SQL - LIKE Clause

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The SQL LIKE clause is used to compare a value to similar values using wildcard operators. There are two wildcards used in conjunction with the LIKE operator:

  • The percent sign (%)

  • The underscore (_)

The percent sign represents zero, one, or multiple characters. The underscore represents a single number or character. The symbols can be used in combinations.

Syntax:

The basic syntax of % and _ is as follows:

SELECT FROM table_name
WHERE column LIKE 'XXXX%'

or 

SELECT FROM table_name
WHERE column LIKE '%XXXX%'

or

SELECT FROM table_name
WHERE column LIKE 'XXXX_'

or

SELECT FROM table_name
WHERE column LIKE '_XXXX'

or

SELECT FROM table_name
WHERE column LIKE '_XXXX_'

You can combine N number of conditions using AND or OR operators. Here, XXXX could be any numeric or string value.

Example:

Here are number of examples showing WHERE part having different LIKE clause with '%' and '_' operators:

StatementDescription
WHERE SALARY LIKE '200%'Finds any values that start with 200
WHERE SALARY LIKE '%200%'Finds any values that have 200 in any position
WHERE SALARY LIKE '_00%'Finds any values that have 00 in the second and third positions
WHERE SALARY LIKE '2_%_%'Finds any values that start with 2 and are at least 3 characters in length
WHERE SALARY LIKE '%2'Finds any values that end with 2
WHERE SALARY LIKE '_2%3'Finds any values that have a 2 in the second position and end with a 3
WHERE SALARY LIKE '2___3'Finds any values in a five-digit number that start with 2 and end with 3

Let us take a real example, consider the CUSTOMERS table having the following records:

+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
|  1 | Ramesh   |  32 | Ahmedabad |  2000.00 |
|  2 | Khilan   |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 |
|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |
|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 |
|  5 | Hardik   |  27 | Bhopal    |  8500.00 |
|  6 | Komal    |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 |
|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+

Following is an example, which would display all the records from CUSTOMERS table where SALARY starts with 200:

SQL> SELECT * FROM CUSTOMERS
WHERE SALARY LIKE '200%';

This would produce the following result:

+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+
|  1 | Ramesh   |  32 | Ahmedabad |  2000.00 |
|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |
+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+


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