A wildcard character can be used to substitute for any other character(s) in a string.

SQL Wildcard Characters

In SQL, wildcard characters are used with the SQL LIKE operator.

SQL wildcards are used to search for data within a table.

With SQL, the wildcards are:

Wildcard Description
% A substitute for zero or more characters
_ A substitute for a single character
[charlist] Sets and ranges of characters to match
[^charlist] or
[!charlist]
Matches only a character NOT specified within the brackets

Demo Database

In this tutorial we will use the well-known Northwind sample database.

Below is a selection from the “Customers” table:

CustomerID CustomerName ContactName Address City PostalCode Country
1 Alfreds Futterkiste Maria Anders Obere Str. 57 Berlin 12209 Germany
2 Ana Trujillo Emparedados y helados Ana Trujillo Avda. de la Constitución 2222 México D.F. 05021 Mexico
3 Antonio Moreno Taquería Antonio Moreno Mataderos 2312 México D.F. 05023 Mexico
4 Around the Horn Thomas Hardy 120 Hanover Sq. London WA1 1DP UK
5 Berglunds snabbköp Christina Berglund Berguvsvägen 8 Luleå S-958 22 Sweden

Using the SQL % Wildcard

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City starting with “ber”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE 'ber%';</div>

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City containing the pattern “es”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE '%es%';</div>

Using the SQL _ Wildcard

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City starting with any character, followed by “erlin”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE '_erlin';</div>

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City starting with “L”, followed by any character, followed by “n”, followed by any character, followed by “on”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE 'L_n_on';</div>

Using the SQL [charlist] Wildcard

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City starting with “b”, “s”, or “p”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE '[bsp]%';</div>

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City starting with “a”, “b”, or “c”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE '[a-c]%';</div>

The following SQL statement selects all customers with a City NOT starting with “b”, “s”, or “p”:

Example

<div class="w3-code notranslate">SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City LIKE '[!bsp]%';</div>
<div class="w3-code notranslate">

or

SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE City NOT LIKE '[bsp]%';</div>
<div class="w3-code notranslate">
Pankaj Singh Sugara

Author Pankaj Singh Sugara

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