In SQL Server, it's possible to insert into a table using a SELECT statement:

INSERT INTO Table (col1, col2, col3)
SELECT col1, col2, col3 
FROM other_table 
WHERE sql = 'cool'

Is it also possible to update via a SELECT? I have a temporary table containing the values, and would like to update another table using those values. Perhaps something like this:

UPDATE Table SET col1, col2
SELECT col1, col2 
FROM other_table 
WHERE sql = 'cool'
WHERE Table.id = other_table.id
1 upvote
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Andy's comment is entirely valid. I converted my mysql website to PDO recently thinking that I was now somehow safe from injection attacks. It was only during the process I realised that some of my sql statements were still built using user input. I then fixed that using prepared statements. To a complete novice, it's not fully clear that there is a distinction as many experts throw out the comment about using PDO but don't specify t – Zoffa

26 Answers 11

up vote 4080 down vote accepted
UPDATE
    Table_A
SET
    Table_A.col1 = Table_B.col1,
    Table_A.col2 = Table_B.col2
FROM
    Some_Table AS Table_A
    INNER JOIN Other_Table AS Table_B
        ON Table_A.id = Table_B.id
WHERE
    Table_A.col3 = 'cool'
9 upvote
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If you are editing the the link between tables (SET Table.other_table_id = @NewValue) then change the ON statement to something like ON Table.id = @IdToEdit AND other_table.id = @NewValue – Trisped
19 upvote
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Isn't this missing the WHERE clause in the question? I don't have a server on this system to test it but wouldn't you be able to add that to the ON like: ON Table.id = other_table.id AND other_table.sql='cool'? Or am I misinterpreting the question? – J V
9 upvote
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This works by using UPDATE to iterate over the INNER JOIN. As such the ON functions as your WHERE clause and the INNER JOIN skips records that are not found in the JOINed table. Adding a WHERE clause would limit the result set of the JOINed table as well. @Roger Ray what version of MySQL and what was your query, as this DOES infact function as stated. – fyrye
7 upvote
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@RogerRay, this question is about Microsoft SQL Server. Unfortunately, the syntax between various SQL implementations can vary. – Charles Wood
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@CharlesWood yeah. I have the same question in MySQL. It would be great if someone knows how to implement it to MySQL and share with everyone. I'm sure lots of people are looking for a MySQL version solution – Roger Ray
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How do I use an alias in set? update table set a.col1 = b.col2 from table a inner join table2 b on a.id = b.id; Instead I have to use update table set table.col1 = b.col2 from table a inner join table2 b on a.id = b.id; – ThinkCode
3 upvote
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Somewhat related, I often like to write my UPDATE queries as SELECT statements first so that I can see the data that will be updated before I execute. Sebastian covers a technique for this in a recent blog post: sqlity.net/en/2867/update-from-select – dennislloydjr

One way

UPDATE t 
SET t.col1 = o.col1, 
    t.col2 = o.col2
FROM 
    other_table o 
  JOIN 
    t ON t.id = o.id
WHERE 
    o.sql = 'cool'

I'd modify Robin's excellent answer to the following:

UPDATE Table
SET Table.col1 = other_table.col1,
 Table.col2 = other_table.col2
FROM
    Table
INNER JOIN other_table ON Table.id = other_table.id
WHERE
    Table.col1 != other_table.col1
OR Table.col2 != other_table.col2
OR (
    other_table.col1 IS NOT NULL
    AND Table.col1 IS NULL
)
OR (
    other_table.col2 IS NOT NULL
    AND Table.col2 IS NULL
)

Without a WHERE clause, you'll affect even rows that don't need to be affected, which could (possibly) cause index recalculation or fire triggers that really shouldn't have been fired.

6 upvote
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This assumes none of the columns are nullable though. – Martin Smith
3 upvote
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You're right, I was typing the example by hand. I've added a third and fourth clause to the where statement to deal with that. – quillbreaker
37 upvote
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WHERE EXISTS(SELECT T1.Col1, T1.Col2 EXCEPT SELECT T2.Col1, T2.Col2)) is more concise. – Martin Smith
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Martin - it took me a while to get the knack of what that statement does. "It's a select in a where clause but it's not a table subquery?" was a proposition I was having difficulty wrapping my brain around. Now that I've got it, I've come to learn how valuable a technique it is, especially for some kinds of Data Warehousing operations. – quillbreaker
4 upvote
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shouldn't the statement also contain these two in the where clause? (other_table.col1 is null and table.col1 is not null) or (other_table.col2 is null and table.col2 is not null) – user277498
3 upvote
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Depends on if you want to replace nulls in the destination with nulls from the source. Frequently, I don't. But if you do, Martin's construction of the where clause is the best thing to use. – quillbreaker

I add this only so you can see a quick way to write it so that you can check what will be updated before doing the update.

UPDATE Table 
SET  Table.col1 = other_table.col1,
     Table.col2 = other_table.col2 
--select Table.col1, other_table.col,Table.col2,other_table.col2, *   
FROM     Table 
INNER JOIN     other_table 
    ON     Table.id = other_table.id 

In SQL Server 2008 (or better), use MERGE

MERGE INTO YourTable T
   USING other_table S 
      ON T.id = S.id
         AND S.tsql = 'cool'
WHEN MATCHED THEN
   UPDATE 
      SET col1 = S.col1, 
          col2 = S.col2;

Alternatively:

MERGE INTO YourTable T
   USING (
          SELECT id, col1, col2 
            FROM other_table 
           WHERE tsql = 'cool'
         ) S
      ON T.id = S.id
WHEN MATCHED THEN
   UPDATE 
      SET col1 = S.col1, 
          col2 = S.col2;
100 upvote
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MERGE can also be used for "Upserting" records; that is, UPDATE if matching record exists, INSERT new record if no match found – brichins
15 upvote
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This was around 10x quicker than the equivalent update...join statement for me. – Paul Suart
16 upvote
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MERGE can also be used to DELETE. But be careful with MERGE as the TARGET table cannot be a remote table. – Möoz
1 upvote
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Thanks for this, hadn't seen MERGE definitely like the syntax, and that you can use aliases (which don't work in the update/set/from) much better... I've been using WITH statements for the query part. – Tracker1
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If I can't guarantee teh results of a merge, and I can guarnatee the results of doing separate insert and update statments, then it is a bad idea to use merge. – HLGEM
1 upvote
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@HLGEM: ...I assume you are aware of the case where the result of an UPDATE..FROM is not guaranteed? (hint: many side of a one-to-many join where the result is arbitrary) Is that the kind of 'bug' you are alluding to? – onedaywhen
15 upvote
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10 upvote
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@SimonD: pick any SQL Server keyword and you will find bugs. Your point? I wager there are more bugs (and more fundamental ones too) associated with UPDATE than MERGE, folks have just learned to live with them and they become part of the landscape ('features'). Consider that blogs didn't exist when UPDATE was the new kid on the block. – onedaywhen
2 upvote
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@SimonD I'm sure you would be able to find problems similar to these MERGE "bugs" (well...) in separate INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE combo. One thing - always use MERGE in SERIALIZABLE transaction (or use HOLDLOCK hint) if you want to avoid most common race conditions. Same for manual merge using INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE... – Endrju
1 upvote
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Portability note: MERGE is ANSI SQL; UPDATE...FROM is not. Having used both, I find MERGE semantics more intelligible - I'm less likely to mess up doing a MERGE than an UPDATE...FROM. YMMV. – unbob

Another possibility not mentioned yet is to just chuck the SELECT statement itself into a CTE then Update the CTE.

;WITH CTE
     AS (SELECT T1.Col1,
                T2.Col1 AS _Col1,
                T1.Col2,
                T2.Col2 AS _Col2
         FROM   T1
                JOIN T2
                  ON T1.id = T2.id
         /*Where clause added to exclude rows that are the same in both tables
           Handles NULL values correctly*/
         WHERE EXISTS(SELECT T1.Col1,
                             T1.Col2
                       EXCEPT
                       SELECT T2.Col1,
                              T2.Col2))
UPDATE CTE
SET    Col1 = _Col1,
       Col2 = _Col2  

This has the benefit that it is easy to run the SELECT statement on its own first to sanity check the results but it does requires you to alias the columns as above if they are named the same in source and target tables.

This also has the same limitation as the proprietary UPDATE ... FROM syntax shown in four of the other answers. If the source table is on the many side of a one to many join then it is undeterministic which of the possible matching joined records will be used in the Update (An issue that MERGE avoids by raising an error if there is an attempt to update the same row more than once).

1 upvote
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is there any meaning of the name CTE ? – Raptor
13 upvote
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@ShivanRaptor - It is the acronym for Common Table Expression. Just an arbitrary alias in this case. – Martin Smith
2 upvote
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This also works well with multiple CTEs: ;WITH SomeCompexCTE AS (...), CTEAsAbove AS (SELECT T1.Col1,... FROM T1 JOIN SomeComplexCTE...) UPDATE CTEAsAbove SET Col1=_Col1, ... – VeeTheSecond
UPDATE table 
SET Col1 = i.Col1, 
    Col2 = i.Col2 
FROM (
    SELECT ID, Col1, Col2 
    FROM other_table) i
WHERE 
    i.ID = table.ID
5 upvote
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By far the simplest! However your missing the ID field from the inner SELECT. You'll need this for the WHERE clause to work – John Doherty
7 upvote
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This will tend to work across almost all DBMS which means learn once, execute everywhere. If that is more important to you than performance you might prefer this answer, especially if your update is a one off to correct some data. – Alan Macdonald
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@dotnetN00b //allinonescript.com/a/2334741/206730 is not good for you ? – Kiquenet

Using alias:

UPDATE t
SET t.col1 = o.col1
FROM
    table1 AS t
INNER JOIN table2 AS o ON t.id = o.id

This may be a niche reason to perform an update (for example, mainly used in a procedure), or may be obvious to others, but it should also be stated that you can perform an update-select statement without using join (in case the tables you're updating between have no common field).

update
    Table
set
    Table.example = a.value
from
    TableExample a
where
    Table.field = *key value* -- finds the row in Table 
    AND a.field = *key value* -- finds the row in TableExample a

For the record (and others searching like I was), you can do it in MySQL like this:

UPDATE first_table, second_table
SET first_table.color = second_table.color
WHERE first_table.id = second_table.foreign_id
4 upvote
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This worked well. I tried all above query they all give one or the other kind of error. – user1500341
3 upvote
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Thank you! I know this is old, but just wanted to say this one worked for me. My server wont allow FROM to be used in an UPDATE statement. So all the answers involving the FROM clause returned a syntax error. This way worked perfect. Much appreciated. – Todd Withers
3 upvote
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Why is this upvoted so often? Would be the same if I post for the record ruby code if someone asks for C#... – isHuman
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@isHuman It is very common to reach in a sql-server question when you seek for my-sql answers (and vice-versa). It is entirely different from posting a ruby answer in a c# question. – Gabriel

The simple way to do it is:

UPDATE
    table_to_update,
    table_info
SET
    table_to_update.col1 = table_info.col1,
    table_to_update.col2 = table_info.col2

WHERE
    table_to_update.ID = table_info.ID
1 upvote
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Yours is formatted better; Also, when using a subselect, yours (and Adrian's) work more reliably than the other format. Thanks for posting your answer. – Ben West
14 upvote
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This is not SQl Server syntax and it will not work in SQL server – HLGEM

Here is another useful syntax:

UPDATE suppliers
SET supplier_name = (SELECT customers.name
                     FROM customers
                     WHERE customers.customer_id = suppliers.supplier_id)
WHERE EXISTS (SELECT customers.name
              FROM customers
              WHERE customers.customer_id = suppliers.supplier_id);

It checks if it is null or not by using "WHERE EXIST".

The following example uses a derived table, a SELECT statement after the FROM clause, to return the old and new values for further updates:

UPDATE x
SET    x.col1 = x.newCol1,
       x.col2 = x.newCol2
FROM   (SELECT t.col1,
               t2.col1 AS newCol1,
               t.col2,
               t2.col2 AS newCol2
        FROM   [table] t
               JOIN other_table t2
                 ON t.ID = t2.ID) x

If you use MySQL instead of SQL Server, the syntax is:

UPDATE Table1
INNER JOIN Table2
ON Table1.id = Table2.id
SET Table1.col1 = Table2.col1,
    Table1.col2 = Table2.col2
15 upvote
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It is not the best idea to use the keyword "table" as an example table name. Some less experienced users may find this example confusing. – Jakub
drop table uno
drop table dos

create table uno
(
uid int,
col1 char(1),
col2 char(2)
)
create table dos
(
did int,
col1 char(1),
col2 char(2),
[sql] char(4)
)
insert into uno(uid) values (1)
insert into uno(uid) values (2)
insert into dos values (1,'a','b',null)
insert into dos values (2,'c','d','cool')

select * from uno 
select * from dos

EITHER:

update uno set col1 = (select col1 from dos where uid = did and [sql]='cool'), 
col2 = (select col2 from dos where uid = did and [sql]='cool')

OR:

update uno set col1=d.col1,col2=d.col2 from uno 
inner join dos d on uid=did where [sql]='cool'

select * from uno 
select * from dos

If the ID column name is the same in both tables then just put the table name before the table to be updated and use an alias for the selected table ie:

update uno set col1 = (select col1 from dos d where uno.[id] = d.[id] and [sql]='cool'),
col2  = (select col2 from dos d where uno.[id] = d.[id] and [sql]='cool')

And if you wanted to join the table with itself (which won't happen too often):

update t1                    -- just reference table alias here
set t1.somevalue = t2.somevalue
from table1 t1               -- these rows will be the targets
inner join table1 t2         -- these rows will be used as source
on ..................        -- the join clause is whatever suits you
7 upvote
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+1 but you should have used relevant alias names like targett1 and sourcet1 rather than (or as well as) comments. – Mark Hurd

I finally got this simple solution:

UPDATE table1 a , table2 b 
SET a.columname = 'some value' 
WHERE b.columnname IS NULL ;
3 upvote
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Not working in MS SQL Server – Eugene Evdokimov
UPDATE table AS a
INNER JOIN table2 AS b
ON a.col1 = b.col1
INNER JOIN ... AS ...
ON ... = ...
SET ...
WHERE ...
1 upvote
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This format is what works in MS Access. Putting the JOIN at the end will get "Syntax error (missing operator)" messages. More examples here: fmsinc.com/microsoftaccess/query/snytax/update-query.html – travis

UPDATE from SELECT with INNER JOIN in SQL Database

Since there are too many replies of this post, which are most heavily up-voted, I thought I would provide my suggestion here too. Although the question is very interesting, I have seen in many forum sites and made a solution using INNER JOIN with screenshots.

At first, I have created a table named with schoolold and inserted few records with respect to their column names and execute it.

Then I executed SELECT command to view inserted records.

enter image description here

Then I created a new table named with schoolnew and similarly executed above actions on it.

enter image description here

Then, to view inserted records in it, I execute SELECT command.

enter image description here

Now, Here I want to make some changes in third and fourth row, to complete this action, I execute UPDATE command with INNER JOIN.

enter image description here

To view the changes I execute the SELECT command.

enter image description here

You can see how Third and Fourth records of table schoolold easily replaced with table schoolnew by using INNER JOIN with UPDATE statement.

Updating through CTE is more readable than the other answer's here:

;WITH cte
     AS (SELECT col1,col2,id
         FROM   other_table
         WHERE  sql = 'cool')
UPDATE A
SET    A.col1 = B.col1,
       A.col2 = B.col2
FROM   table A
       INNER JOIN cte B
               ON A.id = B.id

The other way is to use a derived table:

UPDATE t
SET t.col1 = a.col1
    ,t.col2 = a.col2
FROM (
SELECT id, col1, col2 FROM @tbl2) a
INNER JOIN @tbl1 t ON t.id = a.id

Sample data

DECLARE @tbl1 TABLE (id INT, col1 VARCHAR(10), col2 VARCHAR(10))
DECLARE @tbl2 TABLE (id INT, col1 VARCHAR(10), col2 VARCHAR(10))

INSERT @tbl1 SELECT 1, 'a', 'b' UNION SELECT 2, 'b', 'c'

INSERT @tbl2 SELECT 1, '1', '2' UNION SELECT 2, '3', '4'

UPDATE t
SET t.col1 = a.col1
    ,t.col2 = a.col2
FROM (
SELECT id, col1, col2 FROM @tbl2) a
INNER JOIN @tbl1 t ON t.id = a.id

SELECT * FROM @tbl1
SELECT * FROM @tbl2
The other way to update from select statement :

UPDATE A
SET A.col = A.col,B.col1 = B.col1
FROM  first_Table AS A
INNER JOIN second_Table AS B  ON A.id = B.id WHERE A.col2 = 'cool'
3 upvote
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The other way to update from select statement What is the difference to other answers? Please elaborate your answer. Keep in mind: A good answer will always have an explanation of what was done and why it was done in such a manner, not only for the OP but for future visitors to SO. – B001
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  flag
This answer turned up in the low quality review queue, presumably because you don't provide any explanation of the code. If this code answers the question, consider adding adding some text explaining the code in your answer. This way, you are far more likely to get more upvotes — and help the questioner learn something new. – lmo
UPDATE TQ
SET TQ.IsProcessed = 1, TQ.TextName = 'bla bla bla'
FROM TableQueue TQ
INNER JOIN TableComment TC ON TC.ID = TQ.TCID
WHERE TQ.IsProcessed = 0

To make sure you are updating what you want, select first

SELECT TQ.IsProcessed, 1 AS NewValue1, TQ.TextName, 'bla bla bla' AS NewValue2
FROM TableQueue TQ
INNER JOIN TableComment TC ON TC.ID = TQ.TCID
WHERE TQ.IsProcessed = 0

There is even a shorter method and might be surprising for many of you:

-- Sample data:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
CREATE TABLE #SOURCE ([ID] INT, [Desc] VARCHAR(10));
CREATE TABLE #DESTINATION ([ID] INT, [Desc] VARCHAR(10))

INSERT INTO #SOURCE VALUES(1,'Desc_1'), (2, 'Desc_2'), (3, 'Desc_3');
INSERT INTO #DESTINATION VALUES(1,'Desc_4'), (2, 'Desc_5'), (3, 'Desc_6');
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE #DESTINATION
SET #DESTINATION.[Desc] = #SOURCE.[Desc]
FROM #SOURCE
WHERE #DESTINATION.[ID] = #SOURCE.[ID]
AND #Source.[Desc] = 'Desc_2'
1 upvote
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YES - there is no JOIN on purpose and NO - this can't be applied on table variables. – Bartosz X
1 upvote
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I think if you use [_id] on your #SOURCE not [ID] the same as #DESTINATION's, they might let you do JOIN. "on #DESTINATION.ID=#SOURCE._id. Or even use table variable like @tbl, "on PermTable.ID=@memorytbl._id". Have you tried? I am using a phone to reply this, no computer to try. – Jenna Leaf
1 upvote
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What does this have to do with updating from a SELECT? – Martin Smith
1 upvote
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This is the same idea but another method - you don't have to put "select" at all to achieve JOIN and WHERE in update statement - which is SELECT type of query without even writing SELECT – Bartosz X

If you are using SQL Server you can update one table from another without specifying a join and simply link the two from the where clause. This makes a much simpler SQL Query:

UPDATE Table1
SET Table1.col1 = Table2.col1,
 Table1.col2 = Table2.col2
FROM
    Table2
WHERE
    Table1.id = Table2.id
upvote
  flag
How is this answer different than mine? :) – Bartosz X

In the accepted answer, after the:

SET
Table_A.col1 = Table_B.col1,
Table_A.col2 = Table_B.col2

I would add:

OUTPUT deleted.*, inserted.*

What I usually do is putting everything in a rollbacked transaction and using the "OUTPUT": in this way I see everything that is about to happen. When I am happy with what I see, i change the ROLLBACK into COMMIT.

I usually need to document what I did, so I use the "results to Text" option when I run the rollbacked query and I save both the script and the result of the OUTPUT. (Of course this is not practical if I changed too many rows)

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