Find Tables Containing a Specific Column in Oracle Database

Use a SQL Query To Find Tables Containing a Specific Column in Oracle Database


Managing a complex Oracle database often involves navigating a labyrinth of tables and columns. Identifying specific data points within these tables can be crucial for various tasks. Knowing which tables contain a particular column is essential for tasks like:

  • Data Relationship Analysis: Understanding how data flows between tables requires knowledge of shared columns.
  • Modifying Database Structures: Altering existing tables or adding new columns necessitates knowing where the relevant data resides.
  • Ensuring Data Integrity: Maintaining data consistency often involves verifying the presence and validity of specific columns across tables.

This article explores an efficient SQL query that helps you locate all tables containing a designated column name in your Oracle database. We'll delve into the code breakdown, key points, and insights to empower you with this valuable technique.

Sample SQL Command

1set pages 999 lines 100
2col tab	format a60
3col column_name format a20
4select	owner || '.' || table_name as tab
5,	column_name
6from	dba_tab_columns
7where	column_name like upper('&col')

Understanding the Code

The provided code snippet utilizes the dba_tab_columns data dictionary view to retrieve information on user-defined tables and their columns within the database. Let's dissect the code line by line:

1set pages 999 lines 100;

This initial line sets the display parameters for the query results:

  • set pages 999: This removes the default limit on the number of rows displayed in the output, ensuring all relevant tables are shown, even if numerous tables contain the specified column.
  • lines 100: This adjusts the number of rows displayed on each page of the output. You can modify this value based on your preference and screen size.

Understanding Data Dictionary Views (Optional):

Data dictionary views in Oracle provide a way to access metadata about the database schema without directly querying user tables. The dba_tab_columns view specifically holds information about user tables and their columns, including column names, data types, and other details

1col tab format a60;
2col column_name format a20;

These lines define column formatting for the query output:

  • col tab format a60: This allocates 60 characters of display width for the "tab" column, ensuring full table names with schema prefixes are shown.
  • col column_name format a20: This assigns 20 characters for the "column_name" column, accommodating most column names.

Understanding Column Formatting (Optional):

The col command allows you to customize how query results are displayed in SQL*Plus Here, we adjust the width of specific columns for better readability.

1select owner || '.' || table_name as tab, column_name
2from dba_tab_columns
3where column_name like upper('&col');

This section forms the core of the query:

  • select owner || '.' || table_name as tab, column_name: This clause retrieves two pieces of information:
    • owner || '.' || table_name as tab: This combines the table owner (schema) and table name into a single "tab" column for better readability. The double pipes ("||") act as string concatenation operators.
    • column_name: This directly selects the column name itself.
  • from dba_tab_columns: This specifies the data dictionary view dba_tab_columns as the source of data for the query.
  • where column_name like upper('&col'): This clause filters the results based on the desired column name:
    • like: This operator allows pattern matching within the column names, enabling searches for partial matches or wildcards.
    • upper('&col'):
      • upper: This function converts the user-provided column name (&col) to uppercase. This ensures case-insensitive matching, regardless of how the column name is actually defined within the tables.
      • &col: This is a substitution variable within the SQL*Plus environment. It represents the actual column name you want to search for. You'll replace &col with the specific column name you're interested in when executing the query.

Key Points and Insights

  • This query leverages the dba_tab_columns data dictionary view, offering a convenient and efficient way to access table and column metadata without directly querying user tables.
  • The use of upper ensures case-insensitive matching, making the search more versatile and user-friendly.
  • Adjusting the set pages and col format lines allows you to customize the output based on your needs and screen size.
  • Remember to replace &col with the actual column name you want to find in your Oracle database.

Additional Considerations

  • Permissions: Ensure you have the necessary privileges to access

Posts in this Series