sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file (Transact-SQL)

Applies to: yesSQL Server (all supported versions) YesAzure SQL Database

Reads files that are created by the Extended Events asynchronous file target. One event, in XML format, is returned per row.


SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 accept trace results generated in XEL and XEM format. SQL Server 2012 (11.x) Extended Events only support trace results in XEL format. We recommend that you use SQL Server Management Studio to read trace results in XEL format.

Topic link icon Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions


sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file ( path, mdpath, initial_file_name, initial_offset )  


The path to the files to read. path can contain wildcards and include the name of a file. path is nvarchar(260). There is no default. In the context of Azure SQL Database, this value is an HTTP URL to a file in Azure Storage.

The path to the metadata file that corresponds to the file or files specified by the path argument. mdpath is nvarchar(260). There is no default. Starting with SQL Server 2016, this parameter can be given as null.


SQL Server 2012 (11.x) does not require the mdpath parameter. However, it is maintained for backward compatibility for log files generated in previous versions of SQL Server.

The first file to read from path. initial_file_name is nvarchar(260). There is no default. If null is specified as the argument all the files found in path are read.


initial_file_name and initial_offset are paired arguments. If you specify a value for either argument you must specify a value for the other argument.

Used to specify last offset read previously and skips all events up to the offset (inclusive). Event enumeration starts after the offset specified. initial_offset is bigint. If null is specified as the argument the entire file will be read.

Table Returned

Column name Data type Description
module_guid uniqueidentifier The event module GUID. Is not nullable.
package_guid uniqueidentifier The event package GUID. Is not nullable.
object_name nvarchar(256) The name of the event. Is not nullable.
event_data nvarchar(max) The event contents, in XML format. Is not nullable.
file_name nvarchar(260) The name of the file that contains the event. Is not nullable.
file_offset bigint The offset of the block in the file that contains the event. Is not nullable.
timestamp_utc datetime2 Applies to: SQL Server 2017 (14.x) and later and Azure SQL Database.

The date and time (UTC timezone) of the event. Is not nullable.


Reading large result sets by executing sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file in Management Studio may result in an error. Use the Results to File mode (Ctrl+Shift+F) to export large result sets to a file and read the file with another tool instead.


Requires VIEW SERVER STATE permission on the server.


A. Retrieving data from file targets

The following example gets all the rows from all the files. In this example the file targets and metafiles are located in the trace folder on the C:\ drive.

SELECT * FROM sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file('C:\traces\*.xel', 'C:\traces\metafile.xem', null, null);  

See Also

Extended Events Dynamic Management Views
Extended Events Catalog Views (Transact-SQL)
Extended Events