Removing Rows with the DELETE Statement in SQL Server #sql #server, #delete #statement, #tsql, #t-sql


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T-SQL Programming Part 8 – Removing Rows with the DELETE Statement in SQL Server

Greg Larsen explores how to remove rows from a SQL Server table using the DELETE statement.

In my last two articles I discuss using the INSERT and UPDATE statement. These two commands added new rows and modified existing rows. In this article I will explore how to remove rows from a table using the DELETE statement.

Syntax of the DELETE Statement

You may want to delete rows because they are no longer needed, or they were incorrectly added in the first place. The DELETE statement is used to remove rows from a SQL Server table. A single DELETE statement can remove a single row, or number of rows. Here is the basic syntax of the DELETE statement.

( expression ) – is a number or an expression that equates to a number used to limit the number of rows deleted

object – is the name of an object in a database from which you want to delete records

OUTPUT Clause – identifies the column values of the deleted rows to be returned from the DELETE statement

search_condition – the condition used to identify the rows to be deleted

For the complete syntax of the DELETE statement refer to Books Online.

In order to demonstrate how to use the DELETE statement I will be creating a DemoDelete table. Here is the code I used to create and populate my DemoDelete table.

Deleting a Single Row Using WHERE Constraint

In order to delete a single row from a table you need to identify that row with a WHERE constraint. Below is some code that deletes a single row from my DemoDelete table:

In this code I used the DeleteDesc column to constrain the records that I would be deleting. By specifying that the DeleteDesc column value had to be equal to the value “The Mother”, only one record in my table got deleted, because only one row in my table had that value. Now if my table contained a number of rows that had a column value of “The Mother” then all the rows that contained that value would be deleted.

If you are unsure of the rows you are identifying to be deleted using the above example, and you want to make sure the rows you have targeted with the WHERE constraint are correct, then you can first run a SELECT statement. After you are confident that your SELECT statement is selecting the rows you want to delete you can then convert it to a DELETE statement.

Using the TOP Clause to Delete a Single Row

You can also use the TOP clause to delete a single row. Below is an example where I used the TOP clause to delete one row from my DemoDelete table:

This statement deleted a random row from my DemoDelete table. It was random because SQL Server does not guarantee a sorted set will be returned where it can delete the top record of the ordered set. When I review the records left in my table I see I deleted the record that had an Id value of 1 and a DeleteDesc of “Thing One”. Note if I change the TOP clause to another number like 3, then this statement would delete the number of rows equal to the value specified.

Deleting the TOP 1 Records from a Sorted Set

If you want to delete the first record from a sorted set you need to write your TSQL DELETE statement similar to the following code:

In the above code I create a subquery that returned a single ID value based on the descending sort order of ID column value in my DemoDelete table. I then used the WHERE constraint to only delete records that had that ID value. I also place a TOP (1) clause on my DELETE statement to only delete a single row should my DemoDelete table contain multiple records with the same ID value. If you are following along you can see the above code deleted the DemoDelete record that had an ID value of 7.

Since my DemoDelete table did not contain multiple records with the same ID value I could have also deleted the largest ID value row by running the following code:

When I run this code against my DemoDelete table it will delete ID value of 5.

Using Another Table to Identify the Rows to Delete and the OUTPUT Clause

There are times when you might what to delete the rows in a table based on values from another table. An example of where you might want to do this is to remove rows from your inventory table based on some sales data. To demo this first I will need to generate another table that contains key values for the rows I want to delete. Here is the code to create and populate my other table:

At this point after running all my different DELETE statements against my DemoDelete table there are only three rows left in my table. By selecting all the rows in my DemoDelete table I see that these three rows are left:

In order to use the RecordsToDelete table to delete specific records in my DemoDelete table I need to run the code below.

This code joins the table DemoDelete and RecordsToDelete based on the DeleteDesc column. When the DeleteDesc matches between the two tables the matched rows within the DemoDelete table are deleted.

My delete statement above also contains the OUTPUT clause. The OUTPUT clause is used to return the column values of the deleted rows that are identified in the OUTPUT clause. In the code above I specified “DELETED.*”. The “*” means to return all the columns values from the DELETED rows. When I ran this code the following rows were returned:

These returned rows could be used by your application for some purpose, like creating an audit trail.

Inserting OUTPUT Clause Data into a Table

There are times when you might retain the data created by the OUTPUT clause in a table instead of just returning the deleted row values to the application. To demonstrate running a DELETE statement that populates the row values being deleted into a table I will run the code below.

The following output displayed the SELECT statement in the above code snippet:

In both of my examples that used the OUTPUT clause of the DELETE statement I specified “DELETED.*” to denote outputting all the column values for the rows being deleted. I could have specified the actual column values I wanted to output. The code below is equivalent to the code above.

In this code you can see I specified “DELETED.ID, DELETED.DeleteDesc”, instead of “DELETE.*”. You can verify this code is equivalent by inserting the “The Cat” row back into the DemoDelete table and then running the code above.

Multiple Ways to Delete Rows

As you can see there are multiple ways to delete rows from a SQL Server table. You can use the WHERE clause to identify specific criteria for the rows that need to be deleted. You can join a table to the table in which you are deleting rows to identify which rows to delete. You can even use the TOP clause to restrict the number of rows that will be deleted. The article should help you with developing your DELETE statement next time you have to remove some rows from a SQL Server table.


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Some helpful articles on our website discuss various issues within the security clearance process:

Meeting with Security Clearance Investigators

The Importance of Properly Completing Security Clearance Forms

Polygraph Examinations for Federal Employees and Contractors

Responding to the Statement of Reasons (SOR)

The Whole-Person Concept for Security Clearance Cases

Seeking Information Regarding Security Clearance Incident Reports

A Summary of the Security Clearance Appeal Process

Requesting Reconsideration After a Security Clearance is Denied

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CV and Personal Statement

Creating a Curriculum Vitae

The Office of Student Affairs encourages our students to use this sample CV as a guide in creating a curriculum vitae (CV). This format is organized in a “chronologically backwards” timeline, which gives the reader a clear view of the path you took to get to your current status. Here are a few tips about preparing your CV:

1. Remember that a CV is not an exercise in documenting how great you are: its purpose is to provide the reader with a clear, concise history of your education, achievements and accomplishments to date, in a fairly truncated format. This particular format makes it easy for the reader to follow your career/education path, while providing you with a format that is easy to update.

a. Use at least a 12-point font. Times New Roman is a standard for many reasons, not least in that it allows for more text on each page.

b. Use narrow margins: you can fit much more on each page.

c. Disavow yourself of the notion that you are going to ever again have a one-page resume.

d. Refrain from “I, me, my” statements; use objective language.

e. The better you prepare your CV now, the easier it will be to update it in the future.

f. Make every word tell.

2. The staff writer prepares your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE, otherwise known as your Dean’s Letter) in your third year, and that document is largely based upon your CV. Thus, the clearer and more comprehensive you make your CV, the easier it is for the staff writer to accurately and comprehensively convey your history and accomplishments in your MSPE.

3. At this relatively early point in your career, it’s better to err on the side of too much information in your CV, rather than too little. Eventually, older entries will likely be deleted.

4. Remember that, for the purpose of your CV, it’s okay at this time to include activities (jobs, volunteer, etc.) that are unrelated to medicine, provided they demonstrate an acquisition of skills, or a long-term/repeat employment (e.g. working the same summer job all through undergraduate school). Such information, while not “medical”, conveys a great deal about your viability as a potential employee.

5. Put a reminder in your smart device to periodically remind you to update your CV: it will keep you from forgetting to add new information and prevent scrambling at the last minute to make sure it’s current.

Creating a Personal Statement

One of the many tasks you’ll do as part of your residency application process is write your own personal statement, a rare opportunity for you to actually “make it all about you”. A personal statement is not a CV or a resume, nor is it a regurgitation of either of those documents: it’s essentially a sales pitch, with you as the product, and it has two main objectives:

  • To convey to the residency programs what you’re looking for in your residency and that you bring the appropriate skills, background, abilities and experiences to succeed and;
  • To let them know that, in terms of all of your many attributes (values, maturity, compassion, philosophy, etc.) you are the “best match” for their program, and that you are exactly what they seek in a resident.

And you will do this in 700 words or fewer. For some people, it may be easy; for others, not so much. But for each of you it requires serious consideration of what you want to do in your medical career (a decision you likely have already made), why you want to do it and what makes you the best candidate for the position. That means making time well ahead of the application process (read that again) to put pen to paper and get your personal statement started. Here are some tips to guide you:

1.Timing: start thinking about your personal statement in January of your residency application year. Yes, January. It needs to be completed and ready to upload in September. Put an alarm reminder in your mobile device to remind you to return to this task every month, so you don’t suddenly remember on August 31 st that you haven’t written your personal statement yet.

2.Starting: this is the hardest part for many students. A good way to break the ice for yourself is to talk it out: find someone you know and trust who is willing to let you sit down and verbally explain your answers to the four questions ERAS asks:

  • Why do you want to go into this particular specialty?
  • Why do you want this particular program?
  • What do you bring to the table?
  • What do you hope you get out of this residency program?

This is a great exercise to get your thoughts organized. Don’t worry about the length at this point: you’ll trim and trim, and then trim some more, before you’re finished.

3.Write a Rough Draft: this is not your CV redux, so don’t list all of your educational and scholarly accomplishments. Simply start your draft by finishing these sentences:

  1. I am choosing this specialty because…
  2. I want to enter this particular residency program because…
  3. I would be the best match for this specialty in this program because…
  4. My career goals include…

4.Think about who your audience will be: might be the program director, the people with whom you’ll interview or others who comprise the selection committee. Some will read it very closely, some will not. They want to learn, from your own words, what your goals are, how you see yourself fitting into their environment, what you will add to their program, and what you hope to get out of being a resident there.

5.Ask someone to review/proofread it: this could be your academic or career advisor, a faculty member or the SOM staff writer. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism.

6.Some nuts and bolts writing tips:

  1. First and foremost, remember your Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.” No one knows you like you know yourself.
  2. Start with something interesting and personal related to your choice of specialty: a patient you treated, an experience you had, a quote from one of your mentors. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. If it sticks in your mind, it obviously means something to you so explain that, but briefly. Don’t use ten words if you can use four. Or three.
  3. Don’t lie about anything. Seriously.
  4. Don’t wallow in why you went to med school: that’s almost over.
  5. Focus on your specialty and what experiences you have had that relate to it.
  6. Don’t try to be funny, and don’t raise political or religious issues.
  7. Keep the “I, me, mine” statements to a minimum. There are better ways to write about yourself. If you don’t know, ask someone.
  8. Check every word for spelling, check your grammar, check your punctuation. Then have someone else do the same thing. This document must be absolutely letter-perfect.
  9. One you’ve finished, your statement should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, 700 maximum words.

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Top 10 Medical Schools

Click here to see each of the Top 10 med schools

Yearly medical school rankings are always a point of debate among medical schools and medical students. No single method for determining these rankings works perfectly, and every institution feels it should be ranked higher.

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Top 10 medical schools for 2014 (research):

Top 10 medical schools for 2014 (primary care):

1. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
9. University of Massachusetts, Worcester
10. University of Alabama, Birmingham

Find out what goes into Medical School Rankings

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Med School Rankings: Midwest
Med School Rankings: West and Southwest
Med School Rankings: Northeast
Med School Rankings: Southeast