UPDATE Statement

The UPDATE statement changes the values of specified columns in one or more rows in a table or view. For a full description of the UPDATE SQL statement, see Oracle Database SQL Reference.


update statement ::=

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Keyword and Parameter Description


Another (usually short) name for the referenced table or view, typically used in the WHERE clause.


The column (or one of the columns) to be updated. It must be the name of a column in the referenced table or view. A column name cannot be repeated in the column_name list. Column names need not appear in the UPDATE statement in the same order that they appear in the table or view.


Returns values from updated rows, eliminating the need to SELECT the rows afterward. You can retrieve the column values into variables or host variables, or into collections or host arrays. You cannot use the RETURNING clause for remote or parallel updates. If the statement does not affect any rows, the values of the variables specified in the RETURNING clause are undefined. For the syntax of returning_clause, see "RETURNING INTO Clause".

SET column_name = sql_expression

This clause assigns the value of sql_expression to the column identified by column_name. If sql_expression contains references to columns in the table being updated, the references are resolved in the context of the current row. The old column values are used on the right side of the equal sign.

SET column_name = (subquery3)

Assigns the value retrieved from the database by subquery3 to the column identified by column_name. The subquery must return exactly one row and one column.

SET (column_name, column_name, ...) = (subquery4)

Assigns the values retrieved from the database by subquery4 to the columns in the column_name list. The subquery must return exactly one row that includes all the columns listed. The column values returned by the subquery are assigned to the columns in the column list in order. The first value is assigned to the first column in the list, the second value is assigned to the second column in the list, and so on.


Any valid SQL expression. For more information, see Oracle Database SQL Reference.


A SELECT statement that provides a set of rows for processing. Its syntax is like that of select_into_statement without the INTO clause. See "SELECT INTO Statement".


A table or view that must be accessible when you execute the UPDATE statement, and for which you must have UPDATE privileges. For the syntax of table_reference, see "DELETE Statement".

TABLE (subquery2)

The operand of TABLE is a SELECT statement that returns a single column value, which must be a nested table or a varray. Operator TABLE informs Oracle that the value is a collection, not a scalar value.

WHERE CURRENT OF cursor_name

Refers to the latest row processed by the FETCH statement associated with the specified cursor. The cursor must be FOR UPDATE and must be open and positioned on a row. If the cursor is not open, the CURRENT OF clause causes an error. If the cursor is open, but no rows have been fetched or the last fetch returned no rows, PL/SQL raises the predefined exception NO_DATA_FOUND.

WHERE search_condition

Chooses which rows to update in the database table. Only rows that meet the search condition are updated. If you omit this clause, all rows in the table are updated.

Usage Notes

You can use the UPDATE WHERE CURRENT OF statement after a fetch from an open cursor (including fetches done by a cursor FOR loop), provided the associated query is FOR UPDATE. This statement updates the row that was just fetched.

The implicit cursor SQL and the cursor attributes %NOTFOUND, %FOUND, %ROWCOUNT, and %ISOPEN let you access useful information about the execution of an UPDATE statement.


Example 13-7 creates a table with correct employee IDs but garbled names. Then it runs an UPDATE statement with a correlated query, to retrieve the correct names from the EMPLOYEES table and fix the names in the new table.

Example 13-7 Using UPDATE With a Subquery

-- Create a table with all the right IDs, but messed-up names
CREATE TABLE employee_temp AS 
  SELECT employee_id, UPPER(first_name) first_name,
    TRANSLATE(last_name,'aeiou','12345') last_name
    FROM employees;
-- Display the first 5 names to show they're messed up
   FOR person IN (SELECT * FROM employee_temp WHERE ROWNUM < 6)
      DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(person.first_name || ' ' || person.last_name);
   UPDATE employee_temp SET (first_name, last_name) =
      (SELECT first_name, last_name FROM employees
         WHERE employee_id = employee_temp.employee_id);
   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('*** Updated ' || SQL%ROWCOUNT || ' rows. ***');
-- Display the first 5 names to show they've been fixed up
   FOR person IN (SELECT * FROM employee_temp WHERE ROWNUM < 6)
      DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(person.first_name || ' ' || person.last_name);

For examples, see the following:

Example 1-12, "Creating a Stored Subprogram"
Example 4-1, "Using a Simple IF-THEN Statement"
Example 5-51, "Updating a Row Using a Record"
Example 5-52, "Using the RETURNING Clause with a Record"
Example 6-1, "Data Manipulation With PL/SQL"
Example 6-5, "Using CURRVAL and NEXTVAL"
Example 6-6, "Using ROWNUM"
Example 6-38, "Using SAVEPOINT With ROLLBACK"
Example 6-41, "Using CURRENT OF to Update the Latest Row Fetched From a Cursor"
Example 7-1, "Examples of Dynamic SQL"
Example 7-5, "Dynamic SQL with RETURNING BULK COLLECT INTO Clause"
Example 7-6, "Dynamic SQL Inside FORALL Statement"
Example 11-6, "Using Rollbacks With FORALL"
Example 11-9, "Bulk Operation That Continues Despite Exceptions"

Related Topics

"Data Manipulation"
"DELETE Statement"
"FETCH Statement"
"INSERT Statement"