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Finding the Nth maximal value: An extension of the MAX T-SQL function

This SQL Server T-SQL procedure finds the nth maximum value of the column's value in a table.

The following procedure gets a tablename, column and integer (N) as parameters and finds the Nth largest value of a column in a specific table. For example, running it with "products," "UnitPrice," and "13," retrieves the 13th largest value of the UnitPrice column from the products table. If no such N exists, an error message is printed. The procedure code and usage is listed below:

create proc max_nth_value (@tablename varchar(50),
                           @column varchar(50),
                           @n int,
                           @res decimal (10,4) OUTPUT)
set nocount on
declare @sqlStatment varchar(200)
set @sqlStatment  = 'select a.' + @column + ' from ' + @tableName + ' a ' + 
                   'where ' + convert (varchar(10),@n) + 
                   '=(select count(distinct ' + @column + ')' +
                   ' from  ' + @tableName + ' b ' +
                   ' where ' + 'a.'+ @column +  ' <= ' + 'b.' + @column + ')'
create table #tres (x decimal (10,4))
insert into #tres exec (@sqlStatment)
if @@rowcount = 0  print 'No value found!' else select @res = x from #tres
set nocount off

Here is how to use it:

declare @res decimal (10,4)
exec max_nth_value 'products','unitprice',8,@res OUTPUT 
print @res

About the author

Eli Leiba works at the Israel Electric Company as a senior application DBA in Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. He has certifications from Microsoft and BrainBench in Oracle and SQL Server database administration and implementation. Mr. Leiba holds a B.S. in computer science and has 11 years of experience working in the database field. Additionally, Mr. Leiba teaches SQL Server DBA and development courses at the Microsoft CTEC and also serves as a senior database consultant for several Israeli start-up companies.

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