A Clustered Index in SQL Server defines the order in which data physically stored in a table. It means the SQL cluster index will sort the records first and then store them.
Generally, when you create Primary Key, the Clustered index automatically created by that primary key. However, you can explicitly create a clustered index in SQL Server using the CREATE CLUSTER INDEX statement.
Let us see how to create and delete a clustered index in SQL Server using Transact Query, and SQL Server Management Studio
Create Clustered Index in SQL Server
When you create Primary Key Constraint on a column, it will automatically create Clustered Index on that column for you. It only happens if there is no existing Cluster in a table.
TIP : You can create only One SQL Server Cluster Index per Table.
In this example, we will show you how to create a Clustered Index in SQL using the Transact SQL statement. Here we will create a primary key at the time of table creation. I suggest you to refer Create Table article to understand the Create Table statement.
-- Create Clustered Index in SQL Server USE [SQL Tutorial] GO CREATE TABLE [CustomerRecord] ( [CustomerKey] [int] NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY, [FirstName] [varchar](50) NOT NULL , [LastName] [varchar](50) NULL, [EmailAddress] [nvarchar](50) NULL, [Profession] [nvarchar](100) NULL, [Yearly Income] [money] NULL )
Let me use the sp_helpindex stored procedure to check the SQL index on CustomerRecord table.
EXECUTE SP_HELPINDEX CustomerRecord
As you can see from the below screenshot, the primary key had created a Clustered and Unique index on the Customer Key column.
You can also use SP_HELP stored procedure to check the same.
EXECUTE SP_HELP CustomerRecord
It will show all the information about the table.
Or you can expand the table on which we created the SQL Server Clustered Index, and expand the Indexes folder as we have shown below
Insert rows into Clustered Index Column
Let me insert a few rows to check the SQL cluster Index functionality. As you can see, we are inserting five records into the table, and the Customer Key values are not in any proper order.
-- Create Clustered Index in SQL Server USE [SQL Tutorial] GO INSERT INTO [dbo].[CustomerRecord] VALUES (4, 'Imran', 'Khan', '[email protected]', 'Skilled Professional', 15900) ,(2, 'Doe', 'Lara', '[email protected]', 'Management', 15000) ,(5, 'Ramesh', 'Kumar', '[email protected]', 'Professional', 65000) ,(1, 'SQL', 'Tutorial', '[email protected]', 'CEO', 654500) ,(3, 'Tutorial', 'Gateway', '[email protected]', 'HR', 95000)
Let me Select the records that we inserted before. From the below screenshot you can see that, the records are sorted by Customer Key in Ascending Order. This is because, Clustered Index will reorder (rearrange) records.
Delete Clustered Index in SQL Server
Please use the DROP INDEX statement to delete or drop Clustered Index
-- DROP Clustered Index in SQL Server DROP INDEX CustomerRecord.PK__Customer__95011E647C9C5969
Here, our clustered Index created automatically by the primary key, so we can’t simply delete using this statement. But for explicitly created Clustered Index, this will work.
Use SSMS to Delete Clustered Index in SQL Server
Within the object explorer, Expand the Database folder and select the table on which your Clustered Index present. Next, expand the Indexes folder, and right-click on the key name will open the context menu. Please select the Delete option
Once you choose the Delete option, Delete Object window will open. Click OK to delete the Index.
Create SQL Clustered Index on Existing table
In this instance, we will show you how to add Clustered Index on the existing table. And the syntax is:
-- Create Clustered Indexes in SQL Server CREATE CLUSTERED INDEX Index_Name ON Table_Name (Column_Name(s) ASC/DESC)
Below statement will create Clustered Index on Yearly Income Column present in Customerrecord table
-- Create Clustered Indexes in SQL Server CREATE CLUSTERED INDEX IX_CustomerRecord_YearlyIncome ON CustomerRecord ([Yearly Income] ASC)
Now you can see that the Yearly Income column sorts the data in ascending order
This time we created the Clustered Index explicitly. So, let me try the DROP INDEX statement to delete this clustered index.
-- Delete Clustered Indexes in SQL Server DROP INDEX CustomerRecord.IX_CustomerRecord_YearlyIncome
Now you can see we successfully deleted the SQL Server clustered index using the Drop Index statement.
Create Composite Clustered Index in SQL Server
The SQL allows you to create clustered index on multiple columns (but not multiple clustered indexes). So, you can point the same clustered index to Multiple columns. To demonstrate the SQL composite clustered index, we added two more records to the Customer record table
In this example, we are adding a clustered index on Professional column, and Yearly Income column
-- Create Composite Clustered Indexes in SQL Server CREATE CLUSTERED INDEX IX_CustomerRecord_YearlyIncome ON CustomerRecord ([Profession] ASC, [Yearly Income] DESC)
Now you can see, data is sorted by Professional in Ascending Order, and then by Yearly Income in descending order.
Create Clustered Index in SQL Server Management Studio
This section covers the creation of clustered index using management studio
Use Object Explorer to Create Clustered Index
In this example, we show you how to create a Clustered Index in SQL Server using the Management Studio. To do so, please go to the Object Explorer and expand the Database folder in which the table had.
Please expand the table on which you want to create a Clustered Index, and Right-click on the Indexes folder will open the context menu. Please select New Index and then select the Clustered Index.. option as shown below
Once you choose the Clustered Index.. option, a new window called New Index will be opened as we have shown below. Please change the Index Name as per your requirements
Click on the Add button, and select the column name on which you want to specify the SQL Server Clustered Index. For now, we are choosing the Yearly Income column.
Please change the sort order
Now you can see that the table is sorted by Yearly Income in descending order
Create Clustered Index using Table Designer
Please expand the table on which you want to create a Clustered Index in SQL Server Object Explorer. Next, Right-click on it will open the context menu.
Please select the Design option to open the table in the Designer window. Next, Right-click on the column will open the context menu. Please pick the Set Indexes / Keys… option, as we shown below.
Please click on the Add button to add a Clustered Index. Once you select the Add option, SSMS will create an Index for you.
Next, click on the Browse button beside the Columns option to change the column. Next, we selected the Profession as the Column Name, and Descending is the Sort Order.
Under the Table Designer, Please change the Create As Clustered option from default No to Yes
That’s it! We created the clustered index. Now you can see that the data is sorted by Income in descending order.