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sqlcmd Utility

Updated: 17 July 2006

The sqlcmd utility lets you enter Transact-SQL statements, system procedures, and script files at the command prompt, in Query Editor in SQLCMD mode, in a Windows script file or in an operating system (Cmd.exe) job step of a SQL Server Agent job. This utility uses OLE DB to execute Transact-SQL batches.

ms162773.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
SQL Server Management Studio uses the Microsoft .NET Framework SqlClient for execution in regular and SQLCMD mode in Query Editor. When sqlcmd is run from the command line, sqlcmd uses the OLE DB provider. Because different default options may apply, you might see different behavior when you execute the same query in SQL Server Management Studio in SQLCMD Mode and in the sqlcmd utility.


sqlcmd 
[{ { -U login_id [ -P password ] } | –E trusted connection }] 
[ -z new password ] [ -Z new password and exit]
[ -S server_name [ \ instance_name ] ] [ -H wksta_name ] [ -d db_name ]
[ -l login time_out ] [ -A dedicated admin connection ] 
[ -i input_file ] [ -o output_file ]
[ -f < codepage > | i: < codepage > [ < , o: < codepage > ] ]
[ -u unicode output ] [ -r [ 0 | 1 ] msgs to stderr ] 
[ -R use client regional settings ]
[ -q "cmdline query" ] [ -Q "cmdline query" and exit ] 
[ -e echo input ] [ -t query time_out ] 
[ -I enable Quoted Identifiers ] 
[ -v var = "value"...] [ -x disable variable substitution ]
[ -h headers ][ -s col_separator ] [ -w column_width ] 
[ -W remove trailing spaces ]
[ -k [ 1 | 2 ] remove[replace] control characters ] 
[ -y display_width ] [-Y display_width ]
[ -b on error batch abort ] [ -V severitylevel ] [ -m error_level ] 
[ -a packet_size ][ -c cmd_end ] 
[ -L [ c ] list servers[clean output] ] 
[ -p [ 1 ] print statistics[colon format] ] 
[ -X [ 1 ] ] disable commands, startup script, enviroment variables [and exit] 
[ -? show syntax summary ]

Login-Related Options

-U login_id

Is the user login ID.

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The OSQLUSER environment variable is available for backward compatibility. The SQLCMDUSER environment variable takes precedence over the OSQLUSER environment variable. This means that sqlcmd and osql can be used next to each other without interference. It also means that existing osql scripts will continue to work.

If neither the -U option nor the -P option is specified, sqlcmd tries to connect by using Microsoft Windows Authentication mode. Authentication is based on the Windows account of the user who is running sqlcmd.

If the -U option is used with the -E option (described later in this topic), an error message is generated. If the –U option is followed by more than one argument, an error message is generated and the program exits.

-P password

Is a user-specified password. Passwords are case sensitive. If the -U option is used and the -P option is not used, and the SQLCMDPASSWORD environment variable has not been set, sqlcmd prompts the user for a password. If the -P option is used at the end of the command prompt without a password sqlcmd uses the default password (NULL).

ms162773.security(en-US,SQL.90).gifSecurity Note:
Do not use a blank password. Use a strong password. For more information, see Strong Passwords.

The password prompt is displayed by printing the password prompt to the console, as follows: Password:

User input is hidden. This means that nothing is displayed and the cursor stays in position.

The SQLCMDPASSWORD environment variable lets you set a default password for the current session. Therefore, passwords do not have to be hard-coded into batch files.

The following example first sets the SQLCMDPASSWORD variable at the command prompt and then accesses the sqlcmd utility. At the command prompt, type:

SET SQLCMDPASSWORD= p@a$$w0rd

ms162773.security(en-US,SQL.90).gifSecurity Note:
The password will be visible to anyone who can see your computer monitor.

At the following command prompt, type:

sqlcmd

If the user name and password combination is incorrect, the OLE DB provider generates an error message.

ms162773.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifNote:
The OSQLPASSWORD environment variable has been kept for backward compatibility. The SQLCMDPASSWORD environment variable takes precedence over the OSQLPASSWORD environment variable; this means that sqlcmd and osql can be used next to each other without interference and that old scripts will continue to work.

If the -P option is used with the -E option, an error message is generated.

If the -P option is followed by more than one argument, an error message is generated and the program exits.

-E trusted connection

Uses a trusted connection instead of using a user name and password to log on to SQL Server. By default, without -E specified, sqlcmd uses the trusted connection option.

The -E option ignores possible user name and password environment variable settings such as SQLCMDPASSWORD. If the -E option is used together with the -U option or the -P option, an error message is generated.

-z new password

Change password:

sqlcmd -U someuser -P s0mep@ssword -z a_new_p@a$$w0rd

-Z new password and exit

Change password and exit:

sqlcmd -U someuser -P s0mep@ssword -Z a_new_p@a$$w0rd

-S server_name [ \instance_name ]

Specifies the instance of SQL Server to which to connect. It sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDSERVER.

Specify server_name to connect to the default instance of SQL Server on that server computer. Specify server_name [ \instance_name ] to connect to a named instance of SQL Server on that server computer. If no server computer is specified, sqlcmd connects to the default instance of SQL Server on the local computer. This option is required when you execute sqlcmd from a remote computer on the network.

If you do not specify a server_name [ \instance_name ] when you start sqlcmd, SQL Server checks for and uses the SQLCMDSERVER environment variable.

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The OSQLSERVER environment variable has been kept for backward compatibility. The SQLCMDSERVER environment variable takes precedence over the OSQLSERVER environment variable; this means that sqlcmd and osql can be used next to each other without interference and that old scripts will continue to work.

-H wksta_name

Is a workstation name. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDWORKSTATION. The workstation name is listed in the host_name column of the sys.dm_exec_sessions dynamic management view or the name can be returned by using the stored procedure sp_who. If this option is not specified, the default is the current computer name. This name can be used to identify different sqlcmd sessions.

-d db_name

Issues a USE db_name statement when you start sqlcmd. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDDBNAME. This specifies the initial database. The default is your login's default-database property. If the database does not exist, an error message is generated and sqlcmd exits.

-l login time_out

Specifies the number of seconds before a sqlcmd login to the OLE DB provider times out when you try to connect to a server. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDLOGINTIMEOUT. The default time-out for login to sqlcmd is eight seconds. The login time-out must be a number between 0 and 65534. If the value supplied is not numeric or does not fall into that range, sqlcmd generates an error message. A value of 0 specifies time-out to be infinite.

-A dedicated admin connection

Logs in to SQL Server with a Dedicated Administrator Connection (DAC). This kind of connection is used to troubleshoot a server. This will only work with server computers that support DAC. If DAC is not available, sqlcmd generates an error message and then exits. For more information about DAC, see Using a Dedicated Administrator Connection.

Input/Output Options

-i input_file[,input_file2...]

Identifies the file that contains a batch of SQL statements or stored procedures. Multiple files may be specified that will be read and processed in order. Do not use any spaces between file names. sqlcmd will first check to see whether all the specified files exist. If one or more files do not exist, sqlcmd will exit. The -i and the -Q/-q options are mutually exclusive.

Path examples:

-i C:\<filename>

-i \\<Server>\<Share$>\<filename>

-i "C:\Some Folder\<file name>"

File paths that contain spaces must be enclosed in quotation marks.

This option may be used more than once: -i input_file -i I input_file.

-o output_file

Identifies the file that receives output from sqlcmd.

If -u is specified, the output_file is stored in Unicode format. If the file name is not valid, an error message is generated, and sqlcmd exits. sqlcmd does not support concurrent writing of multiple sqlcmd processes to the same file. The file output will be corrupted or incorrect. See the -f switch for more information about file formats. This file will be created if it does not exist. A file of the same name from a prior sqlcmd session will be overwritten. The file specified here is not the stdout file. If a stdout file is specified this file will not be used.

Path examples:

-o C:\< filename>

-o \\<Server>\<Share$>\<filename>

-o "C:\Some Folder\<file name>"

File paths that contain spaces must be enclosed in quotation marks.

-f < codepage > | i: < codepage > [ < , o: < codepage > ]

Specifies the input and output code pages. The codepage number is a numeric value that specifies an installed Windows code page. For more information, see Collation Settings in Setup.

Code-page conversion rules:

  • If no code pages are specified, sqlcmd will use the current code page for both input and output files, unless the input file is a Unicode file, in which case no conversion is required.
  • sqlcmd automatically recognizes both big-endian and little-endian Unicode input files. If the -u option has been specified, the output will always be little-endian Unicode.
  • If no output file is specified, the output code page will be the console code page. This enables the output to be displayed correctly on the console.
  • Multiple input files are assumed to be of the same code page. Unicode and non-Unicode input files can be mixed.

Enter chcp at the command prompt to verify the code page of Cmd.exe.

-u unicode output

Specifies that output_file is stored in Unicode format, regardless of the format of input_file.

-r [ 0 | 1] msgs to stderr

Redirects the error message output to the screen (stderr). If you do not specify a parameter or if you specify 0, only error messages that have a severity level of 11 or higher are redirected. If you specify 1, all error message output including PRINT is redirected. Has no effect if you use -o. By default, messages are sent to stdout.

-R use client regional settings

Sets the SQL Server OLE DB provider to use client regional settings when it converts currency, and date and time data to character data. The default is server regional settings.

Query Execution Options

-q " cmdline query "

Executes a query when sqlcmd starts, but does not exit sqlcmd when the query has finished running. Multiple-semicolon-delimited queries can be executed. Use quotation marks around the query, as shown in the following example.

At the command prompt, type:

sqlcmd -d AdventureWorks -q "SELECT FirstName, LastName FROM Person.Contact WHERE LastName LIKE 'Whi%';"

sqlcmd -d AdventureWorks -q "SELECT TOP 5 FirstName FROM Person.Contact;SELECT TOP 5 LastName FROM Person.Contact;"

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Do not use the GO terminator in the query.

If -b is specified together with this option, sqlcmd exits on error. -b is described later in this topic.

-Q " cmdline query " and exit

Executes a query when sqlcmd starts and then immediately exits sqlcmd. Multiple-semicolon-delimited queries can be executed.

Use quotation marks around the query, as shown in the following example.

At the command prompt, type:

sqlcmd -d AdventureWorks -Q "SELECT FirstName, LastName FROM Person.Contact WHERE LastName LIKE 'Whi%';"

sqlcmd -d AdventureWorks -Q "SELECT TOP 5 FirstName FROM Person.Contact;SELECT TOP 5 LastName FROM Person.Contact;"

ms162773.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
Do not use the GO terminator in the query.

If -b is specified together with this option, sqlcmd exits on error. -b is described later in this topic.

-e echo input

Writes input scripts to the standard output device (stdout).

-I enable Quoted Identifiers

Sets the SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER connection option to ON. By default, it is set to OFF. For more information, see SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER (Transact-SQL).

-t query time_out

Specifies the number of seconds before a command (or SQL statement) times out. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDSTATTIMEOUT. If a time_out value is not specified, the command does not time out. The query time_out must be a number between 1 and 65535. If the value supplied is not numeric or does not fall into that range, sqlcmd generates an error message.

Note   The actual time out value may vary from the specified time_out value by several seconds.

-v var=value[ var=value...]

Creates a sqlcmd scripting variable that can be used in a sqlcmd script. Enclose the value in quotation marks if the value contains spaces. You can specify multiple var="values" values. If there are errors in any of the values specified, sqlcmd generates an error message and then exits.

sqlcmd -v MyVar1=something MyVar2="some thing"

sqlcmd -v MyVar1=something -v MyVar2="some thing"

-x disable variable substitution

Causes sqlcmd to ignore scripting variables. This is useful when a script contains many INSERT statements that may contain strings that have the same format as regular variables, such as $(variable_name).

Formatting Options

-h headers

Specifies the number of rows to print between the column headings. The default is to print headings one time for each set of query results. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDHEADERS. Use -1 to specify that headers must not be printed. Any value that is not valid causes sqlcmd to generate an error message and then exit.

-s col_separator

Specifies the column-separator character. The default is a blank space. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDCOLSEP. To use characters that have special meaning to the operating system such as the ampersand (&), or semicolon (;), enclose the character in quotation marks ("). The column separator can be any 8-bit character.

-w column_width

Specifies the screen width for output. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDCOLWIDTH. The column width must be a number greater than 8 and less than 65536. If the specified column width does not fall into that range, sqlcmd generates and error message. The default width is 80 characters. When an output line exceeds the specified column width, it wraps on to the next line.

-W remove trailing spaces

This option removes trailing spaces from a column. Use this option together with the -s option when preparing data that is to be exported to another application. Cannot be used with the -y or -Y options.

-k [ 1 | 2 ] remove[replace] control characters

Removes all control characters, such as tabs and new line characters from the output. This preserves column formatting when data is returned. If 1 is specified, the control characters are replaced by a single space. If 2 is specified, consecutive control characters are replaced by a single space.

-y display_width

Sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDMAXVARTYPEWIDTH. The default = 0 (not set). It limits the number of characters that are returned for variable length data types:

  • varchar(max)
  • nvarchar(max)
  • varbinary(max)
  • xml
  • UDT (user-defined types)
  • text
  • ntext
  • image
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UDTs can be of fixed length depending on the implementation. If this length of a fixed length UDT is shorter that display_width, the value of the UDT returned is not affected. However, if the length is longer than display_width, the output is truncated.

If display_width is 0, the output is truncated at 1 MB. You can use the :XML ON command to prevent truncation of the output. The :XML ON command is described later in this topic.

ms162773.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
Use the -y 0 option with extreme caution because it may cause serious performance issues on both the server and the network, depending on the size of data returned.

-Y display_width

Sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDMAXFIXEDTYPEWIDTH. The default is 256. Limits the number of characters that are returned for the following data types:

  • char, where 1<n<8000
  • nchar where 1<n<4000
  • varchar(n) where 1<n<8000
  • nvarchar(n) where 1<n<4000
  • varbinary(n) where 1<n<8000
  • sql_variant
Error Reporting Options

-b on error batch abort

Specifies that sqlcmd exits and returns a DOS ERRORLEVEL value when an error occurs. The value that is returned to the DOS ERRORLEVEL variable is 1 when the SQL Server error message has a severity level greater than 10; otherwise, the value returned is 0. If the -V option has been set in addition to -b, sqlcmd will not report an error if the severity level is lower than the values set using -V. Command prompt batch files can test the value of ERRORLEVEL and handle the error appropriately. sqlcmd does not report errors for severity level 10 (informational messages).

If the sqlcmd script contains an incorrect comment, syntax error, or is missing a scripting variable, ERRORLEVEL returned is 1.

-V severitylevel

Specifies the lowest severity level that sqlcmd reports. When an error occurs in a Transact-SQL script, the severity level will be reported only if the severity level is greater than or equal to the value specified by the -V switch. If the severity level is lower then 0 is reported. The default error level is 0. Command prompt batch files can test the value of ERRORLEVEL and handle the error appropriately.

-m error_level

Customizes the display of error messages. The message number, the state, and the error level are displayed for errors higher than the specified severity level. No information is displayed for errors at severity levels that are lower than the level specified. Use -1 to specify that all headers are returned with messages, even informational messages. If -1 is specified, do not include a space between the parameter and the setting (for example, -m-1 not -m -1).

This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDERRORLEVEL, which has a default of 0.

Miscellaneous Options

-a packet_size

Requests a packet of a different size. This option sets the sqlcmd scripting variable SQLCMDPACKETSIZE. packet_size must be a value between 512 and 32767. The default = 4096. A larger packet size can enhance performance for execution of scripts that have lots of SQL statements between GO commands. You can request a larger packet size. However, if the request is denied, sqlcmd uses the server default for packet size.

-c cmd_end

Specifies the batch terminator. By default, commands are terminated and sent to SQL Server by typing the word "GO" on a line by itself. When you reset the batch terminator, do not use Transact-SQL reserved keywords or characters that have special meaning to the operating system, even if they are preceded by a backslash.

-L [ c ] list servers[clean output]

Lists the locally configured server computers, and the names of the server computers that are broadcasting on the network. This parameter cannot be used in combination with other parameters. The maximum number of server computers that can be listed is 3000. If the server list is truncated because of the size of the buffer a warning message is displayed.

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Because of the nature of broadcasting on networks, sqlcmd may not receive a timely response from all servers. Therefore, the list of servers returned may vary for each invocation of this option.

If the optional parameter c is specified, the output appears without the Servers: header line and each server line is listed without leading spaces. This is referred to as clean output. Clean output improves the processing performance of scripting languages.

-p [ 1 ] print statistics[colon format]

Prints performance statistics for every result set. The following is an example of the format for performance statistics:

Network packet size (bytes): n

x xact[s]:

Clock Time (ms.): total t1 avg t2 (t3 xacts per sec.)

Where:

x = Number of transactions that are processed by SQL Server.

t1 = Total time for all transactions.

t2 = Average time for a single transaction.

t3 = Average number of transactions per second.

All times are in milliseconds.

If the optional parameter 1 is specified, the output format of the statistics is in colon-separated format that can be imported easily into a spreadsheet or processed by a script.

If the optional parameter is any value other than 1, an error is generated and sqlcmd exits.

-X [ 1 ] disable commands, startup script, enviroment variables [and exit]

Disables commands that might compromise system security when sqlcmd is executed from a batch file. The disabled commands are still recognized; sqlcmd issues a warning message and continues. If the optional parameter 1 is specified, sqlcmd generates an error message and then exits. The following commands are disabled when the -X option is used:

  • ED
  • !! command

If the -X option is specified, it prevents environment variables from being passed on to sqlcmd. It also prevents the startup script specified by using the SQLCMDINI scripting variable from being executed. For more information about sqlcmd scripting variables, see Using sqlcmd with Scripting Variables.

-? show syntax summary

Displays the syntax summary of sqlcmd options.

Options do not have to be used in the order shown in the syntax section.

When multiple results are returned, sqlcmd prints a blank line between each result set in a batch. In addition, the "<x> rows affected" message does not appear when it does not apply to the statement executed.

To use sqlcmd interactively, type sqlcmd at the command prompt with any one or more of the options described earlier in this topic. For more information, see Using the sqlcmd Utility.

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The options -L, -Q, -Z or -i cause sqlcmd to exit after execution.

The total length of the sqlcmd command line in the command environment (Cmd.exe), including all arguments and expanded variables, is that which is determined by the operating system for Cmd.exe. This varies by operating system. For Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, the length is 8191; and for Windows 2000 and Windows NT4, the length is 2047.

  1. System-level environmental variables.
  2. User-level environmental variables
  3. Command shell (SET X=Y) set at command prompt before running sqlcmd.
  4. sqlcmd -v X=Y
  5. :Setvar X Y
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To view the environmental variables, in Control Panel, open System, and then click the Advanced tab.

Variable Related switch R/W Default

SQLCMDUSER

-U

R

""

SQLCMDPASSWORD

-P

--

""

SQLCMDSERVER

-S

R

"DefaultLocalInstance"

SQLCMDWORKSTATION

-H

R

"ComputerName"

SQLCMDDBNAME

-d

R

""

SQLCMDLOGINTIMEOUT

-l

R/W

"8" (seconds)

SQLCMDSTATTIMEOUT

-t

R/W

"0" = wait indefinitely

SQLCMDHEADERS

-h

R/W

"0"

SQLCMDCOLSEP

-s

R/W

" "

SQLCMDCOLWIDTH

-w

R/W

"0"

SQLCMDPACKETSIZE

-a

R

"4096"

SQLCMDERRORLEVEL

-m

R/W

0

SQLCMDMAXVARTYPEWIDTH

-y

R/W

"256"

SQLCMDMAXFIXEDTYPEWIDTH

-Y

R/W

"0" = unlimited

SQLCMDEDITOR

R/W

"edit.com"

SQLCMDINI

R

""

SQLCMDUSER, SQLCMDPASSWORD and SQLCMDSERVER are set when :Connect

is used.

R indicates the value can only be set one time during program initialization.

R/W indicates that the value can be modified by using the setvar command and subsequent commands will be influenced by the new value.

In addition to Transact-SQL statements within sqlcmd, the following commands are also available:

GO [count]

:List

[:] RESET

:Error

[:] ED

:Out

[:] !!

:Perftrace

[:] QUIT

:Connect

[:] EXIT

:On Error

:r

:Help

:ServerList

:XML [ON | OFF]

:Setvar

:Listvar

Be aware of the following when you use sqlcmd commands:

  • All sqlcmd commands, except GO, must be prefixed by a colon (:).
    ms162773.note(en-US,SQL.90).gifImportant:
    To maintain backward compatibility with existing osql scripts, some of the commands will be recognized without the colon. This is indicated by the [:].

  • sqlcmd commands are recognized only if they appear at the start of a line.
  • All sqlcmd commands are case insensitive.
  • Each command must be on a separate line. A command cannot be followed by a Transact-SQL statement or another command.
  • Commands are executed immediately. They are not put in the execution buffer as statements are.
Editing Commands

[:] ED

Starts the text editor. This editor can be used to edit the current Transact-SQL batch, or the last executed batch. To edit the last executed batch, the ED command must be typed immediately after the last batch has completed execution.

The text editor is defined by the SQLCMDEDITOR environment variable. The default editor is 'Edit'. To change the editor, set the SQLCMDEDITOR environment variable. For example, to set the editor to Microsoft Notepad, at the command prompt, type:

SET SQLCMDEDITOR=notepad

[:] RESET

Clears the statement cache.

:List

Prints the content of the statement cache.

Variables

:Setvar <var> [ "value" ]

Defines sqlcmd scripting variables. Scripting variables have the following format: $(VARNAME).

Variable names are case insensitive.

Scripting variables can be set in the following ways:

  • Implicitly using a command-line option. For example, the -l option sets the SQLCMDLOGINTIMEOUT sqlcmd variable.
  • Explicitly by using the :Setvar command.
  • By defining an environment variable before you run sqlcmd.
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The -X option prevents environment variables from being passed on to sqlcmd.

If a variable defined by using :Setvar and an environment variable have the same name, the variable defined by using :Setvar takes precedence.

Variable names must not contain blank space characters.

Variable names cannot have the same form as a variable expression, such as $(var).

If the string value of the scripting variable contains blank spaces, enclose the value in quotation marks. If a value for a scripting variable is not specified, the scripting variable is dropped.

:Listvar

Displays a list of the scripting variables that are currently set.

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Only scripting variables that are set by sqlcmd, and those that are set using the :Setvar command will be displayed.

Output Commands

:Error < filename >| STDERR|STDOUT

Redirect all error output to the file specified by file name, to stderr or to stdout. The Error command can appear multiple times in a script. By default, error output is sent to stderr.

file name

Creates and opens a file that will receive the output. If the file already exists, it will be truncated to zero bytes. If the file is not available because of permissions or other reasons, the output will not be switched and will be sent to the last specified or default destination.

STDERR

Switches error output to the stderr stream. If this has been redirected, the target to which the stream has been redirected will receive the error output.

STDOUT

Switches error output to the stdout stream. If this has been redirected, the target to which the stream has been redirected will receive the error output.

:Out < filename>| STDERR| STDOUT

Creates and redirects all query results to the file specified by file name, to stderr or to stdout. By default, output is sent to stdout. If the file already exists, it will be truncated to zero bytes. The Out command can appear multiple times in a script.

:Perftrace < filename>| STDERR| STDOUT

Creates and redirects all performance trace information to the file specified by file name, to stderr or to stdout. By default performance trace output is sent to stdout. If the file already exists, it will be truncated to zero bytes. The Perftrace command can appear multiple times in a script.

Execution Control Commands

:On Error[ exit | ignore]

Sets the action to be performed when an error occurs during script or batch execution.

When the exit option is used, sqlcmd exits with the appropriate error value.

When the ignore option is used, sqlcmd ignores the error and continues executing the batch or script. By default, an error message will be printed.

[:] QUIT

Causes sqlcmd to exit.

[:] EXIT[ (statement) ]

Lets you use the result of a SELECT statement as the return value from sqlcmd. The first column of the first result row is converted to a 4-byte integer (long). MS-DOS passes the low byte to the parent process or operating system error level. Windows 2000 passes the whole 4-byte integer. The syntax is:

:EXIT(query)

For example:

:EXIT(SELECT @@ROWCOUNT)

You can also include the EXIT parameter as part of a batch file. For example, at the command prompt, type:

sqlcmd -Q "EXIT(SELECT COUNT(*) FROM '%1')"

The sqlcmd utility sends everything between the parentheses ( ) to the server. If a system stored procedure selects a set and returns a value, only the selection is returned. The EXIT( ) statement with nothing between the parentheses executes everything before it in the batch and then exits without a return value.

When an incorrect query is specified, sqlcmd will exit without a return value.

Here is a list of EXIT formats:

  • :EXIT

Does not execute the batch, and then quits immediately and returns no value.

  • :EXIT( )

Executes the batch, and then quits and returns no value.

  • :EXIT(query)

Executes the batch that includes the query, and then quits after it returns the results of the query.

If RAISERROR is used within a sqlcmd script and a state of 127 is raised, sqlcmd will quit and return the message ID back to the client. For example:

RAISERROR(50001, 10, 127)

This error will cause the sqlcmd script to end and return the message ID 50001 to the client.

The return values -1 to -99 are reserved by SQL Server; sqlcmd defines the following additional return values:

Return Values Description

-100

Error encountered prior to selecting return value.

-101

No rows found when selecting return value.

-102

Conversion error occurred when selecting return value.

GO [count]

GO signals both the end of a batch and the execution of any cached Transact-SQL statements. When specifying a value for count, the cached statements will be executed count times, as a single batch.

Miscellaneous Commands

:r < filename>

Parses additional Transact-SQL statements and sqlcmd commands from the file specified by <filename> into the statement cache.

If the file contains statements that arenot followed by GO, you must enter GO on the line that follows :r.

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<filename> is read relative to the startup directory in which sqlcmd was run.

The file will be read and executed after a batch terminator is encountered. You can issue multiple :r commands. The file may include any sqlcmd command. This includes the batch terminator GO.

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The line count that is displayed in interactive mode will be increased by one for every :r command encountered. The :r command will appear in the output of the list command.

:Serverlist

Lists the locally configured servers and the names of the servers broadcasting on the network.

:Connect server_name[\instance_name] [-l timeout] [-U user_name [-P password]]

Connects to an instance of SQL Server. Also closes the current connection.

Time-out options:

0

wait forever

n>0

wait for n seconds

The SQLCMDSERVER scripting variable will reflect the current active connection.

If timeout is not specified, the value of the SQLCMDLOGINTIMEOUT variable is the default.

If only user_name is specified (either as an option, or as an environment variable), the user will be prompted to enter a password. This is not true if the SQLCMDUSER or SQLCMDPASSWORD environment variables have been set. If neither options nor environment variables are provided, Windows authentication mode is used to login. For example to connect to an instance, instance1, of SQL Server, myserver, by using integrated security you would use the following:

:connect myserver\instance1

To connect to the default instance of myserver using scripting variables, you would use the following:

:setvar myusername test

:setvar myservername myserver

:connect $(myservername) $(myusername)

[:] !!< command>

Executes operating system commands. To execute an operating system command, start a line with two exclamation marks (!!) followed by the operating system command. For example:

:!! Dir

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The command is executed on the computer on which sqlcmd is running.

:XML [ON | OFF]

For more information, see "XML Output Format," later in this topic

:Help

Lists sqlcmd commands together with a short description of each command.

sqlcmd File Names

sqlcmd input files can be specified with the -i option or the :r command. Output files can be specified with the -o option or the :Error, :Out and :Perftrace commands. The following are some guidelines for working with these files:

  • :Error, :Out and :Perftrace should use separate <filename>. If the same <filename> is used, inputs from the commands may be intermixed.
  • If an input file that is located on a remote server is called from sqlcmd on a local computer and the file contains a drive file path such as :out c:\OutputFile.txt. The output file will be created on the local computer and not on the remote server.
  • Valid file paths include: C:\<filename>, \\<Server>\<Share$>\<filename> and "C:\Some Folder\<file name>". If there is a space in the path, use quotation marks.
  • Each new sqlcmd session will overwrite existing files that have the same names.

Informational Messages

sqlcmd prints any informational message that are sent by the server. In the following example, after the Transact-SQL statements are executed, an informational message is printed.

At the command prompt, type the following:

sqlcmd

At the sqlcmd prompt type:

USE AdventureWorks;

GO

When you press ENTER, the following informational message is printed: "Changed database context to 'AdventureWorks'."

Output Format from Transact-SQL Queries

sqlcmd first prints a column header that contains the column names specified in the select list. The column names are separated by using the SQLCMDCOLSEP character. By default, this is a space. If the column name is shorter than the column width, the output is padded with spaces up to the next column.

This line will be followed by a separator line that is a series of dash characters. The following output shows an example.

Start sqlcmd. At the sqlcmd command prompt, type the following:

USE AdventureWorks;

SELECT TOP (2) Person.ContactID, FirstName, LastName

FROM Person.Contact;

GO

When you press ENTER, the following result set is retuned.

ContactID FirstName LastName

----------- ------------ ----------

1 Syed Abbas

2 Catherine Abel

(2 row(s) affected)

Although the ContactID column is only 4 characters wide, it has been expanded to accommodate the longer column name. By default, output is terminated at 80 characters. This can be changed by using the -w option, or by setting the SQLCMDCOLWIDTH scripting variable.

XML Output Format

XML output that is the result of a FOR XML clause is output, unformatted, in a continuous stream.

When you expect XML output, use the following command: :XML ON.

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sqlcmd returns error messages in the usual format. Notice that the error messages are also output in the XML text stream in XML format. By using :XML ON, sqlcmd does not display informational messages.

To set the XML mode off, use the following command: :XML OFF.

The GO command should not appear before the XML OFF command is issued because the XML OFF command switches sqlcmd back to row-oriented output.

XML (streamed) data and rowset data cannot be mixed. If the XML ON command has not been issued before a Transact-SQL statement that outputs XML streams is executed, the output will be garbled. If the XML ON command has been issued, you cannot execute Transact-SQL statements that output regular row sets.

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The :XML command does not support the SET STATISTICS XML statement.

Use the following practices to help maximize security and efficiency.

  • Use integrated security.
  • Use -X in automated environments.
  • Secure input and output files by using appropriate NTFS file system permissions.
  • To increase performance, do as much in one sqlcmd session as you can, instead of in a series of sessions.
  • Set time-out values for batch or query execution higher than you expect it will take to execute the batch or query.

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