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COALESCE

SQL Server 2000

Returns the first nonnull expression among its arguments.

Syntax

COALESCE ( expression [ ,...n ] )

Arguments

expression

Is an expression of any type.

n

Is a placeholder indicating that multiple expressions can be specified. All expressions must be of the same type or must be implicitly convertible to the same type.

Return Types

Returns the same value as expression.

Remarks

If all arguments are NULL, COALESCE returns NULL.

COALESCE(expression1,...n) is equivalent to this CASE function:

CASE
   WHEN (expression1 IS NOT NULL) THEN expression1
   ...
   WHEN (expressionN IS NOT NULL) THEN expressionN
   ELSE NULL
Examples

In this example, the wages table is shown to include three columns with information about an employee's yearly wage: hourly_wage, salary, and commission. However, an employee receives only one type of pay. To determine the total amount paid to all employees, use the COALESCE function to receive only the nonnull value found in hourly_wage, salary, and commission.

SET NOCOUNT ON
GO
USE master
IF EXISTS (SELECT TABLE_NAME FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES 
      WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'wages')
   DROP TABLE wages
GO
CREATE TABLE wages
(
   emp_id      tinyint    identity,
   hourly_wage   decimal   NULL,
   salary      decimal    NULL,
   commission   decimal   NULL,
   num_sales   tinyint   NULL
)
GO
INSERT wages VALUES(10.00, NULL, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(20.00, NULL, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(30.00, NULL, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(40.00, NULL, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, 10000.00, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, 20000.00, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, 30000.00, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, 40000.00, NULL, NULL)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, NULL, 15000, 3)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, NULL, 25000, 2)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, NULL, 20000, 6)
INSERT wages VALUES(NULL, NULL, 14000, 4)
GO
SET NOCOUNT OFF
GO
SELECT CAST(COALESCE(hourly_wage * 40 * 52, 
   salary, 
   commission * num_sales) AS money) AS 'Total Salary' 
FROM wages
GO

Here is the result set:

Total Salary 
------------ 
20800.0000
41600.0000
62400.0000
83200.0000
10000.0000
20000.0000
30000.0000
40000.0000
45000.0000
50000.0000
120000.0000
56000.0000

(12 row(s) affected)

See Also

CASE

System Functions

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