SQL*Plus User's Guide and Reference
Release 8.1.5






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Learning SQL*Plus Basics, 2 of 4

Getting Started

To begin using SQL*Plus, you must first become familiar with the functions of several keys on your keyboard and understand how to start and leave SQL*Plus.

Using the Keyboard

Several keys on your keyboard have special meaning in SQL*Plus. Table 2-1, "SQL*Plus Special Keys and their Functions" lists these keys.

See your Oracle installation and user's manual(s) for your operating system to learn which physical key performs each function on the keyboard commonly used with your host computer.


A SQL*Plus key may perform different functions when pressed in other products or the operating system. 

Fill in each blank in Table 2-1 with the name of the corresponding keyboard key. Then locate each key on your keyboard.

Table 2-1 SQL*Plus Special Keys and their Functions
SQL*Plus Key Name  Keyboard Key Name  Function 



End of a line of input. 



Move cursor left one character to correct an error. 



Suspend program operation and display of output. 



Resume program operation and output [Pause]. 



Halt program operation; return to the SQL*Plus command prompt. 



Exit SQL*Plus and return to the host operating system. 

Starting SQL*Plus

Now that you have identified important keys on your keyboard, you are ready to start SQL*Plus.

Example 2-1 Starting SQL*Plus

This example shows you how to start SQL*Plus. Follow the steps shown.

  1. Make sure that Oracle has been installed on your computer.

  2. Turn on your computer (if it is off) and log on to the host operating system (if required). If you are already using your computer, you need not log off or reset it. Simply exit from the program you are using (if any).

    You should see one or more characters at the left side of the screen. This is the operating system's command prompt, which signals that the operating system is ready to accept a command. In this Guide the operating system's prompt will be represented by a dollar sign ($). Your computer's operating system prompt may be different.

  3. Enter the command SQLPLUS and press [Return]. This is an operating system command that starts SQL*Plus.


    Some operating systems expect you to enter commands in lowercase letters. If your system expects lowercase, enter the SQLPLUS command in lowercase. 


SQL*Plus displays its version number, the date, and copyright information, and prompts you for your username (the text displayed on your system may differ slightly):

SQL*Plus: Release 8.1 - on Mon Nov 23 09:39:26 1998
(c) Copyright 1998 Oracle Corporation.
All rights reserved.
Enter user-name:

  • Enter your username and press [Return]. SQL*Plus displays the prompt "Enter password:".

  • Enter your password and press [Return] again. For your protection, your password does not appear on the screen.

    The process of entering your username and password is called logging in. SQL*Plus displays the version of Oracle to which you connected and the versions of available tools such as PL/SQL.

    Next, SQL*Plus displays the SQL*Plus command prompt:


    The command prompt indicates that SQL*Plus is ready to accept your commands.

    If SQL*Plus does not start, you should see a message to help you correct the problem.

    Shortcuts to Starting SQL*Plus

    When you start SQL*Plus, you can enter your username and password, separated by a slash (/), following the command SQLPLUS. For example, if your username is SCOTT and your password is TIGER, you can enter


    and press [Return]. You can also arrange to log in to SQL*Plus automatically when you log on to your host operating system. See the Oracle installation and user's manual(s) provided for your operating system for details.

    Leaving SQL*Plus

    When you are done working with SQL*Plus and wish to return to the operating system, enter the EXIT command at the SQL*Plus command prompt.

    Example 2-2 Exiting SQL*Plus

    To leave SQL*Plus, enter the EXIT command at the SQL*Plus command prompt:


    SQL*Plus displays the version of Oracle from which you disconnected and the versions of tools available through SQL*Plus. After a moment you will see the operating system prompt.

    Before continuing with this chapter, follow steps 3, 4, and 5 of Example 2-1 to start SQL*Plus again. Alternatively, log in using the shortcut shown under "Shortcuts to Starting SQL*Plus" above.

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    All Rights Reserved.