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DataTable.Merge Method (DataTable)

Note: This method is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

Merge the specified DataTable with the current DataTable.

Namespace: System.Data
Assembly: System.Data (in

public void Merge (
	DataTable table
public void Merge (
	DataTable table
public function Merge (
	table : DataTable



The DataTable to be merged with the current DataTable.

The Merge method is used to merge two DataTable objects that have largely similar schemas. A merge is typically used on a client application to incorporate the latest changes from a data source into an existing DataTable. This allows the client application to have a refreshed DataTable with the latest data from the data source.

The merge operation takes into account only the original table, and the table to be merged. Child tables are not affected or included. If a table has one or more child tables, defined as part of a relationship, each child table must be merged individually.

The Merge method is typically called at the end of a series of procedures that involve validating changes, reconciling errors, updating the data source with the changes, and finally refreshing the existing DataTable.

When performing a merge, changes made to the existing data before the merge are preserved by default during the merge operation. Developers can modify this behavior by calling one of the other two overloads for this method, and specifying a false value for the preserveChanges parameter.

In a client application, it is usual to have a single button that the user can click that gathers the changed data and validates it before sending it back to a middle tier component. In this scenario, the GetChanges method is first invoked. That method returns a second DataTable optimized for validating and merging. This second DataTable object contains only the DataRow objects that were changed, resulting in a subset of the original DataTable. This subset is generally smaller and thus more efficiently passed back to a middle tier component. The middle tier component then updates the original data source with the changes through stored procedures. The middle tier can then send back either a new DataTable that includes original data and the latest data from the data source (by running the original query again), or it can send back the subset with any changes that have been made to it from the data source. (For example, if the data source automatically creates unique primary key values, these values can be propagated back to the client application.) In either case, the returned DataTable can be merged back into the client application's original DataTable with the Merge method.

When merging a new source DataTable into the target, any source rows with a DataRowState value of Unchanged, Modified, or Deleted, is matched to target rows with the same primary key values. Source rows with a DataRowState value of Added are matched to new target rows with the same primary key values as the new source rows.

The following console application creates a simple DataTable and adds data to the table. The example then creates a copy of the table, adding rows to the copy. Finally, the example calls the Merge method to merge the data in the second table with the data in the first table.

private static void DemonstrateMergeTable()
    DataTable table1 = new DataTable("Items");

    // Add columns
    DataColumn column1 = new DataColumn("id", typeof(System.Int32));
    DataColumn column2 = new DataColumn("item", typeof(System.Int32));

    // Set the primary key column.
    table1.PrimaryKey = new DataColumn[] { column1 ;

    // Add RowChanged event handler for the table.
    table1.RowChanged += 
        new System.Data.DataRowChangeEventHandler(Row_Changed);

    // Add some rows.
    DataRow row;
    for (int i = 0; i <= 3; i++)
        row = table1.NewRow();
        row["id"] = i;
        row["item"] = i;

    // Accept changes.
    PrintValues(table1, "Original values");

    // Create a second DataTable identical to the first.
    DataTable table2 = table1.Clone();

    // Add three rows. Note that the id column can't be the 
    // same as existing rows in the original table.
    row = table2.NewRow();
    row["id"] = 14;
    row["item"] = 774;

    row = table2.NewRow();
    row["id"] = 12;
    row["item"] = 555;

    row = table2.NewRow();
    row["id"] = 13;
    row["item"] = 665;

    // Merge table2 into the table1.
    PrintValues(table1, "Merged With table1");

private static void Row_Changed(object sender, 
    DataRowChangeEventArgs e)
    Console.WriteLine("Row changed {0\t{1", 
        e.Action, e.Row.ItemArray[0]);

private static void PrintValues(DataTable table, string label)
    // Display the values in the supplied DataTable:
    foreach (DataRow row in table.Rows)
        foreach (DataColumn col in table.Columns)
            Console.Write("\t " + row[col].ToString());

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 2.0