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Like Statement in SQL - Inexact Wildcard Matches


If you're writing a SQL statement, sometimes you want wildcarded matches. The LIKE command lets you get matches that are similar to a phrase you supply.

Normally, if you write a SQL statement, you're looking for an exact match. If you're looking for all books written by SMITH, you would write:

SELECT * from books where author_name = 'SMITH';

and only those rows would be returned. What, though, if you are doing a search and want everything CONTAINING that word? What, for example, if you have a person put the word HORSE into your search box and want to return every title in your library containing the word HORSE? In that case you would write

SELECT * from books where book_title LIKE '%HORSE%';

The % is the wildcard symbol in SQL. If you wanted everything that began with HORSE, you would say

SELECT * from books where book_title LIKE 'HORSE%';

but usually you want the % on both sides of the word, so that if the HORSE shows up ANYWHERE in the title, you get the results.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lisa Shea. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Shea. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Shea for details.

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