Returns a varbinary bit pattern that indicates the columns in a table or view that were inserted or updated. COLUMNS_UPDATED is used anywhere inside the body of a Transact-SQL INSERT or UPDATE trigger to test whether the trigger should execute certain actions.
Applies to: SQL Server (SQL Server 2008 through current version), Azure SQL Database.
COLUMNS_UPDATED tests for UPDATE or INSERT actions performed on multiple columns. To test for UPDATE or INSERT attempts on one column, use UPDATE().
COLUMNS_UPDATED returns one or more bytes that are ordered from left to right, with the least significant bit in each byte being the rightmost. The rightmost bit of the leftmost byte represents the first column in the table; the next bit to the left represents the second column, and so on. COLUMNS_UPDATED returns multiple bytes if the table on which the trigger is created contains more than eight columns, with the least significant byte being the leftmost. COLUMNS_UPDATED returns TRUE for all columns in INSERT actions because the columns have either explicit values or implicit (NULL) values inserted.
To test for updates or inserts to specific columns, follow the syntax with a bitwise operator and an integer bitmask of the columns being tested. For example, table t1 contains columns C1, C2, C3, C4, and C5. To verify that columns C2, C3, and C4 are all updated (with table t1 having an UPDATE trigger), follow the syntax with & 14. To test whether only column C2 is updated, specify & 2.
COLUMNS_UPDATED can be used anywhere inside a Transact-SQL INSERT or UPDATE trigger.
The ORDINAL_POSITION column of the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS view is not compatible with the bit pattern of columns returned by COLUMNS_UPDATED. To obtain a bit pattern compatible with COLUMNS_UPDATED, reference the ColumnID property of the COLUMNPROPERTY system function when you query the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS view, as shown in the following example.
SELECT TABLE_NAME, COLUMN_NAME, COLUMNPROPERTY(OBJECT_ID(TABLE_SCHEMA + '.' + TABLE_NAME), COLUMN_NAME, 'ColumnID') AS COLUMN_ID FROM AdventureWorks2012.INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'Person';
When a column set is defined on a table, the COLUMNS_UPDATED function behaves in the following ways:
When a column that is a member of the column set is explicitly updated, the corresponding bit for that column is set to 1, and the bit for the column set is set to 1.
When a column set is explicitly updated, the bit for the column set is set to 1, and the bits for all of the sparse columns in that table are set to 1.
For insert operations, all bits are set to 1.
Because changes to a column set cause the bits of all columns in the column set to be set to 1, columns in a column set that were not changed will appear to have been modified. For more information about columns sets, see Use Column Sets.
A. Using COLUMNS_UPDATED to test the first eight columns of a table
The following example creates two tables: employeeData and auditEmployeeData. The employeeData table holds sensitive employee payroll information and can be modified by members of the human resources department. If the social security number (SSN), yearly salary, or bank account number for an employee is changed, an audit record is generated and inserted into the auditEmployeeData audit table.
By using COLUMNS_UPDATED(), tests for any changes to the columns that contain sensitive employee information can be quickly made. Using COLUMNS_UPDATED() in this way works only when you are trying to detect changes to the first eight columns in the table.
USE AdventureWorks2012; GO IF EXISTS(SELECT TABLE_NAME FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'employeeData') DROP TABLE employeeData; IF EXISTS(SELECT TABLE_NAME FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'auditEmployeeData') DROP TABLE auditEmployeeData; GO CREATE TABLE dbo.employeeData ( emp_id int NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY, emp_bankAccountNumber char (10) NOT NULL, emp_salary int NOT NULL, emp_SSN char (11) NOT NULL, emp_lname nchar (32) NOT NULL, emp_fname nchar (32) NOT NULL, emp_manager int NOT NULL ); GO CREATE TABLE dbo.auditEmployeeData ( audit_log_id uniqueidentifier DEFAULT NEWID() PRIMARY KEY, audit_log_type char (3) NOT NULL, audit_emp_id int NOT NULL, audit_emp_bankAccountNumber char (10) NULL, audit_emp_salary int NULL, audit_emp_SSN char (11) NULL, audit_user sysname DEFAULT SUSER_SNAME(), audit_changed datetime DEFAULT GETDATE() ); GO CREATE TRIGGER dbo.updEmployeeData ON dbo.employeeData AFTER UPDATE AS /*Check whether columns 2, 3 or 4 have been updated. If any or all columns 2, 3 or 4 have been changed, create an audit record. The bitmask is: power(2,(2-1))+power(2,(3-1))+power(2,(4-1)) = 14. To test whether all columns 2, 3, and 4 are updated, use = 14 instead of >0 (below).*/ IF (COLUMNS_UPDATED() & 14) > 0 /*Use IF (COLUMNS_UPDATED() & 14) = 14 to see whether all columns 2, 3, and 4 are updated.*/ BEGIN -- Audit OLD record. INSERT INTO dbo.auditEmployeeData (audit_log_type, audit_emp_id, audit_emp_bankAccountNumber, audit_emp_salary, audit_emp_SSN) SELECT 'OLD', del.emp_id, del.emp_bankAccountNumber, del.emp_salary, del.emp_SSN FROM deleted del; -- Audit NEW record. INSERT INTO dbo.auditEmployeeData (audit_log_type, audit_emp_id, audit_emp_bankAccountNumber, audit_emp_salary, audit_emp_SSN) SELECT 'NEW', ins.emp_id, ins.emp_bankAccountNumber, ins.emp_salary, ins.emp_SSN FROM inserted ins; END; GO /*Inserting a new employee does not cause the UPDATE trigger to fire.*/ INSERT INTO employeeData VALUES ( 101, 'USA-987-01', 23000, 'R-M53550M', N'Mendel', N'Roland', 32); GO /*Updating the employee record for employee number 101 to change the salary to 51000 causes the UPDATE trigger to fire and an audit trail to be produced.*/ UPDATE dbo.employeeData SET emp_salary = 51000 WHERE emp_id = 101; GO SELECT * FROM auditEmployeeData; GO /*Updating the employee record for employee number 101 to change both the bank account number and social security number (SSN) causes the UPDATE trigger to fire and an audit trail to be produced.*/ UPDATE dbo.employeeData SET emp_bankAccountNumber = '133146A0', emp_SSN = 'R-M53550M' WHERE emp_id = 101; GO SELECT * FROM dbo.auditEmployeeData; GO
B. Using COLUMNS_UPDATED to test more than eight columns
To test for updates that affect columns other than the first eight columns in a table, use the SUBSTRING function to test the correct bit returned by COLUMNS_UPDATED. The following example tests for updates that affect columns 3, 5, and 9 in the AdventureWorks2012.Person.Person table.
USE AdventureWorks2012; GO IF OBJECT_ID (N'Person.uContact2', N'TR') IS NOT NULL DROP TRIGGER Person.uContact2; GO CREATE TRIGGER Person.uContact2 ON Person.Person AFTER UPDATE AS IF ( (SUBSTRING(COLUMNS_UPDATED(),1,1) & 20 = 20) AND (SUBSTRING(COLUMNS_UPDATED(),2,1) & 1 = 1) ) PRINT 'Columns 3, 5 and 9 updated'; GO UPDATE Person.Person SET NameStyle = NameStyle, FirstName=FirstName, EmailPromotion=EmailPromotion; GO