessed by the current user are returned.

sp_tables is equivalent to SQLTables in ODBC. The results returned are ordered by TABLE_TYPE, TABLE_QUALIFIER, TABLE_OWNER, and TABLE_NAME.

Requires SELECT permission on the schema.

A. Returning a list of objects that can be queried in the current environment

To return a list of objects that can be queries in the current environment, execute:

EXEC sp_tables ;

B. Returning information about the tables in AdventureWorks

The following example returns information about the tables that belong to the Person schema in the AdventureWorks database.

USE AdventureWorks;
GO
EXEC sp_tables 
   @table_name = '%',
   @table_owner = 'Person',
   @table_qualifier = 'AdventureWorks';

Release History

12 December 2006

New content:
  • Clarified that sp_tables does not return information about synonym objects.

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