SQL Query

The SQL LIKE Operator

The LIKE operator is used in a WHERE clause to search for a specified pattern in a column.

There are two wildcards often used in conjunction with the LIKE operator:

  • % – The percent sign represents zero, one, or multiple characters
  • _ – The underscore represents a single character

Note: MS Access uses an asterisk (*) instead of the percent sign (%), and a question mark (?) instead of the underscore (_).

The percent sign and the underscore can also be used in combinations!

LIKE Syntax

SELECT column1, column2, …
FROM table_name
WHERE columnN LIKE pattern;

Tip: You can also combine any number of conditions using AND or OR operators.

Here are some examples showing different LIKE operators with ‘%’ and ‘_’ wildcards:

LIKE OperatorDescription
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘a%’Finds any values that start with “a”
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘%a’Finds any values that end with “a”
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘%or%’Finds any values that have “or” in any position
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘_r%’Finds any values that have “r” in the second position
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘a_%’Finds any values that start with “a” and are at least 2 characters in length
WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘a__%’Finds any values that start with “a” and are at least 3 characters in length
WHERE ContactName LIKE ‘a%o’Finds any values that start with “a” and ends with “o”

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