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SQL*Plus® User's Guide and Reference
Release 10.1

Part Number B12170-01
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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.

Throughout this document, unless explicitly stated otherwise, SQL*Plus is used to refer to SQL*Plus behavior available through all its user interfaces: command-line, Windows Graphical User Interface and the iSQL*Plus web-based user interface.

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 familiarity with this database tool, see the Oracle Database SQL Reference. If you plan to use the PL/SQL database language in conjunction with SQL*Plus, see 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 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 does not own or control. Oracle neither evaluates nor makes any representations regarding the accessibility of these Web sites.


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 interface, Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the iSQL*Plus user interface, and provides configuration information and information you need to log in and run SQL*Plus.

Chapter 1, " SQL*Plus Overview"

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

Chapter 2, "SQL*Plus User Interface"

Describes the SQL*Plus command-line, Windows GUI and iSQL*Plus user interfaces.

Chapter 3, "Configuring SQL*Plus"

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

Chapter 4, "Starting SQL*Plus"

Provides command syntax and explanations for the SQLPLUS command, explains how to start, connect to an Oracle database, access the command-line and online help and exit SQL*Plus. It provides information about the login username and password and the connection identifier you use to connect to an Oracle database.

PART II, Using SQL*Plus

Contains SQL*Plus user guide and tutorial content, information about writing SQL*Plus scripts, 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 text report.

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-line SQL*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. 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.

Related Documents

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 Database. Refer to Oracle Database Sample Schemas for information on how these schemas were created and how you can use them yourself.

SQL*Plus error message documentation is available in Chapter 14, "SQL*Plus Error Messages". Oracle Database error message documentation is only available in HTML. If you only have access to the Oracle Database Documentation CD, you can browse the Oracle Database error messages by range. Once you find the specific range, use your browser's "find in page" feature to locate the specific message. When connected to the Internet, you can search for a specific error message using the error message search feature of the Oracle Database online documentation.

Printed documentation is available for sale in the Oracle Store at

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


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 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.
Italics Italic typeface indicates book titles or emphasis. Oracle 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.

lowercaseitalicmonospace(fixed-widthfont) Lowercase italic monospace 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. If users are expected to type them into the system, they are displayed in a monospace (fixed-width) font and separated from normal text as follows:

SELECT username FROM dba_users WHERE username = 'MIGRATE';

Similarly, output from an example is identified by boxed text as follows.


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.
9 rows selected.
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 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:\> 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. C:\oracle\oradata>
Special characters 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
and sal<1600\"
C:\>imp SYSTEM/password
FROM USER=scott TABLES=(emp, dept)
Represents the Oracle Database 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
ORACLE_HOME andORACLE_BASE In releases prior to Oracle8i release 8.1.3, when you installed Oracle Database components, all subdirectories were located under a top level ORACLE_HOME directory. For Windows NT, the default location was C:\orant.

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 the latest Oracle Database release on a computer with no other Oracle software installed, then the default setting for the first Oracle Database home directory is C:\oracle\orann, where nn is the latest release number. The Oracle Database home directory is located directly under ORACLE_BASE.

All directory path examples in this guide follow OFA conventions.

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

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