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SQL indexes

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 07 Sep, 2020

In this article, we will see how to create, delete, and uses of the INDEX in the database. 
An index is a schema object. It is used by the server to speed up the retrieval of rows by using a pointer. It can reduce disk I/O(input/output) by using a rapid path access method to locate data quickly. An index helps to speed up select queries and where clauses, but it slows down data input, with the update and the insert statements. Indexes can be created or dropped with no effect on the data. 

For example, if you want to reference all pages in a book that discusses a certain topic, you first refer to the index, which lists all the topics alphabetically and is then referred to one or more specific page numbers. 

Creating an Index – It’s syntax is: 

 ON TABLE column;

where the index is the name given to that index and TABLE is the name of the table on which that index is created and column is the name of that column for which it is applied. 

For multiple columns – 

 ON TABLE (column1, column2,.....);

Unique Indexes – 

 ON TABLE column;

Unique indexes are used for the maintenance of the integrity of the data present in the table as well as for the fast performance, it does not allow multiple values to enter into the table. 

When should indexes be created – 

  • A column contains a wide range of values
  • A column does not contain a large number of null values
  • One or more columns are frequently used together in a where clause or a join condition

When should indexes be avoided – 

  • The table is small
  • The columns are not often used as a condition in the query
  • The column is updated frequently

Removing an Index – To remove an index from the data dictionary by using the DROP INDEX command. 


To drop an index, you must be the owner of the index or have the DROP ANY INDEX privilege. 

Altering an Index:  To modify an existing table’s index by rebuilding, or reorganizing the index.


Confirming Indexes – You can check the different indexes present in a particular table given by the user or the server itself and their uniqueness. 

select * from USER_INDEXES;

It will show you all the indexes present in the server, in which you can locate your own tables too.

Renaming an index – You can use system stored procedure sp_rename to rename any index in the database.

EXEC sp_rename  

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