I’m looking to split '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15...' (comma delimited) into a table or table variable.

Does anyone have a function that returns each one in a row?

1 upvote
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Erland Sommarskog has maintained the authoritative answer to this question for the last 12 years: http://www.sommarskog.se/arrays-in-sql.html It's not worth reproducing all of the options here on StackOverflow, just visit his page and you will learn all you ever wanted to know. – Portman
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I recently performed a minor study comparing the most common approaches to this problem, that may be worth a read: sqlperformance.com/2012/07/t-sql-queries/split-strings and sqlperformance.com/2012/08/t-sql-queries/… – Aaron Bertrand
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possible duplicate of Split string in SQL – Luv
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Looks like you've got a good few answers here; why not mark one of them as the answer or describe your problem in more detail if it still isn't answered. – RyanfaeScotland

15 Answers 11

up vote 45 down vote accepted

Here is somewhat old-fashioned solution:

/*
    Splits string into parts delimitered with specified character.
*/
CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[SDF_SplitString]
(
    @sString nvarchar(2048),
    @cDelimiter nchar(1)
)
RETURNS @tParts TABLE ( part nvarchar(2048) )
AS
BEGIN
    if @sString is null return
    declare @iStart int,
            @iPos int
    if substring( @sString, 1, 1 ) = @cDelimiter 
    begin
        set @iStart = 2
        insert into @tParts
        values( null )
    end
    else 
        set @iStart = 1
    while 1=1
    begin
        set @iPos = charindex( @cDelimiter, @sString, @iStart )
        if @iPos = 0
            set @iPos = len( @sString )+1
        if @iPos - @iStart > 0          
            insert into @tParts
            values  ( substring( @sString, @iStart, @iPos-@iStart ))
        else
            insert into @tParts
            values( null )
        set @iStart = @iPos+1
        if @iStart > len( @sString ) 
            break
    end
    RETURN

END

In SQL Server 2008 you can achieve the same with .NET code. Maybe it would work faster, but definitely this approach is easier to manage.

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Thanks, I would also like to know. Is there an error here? I wrote this code perhaps 6 years ago and it was working OK since when. – XOR
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I agree. This is a very good solution when you don't want to (or simply can't) get involved with creating table type parameters, which would be the case in my instance. The DBA's have locked that feature and will not allow it. Thanks XOR! – dscarr

http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50648

A selection of different methods

I am tempted to squeeze in my favourite solution. The resulting table will consist of 2 columns: PosIdx for position of the found integer; and Value in integer.


create function FnSplitToTableInt
(
    @param nvarchar(4000)
)
returns table as
return
    with Numbers(Number) as 
    (
        select 1 
        union all 
        select Number + 1 from Numbers where Number < 4000
    ),
    Found as
    (
        select 
            Number as PosIdx,
            convert(int, ltrim(rtrim(convert(nvarchar(4000), 
                substring(@param, Number, 
                charindex(N',' collate Latin1_General_BIN, 
                @param + N',', Number) - Number))))) as Value
        from   
            Numbers 
        where  
            Number <= len(@param)
        and substring(N',' + @param, Number, 1) = N',' collate Latin1_General_BIN
    )
    select 
        PosIdx, 
        case when isnumeric(Value) = 1 
            then convert(int, Value) 
            else convert(int, null) end as Value 
    from 
        Found

It works by using recursive CTE as the list of positions, from 1 to 100 by default. If you need to work with string longer than 100, simply call this function using 'option (maxrecursion 4000)' like the following:


select * from FnSplitToTableInt
(
    '9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, ' + 
    '9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, ' +
    '9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, ' +
    '9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, ' +
    '9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0'
) 
option (maxrecursion 4000)
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+1 for mentioning the maxrecursion option. Obviously heavy recursion should be used with care in a production environment, but it's great for using CTEs to perform heavy data import or conversion tasks. – Tim Medora

Try this

DECLARE @xml xml, @str varchar(100), @delimiter varchar(10)
SET @str = '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15'
SET @delimiter = ','
SET @xml = cast(('<X>'+replace(@str, @delimiter, '</X><X>')+'</X>') as xml)
SELECT C.value('.', 'varchar(10)') as value FROM @xml.nodes('X') as X(C)

OR

DECLARE @str varchar(100), @delimiter varchar(10)
SET @str = '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15'
SET @delimiter = ','
;WITH cte AS
(
    SELECT 0 a, 1 b
    UNION ALL
    SELECT b, CHARINDEX(@delimiter, @str, b) + LEN(@delimiter)
    FROM CTE
    WHERE b > a
)
SELECT SUBSTRING(@str, a,
CASE WHEN b > LEN(@delimiter) 
    THEN b - a - LEN(@delimiter) 
    ELSE LEN(@str) - a + 1 END) value      
FROM cte WHERE a > 0

Many more ways of doing the same is here How to split comma delimited string?

8 upvote
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Note for anyone searching a general string splitter: The first solution given here is not a general string splitter - it is safe only if you are sure that input will never contain <, > or & (e.g. input is a sequence of integers). Any of above three characters will cause you get a parse error instead of expected result. – miroxlav
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Event with the issues mentioned by miroxlav (Which should be solvable with some thought), this definitely one of the most creative solutions I have found (The first)! Very nice! – major-mann
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The line SELECT b, CHARINDEX(@delimiter, @str, b) + LEN(@delimiter) should actually be SELECT b, CHARINDEX(@delimiter, @str, b+1) + LEN(@delimiter). The b+1 makes a big difference. Tested here with space as delimiter, didn't work without this fix. – JwJosefy
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@miroxlav Also, in my experience, using XML to split a string is an extremely expensive detour. – underscore_d

This is most like .NET, for those of you who are familiar with that function:

CREATE FUNCTION dbo.[String.Split]
(
    @Text VARCHAR(MAX),
    @Delimiter VARCHAR(100),
    @Index INT
)
RETURNS VARCHAR(MAX)
AS BEGIN
    DECLARE @A TABLE (ID INT IDENTITY, V VARCHAR(MAX));
    DECLARE @R VARCHAR(MAX);
    WITH CTE AS
    (
    SELECT 0 A, 1 B
    UNION ALL
    SELECT B, CONVERT(INT,CHARINDEX(@Delimiter, @Text, B) + LEN(@Delimiter))
    FROM CTE
    WHERE B > A
    )
    INSERT @A(V)
    SELECT SUBSTRING(@Text,A,CASE WHEN B > LEN(@Delimiter) THEN B-A-LEN(@Delimiter) ELSE LEN(@Text) - A + 1 END) VALUE      
    FROM CTE WHERE A >0

    SELECT      @R
    =           V
    FROM        @A
    WHERE       ID = @Index + 1
    RETURN      @R
END

SELECT dbo.[String.Split]('121,2,3,0',',',1) -- gives '2'
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This worked for me after I added GO after the END – clairestreb

This blog came with a pretty good solution using XML in T-SQL.

This is the function I came up with based on that blog (change function name and result type cast per need):

SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO
CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[SplitIntoBigints]
(@List varchar(MAX), @Splitter char)
RETURNS TABLE 
AS
RETURN 
(
    WITH SplittedXML AS(
        SELECT CAST('<v>' + REPLACE(@List, @Splitter, '</v><v>') + '</v>' AS XML) AS Splitted
    )
    SELECT x.v.value('.', 'bigint') AS Value
    FROM SplittedXML
    CROSS APPLY Splitted.nodes('//v') x(v)
)
GO

here is the split function that u asked

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[split](
          @delimited NVARCHAR(MAX),
          @delimiter NVARCHAR(100)
        ) RETURNS @t TABLE (id INT IDENTITY(1,1), val NVARCHAR(MAX))
        AS
        BEGIN
          DECLARE @xml XML
          SET @xml = N'<t>' + REPLACE(@delimited,@delimiter,'</t><t>') + '</t>'

          INSERT INTO @t(val)
          SELECT  r.value('.','varchar(MAX)') as item
          FROM  @xml.nodes('/t') as records(r)
          RETURN
        END

execute the function like this

select * from dbo.split('1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15',',')
1 upvote
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So simple, worked like a charm – Dr. ABT
CREATE Function [dbo].[CsvToInt] ( @Array varchar(4000)) 
returns @IntTable table 
(IntValue int)
AS
begin
declare @separator char(1)
set @separator = ','
declare @separator_position int 
declare @array_value varchar(4000) 

set @array = @array + ','

while patindex('%,%' , @array) <> 0 
begin

select @separator_position = patindex('%,%' , @array)
select @array_value = left(@array, @separator_position - 1)

Insert @IntTable
Values (Cast(@array_value as int))
select @array = stuff(@array, 1, @separator_position, '')
end

This is another version which really does not have any restrictions (e.g.: special chars when using xml approach, number of records in CTE approach) and it runs much faster based on a test on 10M+ records with source string average length of 4000. Hope this could help.

Create function [dbo].[udf_split] (
    @ListString nvarchar(max),
    @Delimiter  nvarchar(1000),
    @IncludeEmpty bit) 
Returns @ListTable TABLE (ID int, ListValue nvarchar(1000))
AS
BEGIN
    Declare @CurrentPosition int, @NextPosition int, @Item nvarchar(max), @ID int, @L int
    Select @ID = 1,
   @L = len(replace(@Delimiter,' ','^')),
            @ListString = @ListString + @Delimiter,
            @CurrentPosition = 1 
    Select @NextPosition = Charindex(@Delimiter, @ListString, @CurrentPosition)
   While @NextPosition > 0 Begin
   Set  @Item = LTRIM(RTRIM(SUBSTRING(@ListString, @CurrentPosition, @NextPosition-@CurrentPosition)))
   If      @IncludeEmpty=1 or LEN(@Item)>0 Begin 
     Insert Into @ListTable (ID, ListValue) Values (@ID, @Item)
     Set @ID = @ID+1
   End
   Set  @CurrentPosition = @NextPosition+@L
   Set  @NextPosition = Charindex(@Delimiter, @ListString, @CurrentPosition)
  End
    RETURN
END
/* *Object:  UserDefinedFunction [dbo].[Split]    Script Date: 10/04/2013 18:18:38* */
SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO
ALTER FUNCTION [dbo].[Split]
(@List varchar(8000),@SplitOn Nvarchar(5))
RETURNS @RtnValue table
(Id int identity(1,1),Value nvarchar(100))
AS
BEGIN
    Set @List = Replace(@List,'''','')
    While (Charindex(@SplitOn,@List)>0)
    Begin

    Insert Into @RtnValue (value)
    Select
    Value = ltrim(rtrim(Substring(@List,1,Charindex(@SplitOn,@List)-1)))

    Set @List = Substring(@List,Charindex(@SplitOn,@List)+len(@SplitOn),len(@List))
    End

    Insert Into @RtnValue (Value)
    Select Value = ltrim(rtrim(@List))

    Return
END
go

Select *
From [Clv].[Split] ('1,2,3,3,3,3,',',')
GO
DECLARE
    @InputString NVARCHAR(MAX) = 'token1,token2,token3,token4,token5'
    , @delimiter varchar(10) = ','

DECLARE @xml AS XML = CAST(('<X>'+REPLACE(@InputString,@delimiter ,'</X><X>')+'</X>') AS XML)
SELECT C.value('.', 'varchar(10)') AS value
FROM @xml.nodes('X') as X(C)

Source of this response: http://sqlhint.com/sqlserver/how-to/best-split-function-tsql-delimited

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Xavi López
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@Xavi: ok, I have included the essential parts of the answer. Thanks for your hint. – Mihai Bejenariu

You write this function in sql server after that problem will be solved.

http://csharpdotnetsol.blogspot.in/2013/12/csv-function-in-sql-server-for-divide.html

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Dont copy only links... Thats not a sign of good questions... You need to explain anwer in detail – The Dictator
CREATE FUNCTION Split
(
  @delimited nvarchar(max),
  @delimiter nvarchar(100)
) RETURNS @t TABLE
(
-- Id column can be commented out, not required for sql splitting string
  id int identity(1,1), -- I use this column for numbering splitted parts
  val nvarchar(max)
)
AS
BEGIN
  declare @xml xml
  set @xml = N'<root><r>' + replace(@delimited,@delimiter,'</r><r>') + '</r></root>'

  insert into @t(val)
  select
    r.value('.','varchar(max)') as item
  from @xml.nodes('//root/r') as records(r)

  RETURN
END
GO

usage

Select * from dbo.Split(N'1,2,3,4,6',',')

You've tagged this SQL Server 2008 but future visitors to this question (using SQL Server 2016+) will likely want to know about STRING_SPLIT.

With this new builtin function you can now just use

SELECT TRY_CAST(value AS INT)
FROM   STRING_SPLIT ('1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15', ',') 

Some restrictions of this function and some promising results of performance testing are in this blog post by Aaron Bertrand.

Using tally table here is one split string function(best possible approach) by Jeff Moden

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[DelimitedSplit8K]
        (@pString VARCHAR(8000), @pDelimiter CHAR(1))
RETURNS TABLE WITH SCHEMABINDING AS
 RETURN
--===== "Inline" CTE Driven "Tally Table" produces values from 0 up to 10,000...
     -- enough to cover NVARCHAR(4000)
  WITH E1(N) AS (
                 SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL 
                 SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL 
                 SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1 UNION ALL SELECT 1
                ),                          --10E+1 or 10 rows
       E2(N) AS (SELECT 1 FROM E1 a, E1 b), --10E+2 or 100 rows
       E4(N) AS (SELECT 1 FROM E2 a, E2 b), --10E+4 or 10,000 rows max
 cteTally(N) AS (--==== This provides the "base" CTE and limits the number of rows right up front
                     -- for both a performance gain and prevention of accidental "overruns"
                 SELECT TOP (ISNULL(DATALENGTH(@pString),0)) ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY (SELECT NULL)) FROM E4
                ),
cteStart(N1) AS (--==== This returns N+1 (starting position of each "element" just once for each delimiter)
                 SELECT 1 UNION ALL
                 SELECT t.N+1 FROM cteTally t WHERE SUBSTRING(@pString,t.N,1) = @pDelimiter
                ),
cteLen(N1,L1) AS(--==== Return start and length (for use in substring)
                 SELECT s.N1,
                        ISNULL(NULLIF(CHARINDEX(@pDelimiter,@pString,s.N1),0)-s.N1,8000)
                   FROM cteStart s
                )
--===== Do the actual split. The ISNULL/NULLIF combo handles the length for the final element when no delimiter is found.
 SELECT ItemNumber = ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY l.N1),
        Item       = SUBSTRING(@pString, l.N1, l.L1)
   FROM cteLen l
;

Referred from Tally OH! An Improved SQL 8K “CSV Splitter” Function

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