Views in SQL Server

The SQL Server Views are the virtual tables with columns and rows from the referenced table. This study explains how to create, modify, rename, and delete Views in SQL Server.

Unless we define indexed, a view in SQL Server does not store a set of values in a database. Therefore, when you use the SELECT Statement against a view, the records will come from the table we referenced while creating.

Create View in SQL Server

You can use SQL Server Transact query or Management Studio to create or replace views. Before we get into the example, You can use them for the following purposes:

  • First, simplify the data as per the user’s needs.
  • Restrict the Users not to access the entire database.

SQL Server Create View Statement

This example shows how to create a View in SQL Server using the Create Statement.

CREATE VIEW EmployeesViewbyQuery
SELECT  [FirstName] + ' ' + [LastName] AS Name
	,dept.DepartmentName AS Department
	,[YearlyIncome] AS Income
FROM [MyEmployees Table]
 	 Department AS dept ON
	    Dept.[id] = [MyEmployees Table].DeptID

Let us see the rows and columns result set

SELECT * FROM [dbo].[EmployeesViewbyQuery]
Source 1

Create View in SQL Server Management Studio

This example shows the steps to create a View using the SQL Server Management Studio. The restrictions to remember while creating are

  • It can be created only in the current database
  • It allows us to have a maximum of 1024 columns

To see the existing Views, select the Database that has them. As you see, our database has none.

Right-click on the folder in Management Studio will open the context menu. To create it, Please select the shown option from it.

Choose New option in SSMS 2

Once you click on the option, the Query Designer opens in a separate pop-up window to add the required tables.

Add Tables to Query Designer

You can add functions, tables, or views. For example, from the below image, you can observe that we selected the MyEmployees table and Department table.

Select Table 4

Once you select the required tables, it will show the Query Designer. Please choose the columns needed by check-marking the column names in the Diagram Pane.

Query Designer to develop a SQL Server view 5

We chose the First Name, Last Name, Education, Occupation, Department, Yearly Income, Sales, and Hire Date from this SQL Server Views example from two tables. Remember, you can join two tables by dragging one column onto the other.

Choose Columns for the Query

The sort Type property is to apply for ORDER BY functionality. Please change the Sort Type within the Grid Pane to Ascending or Descending. In this example, we are sorting Yearly Income in Descending Order.

Order by options

Once you select the Descending Operation, it will show you the sorting representation.

Create Views in SQL Server 8

The final select query that we designed

Cross Check the Generated Columns 9

Let us execute this SQL Server views query we designed using the Management Studio and see the result.

SELECT  TOP (100) PERCENT dbo.[MyEmployees Table].FirstName, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].LastName, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].Education, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].Occupation, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].YearlyIncome, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].Sales, 
        dbo.[MyEmployees Table].HireDate
FROM dbo.Department
     dbo.[MyEmployees Table] ON  = dbo.[MyEmployees Table].DeptID
ORDER BY dbo.[MyEmployees Table].YearlyIncome DESC
Select Statement

Next, go to File Menu and select the Save option to save the designed query.

Save the QUERY

It will open the Choose name pop-up window to change the default name.

Choose a Name for SQL Server View

Expand the folder, see the created one, and expand it to see the Column names.

Column Names 12

NOTE: Some clients only give access to Views and will not allow you to access their main database.

Rename Views in SQL Server

It allows you to use the built-in stored procedure sp_rename or the management studio to rename views.

Rename View using Management Studio

This example renames them using SSMS. And to rename it, Please navigate to the one you want to modify. And right-click on the name and select the Rename option.

Rename it in management Studio

Once you click on the Rename option, SSMS allows us to rename them.

Rename Views in SQL Server management Studio 16

SQL Server Rename Views using SP_RENAME

We can use the SQL Server sp_rename stored procedure to rename views. The sp_rename syntax is:

SP_RENAME Old_Name, New_Name

Using the sp_rename stored procedure, you can rename the existing. To do so, click the New query and return the following query.

SP_RENAME EmployeesViewbyStudio, EmployeesVwName

Modify Views in SQL Server

The following examples help you understand the steps involved in modifying the Views. But first, let us see the limitations or restrictions to follow:

  • Dependency Objects such as triggers or stored procedures will not affect by modification.
  • You can use the ALTER statement on indexed ones because it will drop all indexes unconditionally.

Modify Views in SSMS

To modify in Management Studio, navigate to the one you want to change. Next, right-click on it and select the Design option.

Design in Management Studio 17

It opens a new design query window with existing tables and the relationship.

Here, we are using the Filter (WHERE Clause) to restrict the Employees whose Occupation = Professional, and we are using two columns in the ORDER BY Clause.

Modify Views in SQL Server management Studio 19

Let me select all the records from below to show the modified records.

SELECT [FirstName]
  FROM [dbo].[EmployeesViewbySQLSMS]
Select Records from Modified one 20

Alter View Statement to Modify

The SQL Server ALTER VIEW statement is an ideal way to modify existing views. To do so, click the new query and write the subsequent query.

ALTER VIEW [dbo].[EmployeesViewbySQLSMS]
SELECT TOP 10 emp.FirstName, 
FROM  dbo.Department AS Dept
      dbo.[MyEmployees Table] AS emp ON = emp.DeptID
ORDER BY emp.YearlyIncome DESC, 
         emp.Sales DESC

Let us see the Output.

SELECT [FirstName]
  FROM [EmployeesViewbySQLSMS]
Modify Views in SQL Server 21

How to find the definition of a View?

Use the SQL Server sp_helptext stored procedure to get the definition of Views.

SP_HELPTEXT [EmployeesViewbyQuery]
SP_HELPTEXT to Find Definition 22

Delete Views

The following examples show how to delete it.

  • Deleting or Dropping a Table will not drop the dependent, so you have to explicitly use the SQL Server DROP VIEW statement to delete them.
  • When you drop it, all the information (including the definition) will delete from the system catalog.

Delete Views using Management Studio

To delete using the Management Studio, right-click on the name and click the Delete option. For this demonstration, we want to delete the below one.

Delete from Management Studio 23

Selecting the delete option will open a Delete Object window. Next, click the Show Dependencies button to check the dependencies, then click OK to delete.

Delete the Sql Server View Object 24

Delete or Drop Views using Query

Let me use the SQL Server DROP statement to delete Views.

DROP VIEW [dbo].[EmployeesVwbyQuery]

TIP: It is good practice to check whether it exists in the database or not using IF OBJECT_ID (N’VwName’, ‘V’) IS NOT NULL

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