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How to Use SQL UPDATE

Reading time 1 min
Published Aug 9, 2017
Updated Oct 9, 2019

TL;DR - The SQL UPDATE command allows you to modify the data records in the table. It is usually used together with the WHERE clause: if you don't use it, all the records in the table will be updated.

The syntax for SQL UPDATE

Example
UPDATE table_name
SET column1 = value1, column2 = value2, ...
WHERE condition;

Examples using a demo database

The Developers table

ID Name City Country
1 Tom Kurkutis New York USA
2 Ana Fernandez London UK
3 Antonio Indigo Paris France
4 Aarav Kaelin Delhi India
5 Andrew Tumota Miami USA
Theory is great, but we recommend digging deeper!

Updating a single entry

Example
UPDATE Developers
SET City = 'Berlin', Country= 'Germany'
WHERE Name = 'Antonio Indigo';

The result

ID Name City Country
1 Tom Kurkutis New York USA
2 Ana Fernandez London UK
3 Antonio Indigo Berlin Germany
4 Aarav Kaelin Delhi India
5 Andrew Tumota Miami USA

Updating entries that comply with a defined condition

Example
UPDATE Developers
SET Name='Ben'
WHERE Country='India';

The result

ID Name City Country
1 Tom Kurkutis New York USA
2 Ana Fernandez London UK
3 Antonio Indigo Berlin Germany
4 Ben Delhi India
5 Andrew Tumota Miami USA

Updating all the entries

Example
UPDATE Developers
SET Name='Ben';

The result

ID Name City Country
1 Ben New York USA
2 Ben London UK
3 Ben Berlin Germany
4 Ben Delhi India
5 Ben Miami USA