[sql] concatenate two database columns into one resultset column

I use the following SQL to concatenate several database columns from one table into one column in the result set:

SELECT (field1 + '' + field2 + '' + field3) FROM table1

When one of the fields is null I got null result for the whole concatenation expression. How can I overcome this?

The database is MS SQL Server 2008. By the way, is this the best way to concatenate database columns? Is there any standard SQL doing this?

This question is related to sql sql-server-2008 concatenation

The answer is


If you were using SQL 2012 or above you could use the CONCAT function:

SELECT CONCAT(field1, field2, field3) FROM table1

NULL fields won't break your concatenation.

@bummi - Thanks for the comment - edited my answer to correspond to it.


Normal behaviour with NULL is that any operation including a NULL yields a NULL...

- 9 * NULL  = NULL  
- NULL + '' = NULL  
- etc  

To overcome this use ISNULL or COALESCE to replace any instances of NULL with something else..

SELECT (ISNULL(field1,'') + '' + ISNULL(field2,'') + '' + ISNULL(field3,'')) FROM table1

If both Column are numeric Then Use This code

Just Cast Column As Varchar(Size)

Example:

Select (Cast(Col1 as Varchar(20)) + '-' + Cast(Col2 as Varchar(20))) As Col3 from Table

Just Cast Column As Varchar(Size)

If both Column are numeric then use code below.

Example:

Select (Cast(Col1 as Varchar(20)) + '-' + Cast(Col2 as Varchar(20))) As Col3 from Table

What will be the size of col3 it will be 40 or something else


Use ISNULL to overcome it.

Example:

SELECT (ISNULL(field1, '') + '' + ISNULL(field2, '')+ '' + ISNULL(field3, '')) FROM table1

This will then replace your NULL content with an empty string which will preserve the concatentation operation from evaluating as an overall NULL result.


If you are having a problem with NULL values, use the COALESCE function to replace the NULL with the value of your choice. Your query would then look like this:

SELECT (COALESCE(field1, '') + '' + COALESCE(field2, '') + '' + COALESCE(field3,'')) FROM table1

http://www.codeproject.com/KB/database/DataCrunching.aspx


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