4 Administering SQL*Plus

This chapter describes how to administer SQL*Plus. It contains the following sections:

4.1 Administering Command-Line SQL*Plus

This section describes how to administer command-line SQL*Plus. In the examples, SQL*Plus replaces the question mark (?) with the value of the ORACLE_HOME environment variable.

4.1.1 Using Setup Files

When you start SQL*Plus, it runs the glogin.sql site profile setup file and then runs the login.sql user profile setup file.

Using the Site Profile File

The global site profile file is $ORACLE_HOME/sqlplus/admin/glogin.sql. If a site profile already exists at this location, then it is overwritten when you install SQL*Plus. If SQL*Plus is removed, then the site profile file is also removed.

Using the User Profile File

The user profile file is login.sql. SQL*Plus looks for this file in the current directory, and then in the directories specified by the ORACLEPATH environment variable. The value of this environment variable is a colon-separated list of directories. SQL*Plus searches these directories for the login.sql file in the order that they are listed in the ORACLEPATH environment variable.

The options set in the login.sql file override those set in the glogin.sql file.

See Also:

SQL*Plus User's Guide and Reference for more information about profile files

4.1.2 Using Oracle Database Sample Schemas

When you install Oracle Database or use Oracle Database Configuration Assistant to create a database, you can choose to install Oracle Database Sample Schemas.

4.1.3 Installing and Removing SQL*Plus Command-Line Help

This section describes how to install and remove the SQL*Plus command-line Help. Installing SQL*Plus Command-Line Help

There are three ways to install the SQL*Plus command-line Help:

  • Complete an installation that installs a preconfigured database.

    When you install a preconfigured database as part of an installation, SQL*Plus automatically installs the SQL*Plus command-line Help in the SYSTEM schema.

  • Install the command-line Help manually in the SYSTEM schema by using the $ORACLE_HOME/bin/helpins shell script.

    The helpins script prompts for the SYSTEM password. To run this script without interaction, set the SYSTEM_PASS environment variable to the SYSTEM user name and password. For example:

    • Bourne, Bash, or Korn shell:

      $ SYSTEM_PASS=SYSTEM/system_password; export SYSTEM_PASS
    • C shell:

      % setenv SYSTEM_PASS SYSTEM/system_password
  • Install the command-line Help manually in the SYSTEM schema by using the $ORACLE_HOME/sqlplus/admin/help/helpbld.sql script.

    For example, run the following commands, where system_password is the password of the SYSTEM user:

    $ sqlplus 
    Enter password: system_password
    SQL> @?/sqlplus/admin/help/helpbld.sql ?/sqlplus/admin/help helpus.sql


    Both the helpins shell script and the helpbld.sql script drop existing command-line Help tables before creating new tables. Removing SQL*Plus Command-Line Help

To manually drop the SQL*Plus command-line Help tables from the SYSTEM schema, run the $ORACLE_HOME/sqlplus/admin/help/helpdrop.sql script. To do this, run the following commands, where system_password is the password of the SYSTEM user:

$ sqlplus 
Enter password: system_password
SQL> @?/sqlplus/admin/help/helpdrop.sql

4.2 Using Command-Line SQL*Plus

This section describes how to use command-line SQL*Plus. It contains the following topics:

4.2.1 Using a System Editor from SQL*Plus

If you run an ED or EDIT command at the SQL*Plus prompt, then the system starts an operating system editor, such as ed, emacs, ned, or vi. However, the PATH environment variable must include the directory where the editor executable is located.

The HISTORY command enables users to run, edit, or delete previously used SQL*Plus, SQL, or PL/SQL commands from the history list in the current session. You can enable or disable the history of commands issued in the current SQL*Plus session.

When you start the editor, the current SQL buffer is placed in the editor. When you exit the editor, the changed SQL buffer is returned to SQL*Plus.

You can specify which editor should start by defining the SQL*Plus _EDITOR variable. You can define this variable in the glogin.sql site profile or the login.sql user profile. Alternatively, you can define it during the SQL*Plus session. For example, to set the default editor to vi, run the following command:


If you do not set the _EDITOR variable, then the value of either the EDITOR or the VISUAL environment variable is used. If both environment variables are set, then the value of the EDITOR variable is used. If _EDITOR, EDITOR, and VISUAL are not specified, then the default editor is vi. The defined editor is used in the edit option of the HISTORY command. Consider the following SQL statements:

SQL> hist
1 select * from dual;
2 desc dual

To open the first entry in the above SQL statements in the vi editor, use the following command:

SQL> hist 1 edit

When you start the editor, SQL*Plus uses the afiedt.buf temporary file to pass text to the editor. You can use the SET EDITFILE command to specify a different file name. For example:

SQL> SET EDITFILE /tmp/myfile.sql

SQL*Plus does not delete the temporary file.

4.2.2 Running Operating System Commands from SQL*Plus

Using the HOST command or an exclamation point (!) as the first character after the SQL*Plus prompt causes subsequent characters to be passed to a subshell. The SHELL environment variable sets the shell used to run operating system commands. The default shell is the Bourne shell. If the shell cannot be run, then SQL*Plus displays an error message.

To return to SQL*Plus, run the exit command or press Ctrl+D.

For example, to run a single command, use the following command syntax:

SQL> ! command

In this example, command represents the operating system command that you want to run.

To run multiple operating system commands from SQL*Plus, run the HOST or ! command. Press Enter to return to the operating system prompt.

4.2.3 Interrupting SQL*Plus

While running SQL*Plus, you can stop the scrolling record display and terminate a SQL statement by pressing Ctrl+C.

4.2.4 Using the SPOOL Command

The default file name extension of files generated by the SPOOL command is .lst. To change this extension, specify a spool file containing a period (.). For example:

SQL> SPOOL query.txt

4.3 SQL*Plus Restrictions

This section describes the following SQL*Plus restrictions:

4.3.1 Resizing Windows

The default values for the SQL*Plus LINESIZE and PAGESIZE system variables do not automatically adjust for the window size. If the window size is changed, then you must set the LINESIZE and PAGESIZE system variables.

4.3.2 Return Codes

Operating system return codes use only one byte, which is not enough space to return an Oracle error code. The range for a return code is 0 to 255.

4.3.3 Hiding the Password

If you pass the password on the command line or set the SYSTEM_PASS environment variable to the user name and password of the SYSTEM user, then the output of the ps command may display this information. To prevent unauthorized access, enter the SYSTEM password only when prompted by SQL*Plus.

To automatically run a script, consider using an authentication method that does not require you to store a password. For example, externally authenticated logins to Oracle Database. If you have a low-security environment, then you must consider using the operating system pipes in script files to pass a password to SQL*Plus. For example:

$ echo system_password | sqlplus SYSTEM @MYSCRIPT

Alternatively, run the following commands:

$ sqlplus <<EOF

In the preceding examples, system_password is the password of the SYSTEM user.