UNION (Transact-SQL)
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UNION (Transact-SQL)

 

THIS TOPIC APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server (starting with 2008)yesAzure SQL DatabaseyesAzure SQL Data Warehouse yesParallel Data Warehouse

Combines the results of two or more queries into a single result set that includes all the rows that belong to all queries in the union. The UNION operation is different from using joins that combine columns from two tables.

The following are basic rules for combining the result sets of two queries by using UNION:

  • The number and the order of the columns must be the same in all queries.

  • The data types must be compatible.

Topic link icon Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions

  
    { <query_specification> | ( <query_expression> ) }   
  UNION [ ALL ]   
  <query_specification | ( <query_expression> )   
 [ UNION [ ALL ] <query_specification> | ( <query_expression> )   
    [ ...n ] ]   

-- Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Parallel Data Warehouse  
    { <query_specification> | ( <query_expression> ) }   
  UNION [ ALL ]   
  <query_specification | ( <query_expression> )   
 [ UNION [ ALL ] <query_specification> | ( <query_expression> )   
    [ ...n ] ]   

<query_specification> | ( <query_expression> )
Is a query specification or query expression that returns data to be combined with the data from another query specification or query expression. The definitions of the columns that are part of a UNION operation do not have to be the same, but they must be compatible through implicit conversion. When data types differ, the resulting data type is determined based on the rules for data type precedence. When the types are the same but differ in precision, scale, or length, the result is determined based on the same rules for combining expressions. For more information, see Precision, Scale, and Length (Transact-SQL).

Columns of the xml data type must be equivalent. All columns must be either typed to an XML schema or untyped. If typed, they must be typed to the same XML schema collection.

UNION
Specifies that multiple result sets are to be combined and returned as a single result set.

ALL
Incorporates all rows into the results. This includes duplicates. If not specified, duplicate rows are removed.

A. Using a simple UNION

In the following example, the result set includes the contents of the ProductModelID and Name columns of both the ProductModel and Gloves tables.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.Gloves', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.Gloves;  
GO  
-- Create Gloves table.  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
INTO dbo.Gloves  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID IN (3, 4);  
GO  
  
-- Here is the simple union.  
-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID NOT IN (3, 4)  
UNION  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM dbo.Gloves  
ORDER BY Name;  
GO  

B. Using SELECT INTO with UNION

In the following example, the INTO clause in the second SELECT statement specifies that the table named ProductResults holds the final result set of the union of the designated columns of the ProductModel and Gloves tables. Note that the Gloves table is created in the first SELECT statement.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.ProductResults', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.ProductResults;  
GO  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.Gloves', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.Gloves;  
GO  
-- Create Gloves table.  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
INTO dbo.Gloves  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID IN (3, 4);  
GO  
  
-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
INTO dbo.ProductResults  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID NOT IN (3, 4)  
UNION  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM dbo.Gloves;  
GO  
  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name   
FROM dbo.ProductResults;  
  

C. Using UNION of two SELECT statements with ORDER BY

The order of certain parameters used with the UNION clause is important. The following example shows the incorrect and correct use of UNION in two SELECT statements in which a column is to be renamed in the output.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.Gloves', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.Gloves;  
GO  
-- Create Gloves table.  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
INTO dbo.Gloves  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID IN (3, 4);  
GO  
  
/* INCORRECT */  
-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID NOT IN (3, 4)  
ORDER BY Name  
UNION  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM dbo.Gloves;  
GO  
  
/* CORRECT */  
-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM Production.ProductModel  
WHERE ProductModelID NOT IN (3, 4)  
UNION  
SELECT ProductModelID, Name  
FROM dbo.Gloves  
ORDER BY Name;  
GO  
  

D. Using UNION of three SELECT statements to show the effects of ALL and parentheses

The following examples use UNION to combine the results of three tables that all have the same 5 rows of data. The first example uses UNION ALL to show the duplicated records, and returns all 15 rows. The second example uses UNION without ALL to eliminate the duplicate rows from the combined results of the three SELECT statements, and returns 5 rows.

The third example uses ALL with the first UNION and parentheses enclose the second UNION that is not using ALL. The second UNION is processed first because it is in parentheses, and returns 5 rows because the ALL option is not used and the duplicates are removed. These 5 rows are combined with the results of the first SELECT by using the UNION ALL keywords. This does not remove the duplicates between the two sets of 5 rows. The final result has 10 rows.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.EmployeeOne', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.EmployeeOne;  
GO  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.EmployeeTwo', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.EmployeeTwo;  
GO  
IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.EmployeeThree', 'U') IS NOT NULL  
DROP TABLE dbo.EmployeeThree;  
GO  
  
SELECT pp.LastName, pp.FirstName, e.JobTitle   
INTO dbo.EmployeeOne  
FROM Person.Person AS pp JOIN HumanResources.Employee AS e  
ON e.BusinessEntityID = pp.BusinessEntityID  
WHERE LastName = 'Johnson';  
GO  
SELECT pp.LastName, pp.FirstName, e.JobTitle   
INTO dbo.EmployeeTwo  
FROM Person.Person AS pp JOIN HumanResources.Employee AS e  
ON e.BusinessEntityID = pp.BusinessEntityID  
WHERE LastName = 'Johnson';  
GO  
SELECT pp.LastName, pp.FirstName, e.JobTitle   
INTO dbo.EmployeeThree  
FROM Person.Person AS pp JOIN HumanResources.Employee AS e  
ON e.BusinessEntityID = pp.BusinessEntityID  
WHERE LastName = 'Johnson';  
GO  
-- Union ALL  
SELECT LastName, FirstName, JobTitle  
FROM dbo.EmployeeOne  
UNION ALL  
SELECT LastName, FirstName ,JobTitle  
FROM dbo.EmployeeTwo  
UNION ALL  
SELECT LastName, FirstName,JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeThree;  
GO  
  
SELECT LastName, FirstName,JobTitle  
FROM dbo.EmployeeOne  
UNION   
SELECT LastName, FirstName, JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeTwo  
UNION   
SELECT LastName, FirstName, JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeThree;  
GO  
  
SELECT LastName, FirstName,JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeOne  
UNION ALL  
(  
SELECT LastName, FirstName, JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeTwo  
UNION  
SELECT LastName, FirstName, JobTitle   
FROM dbo.EmployeeThree  
);  
GO  
  

E. Using a simple UNION

In the following example, the result set includes the contents of the CustomerKey columns of both the FactInternetSales and DimCustomer tables. Since the ALL keyword is not used, duplicates are excluded from the results.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM FactInternetSales    
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM DimCustomer   
ORDER BY CustomerKey;  

F. Using UNION of two SELECT statements with ORDER BY

When any SELECT statement in a UNION statement includes an ORDER BY clause, that clause should be placed after all SELECT statements. The following example shows the incorrect and correct use of UNION in two SELECT statements in which a column is ordered with ORDER BY.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
-- INCORRECT  
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM FactInternetSales    
ORDER BY CustomerKey  
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM DimCustomer  
ORDER BY CustomerKey;  
  
-- CORRECT   
USE AdventureWorksPDW2012;  
  
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM FactInternetSales    
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM DimCustomer   
ORDER BY CustomerKey;  

G. Using UNION of two SELECT statements with WHERE and ORDER BY

The following example shows the incorrect and correct use of UNION in two SELECT statements where WHERE and ORDER BY are needed.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
-- INCORRECT   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM FactInternetSales   
WHERE CustomerKey >= 11000  
ORDER BY CustomerKey   
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM DimCustomer   
ORDER BY CustomerKey;  
  
-- CORRECT  
USE AdventureWorksPDW2012;  
  
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM FactInternetSales   
WHERE CustomerKey >= 11000  
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey   
FROM DimCustomer   
ORDER BY CustomerKey;  

H. Using UNION of three SELECT statements to show effects of ALL and parentheses

The following examples use UNION to combine the results of the same table in order to demonstrate the effects of ALL and parentheses when using UNION.

The first example uses UNION ALL to show duplicated records and returns each row in the source table three times. The second example uses UNION without ALL to eliminate the duplicate rows from the combined results of the three SELECT statements and returns only the unduplicated rows from the source table.

The third example uses ALL with the first UNION and parentheses enclosing the second UNION that is not using ALL. The second UNION is processed first because it is in parentheses. It returns only the unduplicated rows from the table because the ALL option is not used and duplicates are removed. These rows are combined with the results of the first SELECT by using the UNION ALL keywords. This does not remove the duplicates between the two sets.

-- Uses AdventureWorks  
  
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION ALL   
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION ALL   
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer;  
  
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer;  
  
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION ALL  
(  
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
UNION   
SELECT CustomerKey, FirstName, LastName  
FROM DimCustomer  
);  

SELECT (Transact-SQL)
SELECT Examples (Transact-SQL)

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