If you don't require an exact answer, it isn't necessary use a SELECT count(*) query on the rows in a table to get the row count. SQL Server keeps the row count in sysindexes and it can be retrieved there. The key is to select the correct record from sysindexes.
Sysindexes is a system table that exists in every database. SQL Server maintains at least one row in sysindexes for every user table. A few of the most important columns are:
Column Data Type Description -------- ---------- ---------------------------------------- id int ID of the table referred to by this row indid int See the text that follows... rowcnt bigint Number of rows in the index
The indid column tells us what part of the table structure this row of sysindexes is referring to:
indid value Description ----------- ---------------------------------------------------- 0 Table data when there is no clustered index 1 Referes to the clustered index 2 - 254 Non-clustered indexes 255 Text or Image data pages
A table will only have an entry in sysindexes with an indid value of for 0 or 1, never both. That's the entry that we're interested in because its rowcnt field gives is the number of rows in the table. There's a query that shows the table, index and indid from the pubs database:
USE pubs GO SELECT so.[name] as [table name] , CASE WHEN si.indid between 1 and
254 THEN si.[name] ELSE NULL END AS [Index Name] , si.indid FROM sysindexes si INNER JOIN sysobjects so ON si.id = so.id WHERE si.indid < 2 AND so.type = 'U' -- Only User Tables AND so.[name] != 'dtproperties' ORDER BY so.[name]
Here are the results:
table name Index Name indid --------------- --------------------- ------ authors UPKCL_auidind 1 discounts NULL 0 employee employee_ind 1 jobs PK__jobs__117F9D94 1 pub_info UPKCL_pubinfo 1 publishers UPKCL_pubind 1 roysched NULL 0 sales UPKCL_sales 1 stores UPK_storeid 1 titleauthor UPKCL_taind 1 titles UPKCL_titleidind 1
As you can see from the results, most of the indexes are clustered (indid=1) but a few tables such as discounts don't have a clustered index (indid=0).
I started this newsletter with "If you don't need an exact answer..." That's because there are times when rowcnt is not the exact number of records in the table. This can be corrected by updating statistics on the table with:
dbcc updateusage go
Here's the CREATE FUNCTION script for udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT:
CREATE FUNCTION dbo.udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT ( @sTableName sysname -- Table to retrieve Row Count ) RETURNS INT -- Row count of the table, NULL if not found. /* * Returns the row count for a table by examining sysindexes. * This function must be run in the same database as the table. * * Common Usage: SELECT dbo.udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT ('
') * Test PRINT 'Test 1 Bad table ' + CASE WHEN SELECT dbo.udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT ('foobar') is NULL THEN 'Worked' ELSE 'Error' END * © Copyright 2002 Andrew Novick http://www.NovickSoftware.com * You may use this function in any of your SQL Server databases * including databases that you sell, so long as they contain * other unrelated database objects. You may not publish this * UDF either in print or electronically. ***************************************************************/ AS BEGIN DECLARE @nRowCount INT -- the rows DECLARE @nObjectID int -- Object ID SET @nObjectID = OBJECT_ID(@sTableName) -- Object might not be found IF @nObjectID is null RETURN NULL SELECT TOP 1 @nRowCount = rows FROM sysindexes WHERE id = @nObjectID AND indid < 2 RETURN @nRowCount END GO GRANT EXECUTE ON [dbo].[udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT] TO PUBLIC GO
Let's use it:
use pubs -- assuming the UDF was created in pubs go SELECT [name] , dbo.udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT ([name]) as [Row Count] FROM sysobjects WHERE type='U' and name != 'dtproperties' ORDER BY [name] GO
Here are the results:
name Row Count ---------------------------------------- ----------- authors 24 discounts 3 employee 43 jobs 14 pub_info 8 publishers 8 roysched 86 sales 21 stores 6 titleauthor 25 titles 18
Tony B. writes: I have some questions about the "rowcnt" column found in sysindexes: Is this "rowcnt" value found in sysindexes always 100% accurate? How do uncommitted transactions affect this "rowcnt" value? By the way, Sybase also holds this same "rowcnt" value; however, it is no longer stored in sysindexes but can be found the systabstats table along with some other very useful numbers such as data row size, forwarded row count, deleted row count, page count and empty page count.
Franck L. writes: Marvellous function. But have your ever heard something about sp_spaceused 'tablename'?
Andy Novick, the author, responds: Regarding sp_spaceused: sp_spaceused does return the same information. The advantage of getting this information from the function is that it's a scalar and can be used in different places in SQL. For example, you could use this in a WHERE clause such as:
SELECT * FROM information_schema.tables WHERE TABLE_TYPE = 'BASE TABLE' and dbo.udf_Tbl_RowCOUNT (TABLE_NAME) > 1000
to take a look at the tables that have more than 1000 rows.
Patrick W. writes: This will only work if the table has a primary key or a clustered index. (I don't know which one but I don't want to look into it.) Because of that it will not work for every table. So you return a NULL if it is not found but this is incorrect because it doesn't mean there are no records in that table.
For More Information
- Feedback: E-mail the editor with your thoughts about this tip.
- More tips: Hundreds of free SQL Server tips and scripts.
- Tip contest: Have a SQL Server tip to offer your fellow DBAs and developers? The best tips submitted will receive a cool prize -- submit your tip today!
- Ask the Experts: Our SQL, database design, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, metadata, and data warehousing gurus are waiting to answer your toughest questions.
- Forums: Ask your technical SQL Server questions--or help out your peers by answering them--in our active forums.
- Best Web Links: SQL Server tips, tutorials, and scripts from around the Web.
This was first published in February 2005