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SQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint


SQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint

The PRIMARY KEY constraint uniquely identifies each record in a database table.

Primary keys must contain UNIQUE values, and cannot contain NULL values.

A table can have only one primary key, which may consist of single or multiple fields.


SQL PRIMARY KEY on CREATE TABLE

The following SQL creates a PRIMARY KEY on the "ID" column when the "Persons" table is created:

MySQL:

CREATE TABLE Persons (
    ID int NOT NULL,
    LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
    FirstName varchar(255),
    Age int,
    PRIMARY KEY (ID)
);

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons (
    ID int NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY,
    LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
    FirstName varchar(255),
    Age int
);

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons (
    ID int NOT NULL,
    LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
    FirstName varchar(255),
    Age int,
    CONSTRAINT PK_Person PRIMARY KEY (ID,LastName)
);

Note: In the example above there is only ONE PRIMARY KEY (PK_Person). However, the VALUE of the primary key is made up of TWO COLUMNS (ID + LastName).


SQL PRIMARY KEY on ALTER TABLE

To create a PRIMARY KEY constraint on the "ID" column when the table is already created, use the following SQL:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD PRIMARY KEY (ID);

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD CONSTRAINT PK_Person PRIMARY KEY (ID,LastName);

Note: If you use the ALTER TABLE statement to add a primary key, the primary key column(s) must already have been declared to not contain NULL values (when the table was first created).


DROP a PRIMARY KEY Constraint

To drop a PRIMARY KEY constraint, use the following SQL:

MySQL:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP PRIMARY KEY;

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP CONSTRAINT PK_Person;