Causes SQL Server to stop processing the query after the specified number of rows are returned.

Topic link iconTransact-SQL Syntax Conventions


SET ROWCOUNT { number | @number_var } 


  • number | @number_var
    Is the number, an integer, of rows to be processed before stopping the specific query.



Using SET ROWCOUNT will not affect DELETE, INSERT, and UPDATE statements in the next release of SQL Server. Do not use SET ROWCOUNT with DELETE, INSERT, and UPDATE statements in new development work, and plan to modify applications that currently use it. Also, for DELETE, INSERT, and UPDATE statements that currently use SET ROWCOUNT, we recommend that you rewrite them to use the TOP syntax. For more information, see DELETE (Transact-SQL), INSERT (Transact-SQL), or UPDATE (Transact-SQL).

The setting of the SET ROWCOUNT option is ignored for INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements against remote tables and local and remote partitioned views.

To set this option off so that all rows are returned, specify SET ROWCOUNT 0.


Setting the SET ROWCOUNT option causes most Transact-SQL statements to stop processing when they have been affected by the specified number of rows. This includes triggers and data modification statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. The ROWCOUNT option does not affect dynamic cursors, but it does limit the rowset of keyset and insensitive cursors. This option should be used with caution and primarily with the SELECT statement.

SET ROWCOUNT overrides the SELECT statement TOP keyword if the rowcount is the smaller value.

SET ROWCOUNT is ignored in INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements when an explicit TOP expression is used in the same statement. This includes statements in which INSERT is followed by a SELECT clause.

The setting of SET ROWCOUNT is set at execute or run time and not at parse time.


Requires membership in the public role.


SET ROWCOUNT stops processing after the specified number of rows. In the following example, note that 545 rows meet the criteria of Quantity less than 300. However, from the number of rows returned by the update, you can see that not all rows were processed. ROWCOUNT affects all Transact-SQL statements.

USE AdventureWorks2008R2;
SELECT count(*) AS Count
FROM Production.ProductInventory
WHERE Quantity < 300;

Here is the result set.




(1 row(s) affected)

Now, set ROWCOUNT to 4 and update all rows with a Quantity less than 300.

UPDATE Production.ProductInventory
SET Quantity = 400
WHERE Quantity < 300;

(4 row(s) affected)

See Also