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SQL*Plus User's Guide and Reference
Release 9.2

Part Number A90842-01
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The SQL*Plus (pronounced "sequel plus") User's Guide and Reference introduces the SQL*Plus program and its uses. It also provides a detailed description of each SQL*Plus command.

This preface contains these topics:

Intended Audience

The SQL*Plus User's Guide and Reference is intended for business and technical users and system administrators who perform the following tasks:

This document requires a basic understanding of the SQL language. If you do not have any familiarity with this database tool, refer to the Oracle9i SQL Reference. If you plan to use the PL/SQL database language in conjunction with SQL*Plus, refer to the PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference for information on using PL/SQL.

Documentation Accessibility

Our goal is to make Oracle products, services, and supporting documentation accessible, with good usability, to the disabled community. To that end, our documentation includes features that make information available to users of assistive technology. This documentation is available in HTML format, and contains markup to facilitate access by the disabled community. Standards will continue to evolve over time, and Oracle Corporation is actively engaged with other market-leading technology vendors to address technical obstacles so that our documentation can be accessible to all of our customers. For additional information, visit the Oracle Accessibility Program Web site at

Accessibility of Code Examples in Documentation

JAWS, a Windows screen reader, may not always correctly read the code examples in this document. The conventions for writing code require that closing braces should appear on an otherwise empty line; however, JAWS may not always read a line of text that consists solely of a bracket or brace.

Accessibility of Links to External Web Sites in Documentation

This documentation may contain links to Web sites of other companies or organizations that Oracle Corporation does not own or control. Oracle Corporation neither evaluates nor makes any representations regarding the accessibility of these Web sites.

Documentation Structure

This document contains:

SQL*Plus Quick Start

A brief guide to get you up and running after installation.

PART I, SQL*Plus Getting Started

Provides an overview of SQL*Plus, describes the command-line and iSQL*Plus user interfaces, provides configuration information and information you need to log in and run SQL*Plus

Chapter 1, "SQL*Plus Overview"

An overview of SQL*Plus, with instructions on using this guide, and information on what you need to run SQL*Plus.

Provides introductory information about iSQL*Plus architecture and the iSQL*Plus browser-based interface to SQL*Plus.

Chapter 2, "SQL*Plus User Interface"

Describes the command-line and iSQL*Plus user interfaces, and the iSQL*Plus Extension for Windows.

Chapter 3, "Configuring SQL*Plus"

Explains how to configure your SQL*Plus command-line and iSQL*Plus environments.

Chapter 4, "Starting SQL*Plus"

Explains how to start, connect to an Oracle database, access the command-line and online help and exit SQL*Plus.

PART II, Using SQL*Plus

Contains SQL*Plus user guide and tutorial content, scripts writing information, and SQL*Plus tuning, security, database administration and globalization information.

Chapter 5, "SQL*Plus Basics"

Explains how to enter and execute commands. You learn by following step-by-step examples using sample tables.

Chapter 6, "Using Scripts in SQL*Plus"

Contains further examples to help you learn to write and edit scripts containing SQL*Plus, SQL and PL/SQL statements and commands.

Chapter 7, "Formatting SQL*Plus Reports"

Uses examples to explain how you can format your query results to produce a finished report. It does not discuss HTML output.

Chapter 8, "Generating HTML Reports from SQL*Plus"

Explains how to generate a HTML report containing your query results.

Chapter 9, "Tuning SQL*Plus"

Explains how to obtain and use statistics and other mechanisms to obtain optimal performance from SQL*Plus.

Chapter 10, "SQL*Plus Security"

Explains how to restrict access to databases, and to certain SQL*Plus and SQL commands.

Chapter 11, "Database Administration with SQL*Plus"

Explains basic database administration features in SQL*Plus for Database Administrators (DBAs).

Chapter 12, "SQL*Plus Globalization Support"

Explains how to configure globalization support in command-lineSQL*Plus and iSQL*Plus user interfaces.

PART III, SQL*Plus Reference

Contains SQL*Plus Command Reference and Error Messages.

Chapter 13, "SQL*Plus Command Reference"

Provides a summary of SQL*Plus commands and detailed descriptions of each SQL*Plus command in alphabetical order.

Chapter 14, "SQL*Plus Error Messages"

Lists error messages generated by SQL*Plus, iSQL*Plus, and the COPY command. It provides likely causes and appropriate actions for recovery.

PART IV, SQL*Plus Appendixes

Contains SQL*Plus Appendixes.

Appendix A, "SQL*Plus Limits"

Lists the maximum values for elements of SQL*Plus.

Appendix B, "SQL*Plus COPY Command"

Provides syntax and usage information for the COPY command.

Appendix C, "Obsolete SQL*Plus Commands"

Provides information on Obsolete SQL*Plus commands.

Appendix D, "Commands Not Supported in iSQL*Plus"

Lists SQL*Plus commands that are not supported in iSQL*Plus.


Defines technical terms associated with Oracle and SQL*Plus.

Related Documentation

For more information, see these Oracle resources:

Many of the examples in this book use the sample schemas of the seed database, which is installed by default when you install Oracle. Refer to Oracle9i Sample Schemas for information on how these schemas were created and how you can use them yourself.

In North America, printed documentation is available for sale in the Oracle Store at

Customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) can purchase documentation from

Other customers can contact their Oracle representative to purchase printed documentation.

To download free release notes, installation documentation, white papers, or other collateral, please visit the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). You must register online before using OTN; registration is free and can be done at

If you already have a username and password for OTN, then you can go directly to the documentation section of the OTN Web site at

To access the database documentation search engine directly, please visit

Whitepapers, sample code, frequently asked questions and other useful information are regularly posted to the SQL*Plus section on OTN at


This section describes the conventions used in the text and code examples of this documentation set. It describes:

Conventions in Text

We use various conventions in text to help you more quickly identify special terms. The following table describes those conventions and provides examples of their use.

Convention Meaning Example


Bold typeface indicates terms that are defined in the text or terms that appear in a glossary, or both.

When you specify this clause, you create an index-organized table.


Italic typeface indicates book titles or emphasis.

Oracle9i Database Concepts

Ensure that the recovery catalog and target database do not reside on the same disk.

UPPERCASE monospace (fixed-width font)

Uppercase monospace typeface indicates elements supplied by the system. Such elements include parameters, privileges, datatypes, RMAN keywords, SQL keywords, SQL*Plus or utility commands, packages and methods, as well as system-supplied column names, database objects and structures, usernames, and roles.

You can specify this clause only for a NUMBER column.

You can back up the database by using the BACKUP command.

Query the TABLE_NAME column in the USER_TABLES data dictionary view.


lowercase monospace (fixed-width font)

Lowercase monospace typeface indicates executables, filenames, directory names, and sample user-supplied elements. Such elements include computer and database names, net service names, and connect identifiers, as well as user-supplied database objects and structures, column names, packages and classes, usernames and roles, program units, and parameter values.

Note: Some programmatic elements use a mixture of UPPERCASE and lowercase. Enter these elements as shown.

Enter sqlplus to open SQL*Plus.

The password is specified in the orapwd file.

Back up the datafiles and control files in the /disk1/oracle/dbs directory.

The department_id, department_name, and location_id columns are in the hr.departments table.

Set the QUERY_REWRITE_ENABLED initialization parameter to true.

Connect as oe user.

The JRepUtil class implements these methods.

lowercase monospace (fixed-width font) italic

Lowercase monospace italic font represents placeholders or variables.

You can specify the parallel_clause.

Run Uold_release.SQL where old_release refers to the release you installed prior to upgrading.

Conventions in Code Examples

Code examples illustrate SQL, PL/SQL, SQL*Plus, or other command-line statements. They are displayed in a monospace (fixed-width) font and separated from normal text as shown in this example:

SELECT username FROM dba_users WHERE username = 'MIGRATE';

Code examples illustrate SQL, PL/SQL, SQL*Plus, or other command-line statements. If users are expected to type them into the system, they are identified by the keyboard icon shown in the margin following. They are displayed in a monospace (fixed-width) font and separated from normal text as shown in this example:

Keyboard icon
SELECT username FROM dba_users WHERE username = 'MIGRATE';

Similarly, output from an example is identified by a computer screen icon in the margin as shown in the margin following.

Screen icon

Where both icons occur together, it implies interactive entry and output.

Keyboard iconScreen icon

The following table describes typographic conventions used in code examples and provides examples of their use.

Convention Meaning Example

[ ]

Brackets enclose one or more optional items. Do not enter the brackets.

DECIMAL (digits [ , precision ])

{ }

Braces enclose two or more items, one of which is required. Do not enter the braces.



A vertical bar represents a choice of two or more options within brackets or braces. Enter one of the options. Do not enter the vertical bar.




Horizontal ellipsis points indicate either:

  • That we have omitted parts of the code that are not directly related to the example
  • That you can repeat a portion of the code

CREATE TABLE ... AS subquery;

SELECT col1, col2, ... , coln FROM employees;




Vertical ellipsis points indicate that we have omitted several lines of code not directly related to the example.

Other notation

You must enter symbols other than brackets, braces, vertical bars, and ellipsis points as shown.

acctbal NUMBER(11,2);

acct CONSTANT NUMBER(4) := 3;


Italicized text indicates placeholders or variables for which you must supply particular values.

CONNECT SYSTEM/system_password

DB_NAME = database_name


Uppercase typeface indicates elements supplied by the system. We show these terms in uppercase in order to distinguish them from terms you define. Unless terms appear in brackets, enter them in the order and with the spelling shown. However, because these terms are not case sensitive, you can enter them in lowercase.

SELECT last_name, employee_id FROM employees;


DROP TABLE hr.employees;


Lowercase typeface indicates programmatic elements that you supply. For example, lowercase indicates names of tables, columns, or files.

Note: Some programmatic elements use a mixture of UPPERCASE and lowercase. Enter these elements as shown.

SELECT last_name, employee_id FROM employees;

sqlplus hr/your_password


Conventions for Windows Operating Systems

The following table describes conventions for Windows operating systems and provides examples of their use.

Convention Meaning Example

Choose Start >

How to start a program.

To start the Oracle Database Configuration Assistant, choose Start > Programs > Oracle - HOME_NAME > Configuration and Migration Tools > Database Configuration Assistant.

File and directory names

File and directory names are not case sensitive. The following special characters are not allowed: left angle bracket (<), right angle bracket (>), colon (:), double quotation marks ("), slash (/), pipe (|), and dash (-). The special character backslash (\) is treated as an element separator, even when it appears in quotes. If the file name begins with \\, then Windows assumes it uses the Universal Naming Convention.

c:\winnt"\"system32 is the same as C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32


Represents the Windows command prompt of the current hard disk drive. The escape character in a command prompt is the caret (^). Your prompt reflects the subdirectory in which you are working. Referred to as the command prompt in this manual.


The backslash (\) special character is sometimes required as an escape character for the double quotation mark (") special character at the Windows command prompt. Parentheses and the single quotation mark (') do not require an escape character. Refer to your Windows operating system documentation for more information on escape and special characters.

C:\>exp scott/tiger TABLES=emp QUERY=\"WHERE job='SALESMAN' and sal<1600\"

C:\>imp SYSTEM/password FROMUSER=scott TABLES=(emp, dept)


Represents the Oracle home name. The home name can be up to 16 alphanumeric characters. The only special character allowed in the home name is the underscore.

C:\> net start OracleHOME_NAMETNSListener


In releases prior to Oracle8i release 8.1.3, when you installed Oracle components, all subdirectories were located under a top level ORACLE_HOME directory that by default used one of the following names:

  • C:\orant for Windows NT
  • C:\orawin98 for Windows 98

This release complies with Optimal Flexible Architecture (OFA) guidelines. All subdirectories are not under a top level ORACLE_HOME directory. There is a top level directory called ORACLE_BASE that by default is C:\oracle. If you install Oracle9i release 1 (9.0.1) on a computer with no other Oracle software installed, then the default setting for the first Oracle home directory is C:\oracle\ora90. The Oracle home directory is located directly under ORACLE_BASE.

All directory path examples in this guide follow OFA conventions.

Refer to Oracle9i Database Getting Started for Windows for additional information about OFA compliances and for information about installing Oracle products in non-OFA compliant directories.

Go to the ORACLE_BASE\ORACLE_HOME\rdbms\admin directory.

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