Clustered Index in SQL Server

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 SQL Clustered index automatically created by that primary key. However, you can explicitly create it using the CREATE CLUSTER INDEX statement. Let us see how to create and delete a clustered index in SQL Server using Transact Query, and the Management Studio

How to create Clustered Index in SQL Server

When you create Primary Key Constraint on the sql column, it will automatically create Clustered Index on that column for you. It only happens if there is no existing Cluster in a table. Remember, You can create only One Clustered Index per Table

In this example, we will show you how to create a Clustered Index in SQL using the Transact statement. Here we will create a Primary Key at the time of table creation. Refer Create Table article.

 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
Command(s) completed successfully.

Let me use the sp_helpindex stored procedure to check it on CustomerRecord table.


As you can see, the primary key had created a SQL Clustered and Unique index on the Customer Key column.

Clustered Indexes 2

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.

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Or you can expand the table on which we created it, and expand the Indexes folder

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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.

INSERT INTO [dbo].[CustomerRecord] 
VALUES (4, 'Imran', 'Khan', '', 'Skilled Professional', 15900)
      ,(2, 'Doe', 'Lara', '', 'Management', 15000)
      ,(5, 'Ramesh', 'Kumar', '', 'Professional', 65000)
      ,(1, 'SQL', 'Tutorial', '', 'CEO', 654500)
      ,(3, 'Tutorial', 'Gateway', '', 'HR', 95000)
(5 row(s) affected)

Let me Select the records that we inserted before. From the below image, see that the records are sorted by Customer Key in Ascending Order. Because, it will reorder (rearrange) records.

Clustered Indexes table 6

Delete or Drop Clustered Index in SQL Server

Please use the DROP INDEX statement to delete or drop.

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 create only one, this will work.

Delete or Drop Clustered Indexes error 7

Use SSMS to Delete Clustered Index in SQL Server

Within the object explorer, Expand the Database folder and select the table on which it present. Next, expand the Indexes folder, and right-click on the key name to select the Delete option

Delete Clustered Indexes in SSMS 8

Once you choose the Delete option, Delete Object window will open. Click OK to delete it.

Delete Indexes 9

Create Clustered Index on Existing table

In this instance, we will show you how to add on the existing table. And the syntax is:

ON Table_Name (Column_Name(s) ASC/DESC)

It will create on Yearly Income Column present in Customerrecord table

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

Create Clustered Indexes on Existing table 10

This time we created it explicitly. So, let me try the DROP INDEX statement to delete it.

DROP INDEX CustomerRecord.IX_CustomerRecord_YearlyIncome

We successfully deleted the clustered using the SQL Server Drop Index statement.

Command(s) completed successfully.

Create Composite Clustered Index in SQL Server

The SQL allows you to create it on multiple columns, but not multiple clustered indexes. So, you can point the same clustered to Multiple columns. To demonstrate the SQL server composite clustered index, we added two more records to the Customer record table

Create Composite Clustered Index 12

In this example, we are adding a cluster on Professional column, and Yearly Income column

CREATE CLUSTERED INDEX IX_CustomerRecord_YearlyIncome
ON CustomerRecord ([Profession] ASC, [Yearly Income] DESC)
Command(s) completed successfully.

Now you can see, data is sorted by Professional in Ascending Order, and then by Yearly Income in descending order.

SQL Composite Clustered Indexes 14

Use Management Studio to Create Clustered Index

This section covers the creation it using management studio

Use Object Explorer

In this example, we show you how to create it 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, and Right-click on the Indexes folder will open the context menu. Please select New and then select the Clustered.. option

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Once you choose the option, a new window will be opened. Please change the Name.

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Click on the Add button, and select the column name on which you want to specify the Clustered Index. For now, we are choosing the Yearly Income column.

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Please change the sort order

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Now you can see that the table is sorted by Yearly Income in descending order

Indexed table Data 19

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 and select the Design option to open the table in the Designer window. Next, Right-click on the column and pick the Set Indexes/Keys… option.

Choose Indexes and Keys from Table Design 20

Please click on the Add button to add a new. Once you select the Add option, SSMS will create it for you.

Clustered Index Key 21

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.

Selecting the column name and sort order 22

Under the Table Designer, Please change the Create As Clustered option from default No to Yes

Create as Clustered option 23

That’s it! We created a SQL Server clustered index. Now you can see that the data is sorted by Income in descending order.

Indexed Table sorted in descending order 24