Specify Default Values for Columns

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server yesAzure SQL Database yesAzure SQL Data Warehouse yesParallel Data Warehouse

You can use SQL Server Management Studio to specify a default value that will be entered into the table column. You can use the Object Explorer of the user interface that, or you can the general control for submitting Transact-SQL.

If you do not assign a default value to the column, and the user leaves the column blank, then:

  • If you set the option to allow null values, NULL will be inserted into the column.

  • If you do not set the option to allow null values, the column will remain blank, but the user will not be able to save the row until they supply a value for the column.

Limitations and Restrictions

Before you begin, be aware of the following limitations and restrictions:

  • If your entry in the Default Value field replaces a bound default (which is shown without parentheses), you will be prompted to unbind the default and replace it with your new default.

  • To enter a text string, enclose the value in single quotation marks ('); do not use double quotation marks (") because they are reserved for quoted identifiers.

  • To enter a numeric default, enter the number without quotation marks around it.

  • To enter an object/function, enter the name of the object/function without quotation marks around it.

Security Permissions

The actions described in this article require ALTER permission on the table.

Use SSMS to specify a default

You can use the Object Explorer to specify a default value for a table column.

Object Explorer

  1. In Object Explorer, right-click the table with columns for which you want to change the scale and click Design.

  2. Select the column for which you want to specify a default value.

  3. In the Column Properties tab, enter the new default value in the Default Value or Binding property.

    Note

    To enter a numeric default value, enter the number. For an object or function enter its name. For an alphanumeric default enter the value inside single quotes.

  4. On the File menu, click Save table name.

We are listening: If you find something outdated or incorrect in this article, such as a step or a code example, please tell us. You can click the This page button in the Feedback section at the bottom of this page. We read every item of feedback about SQL, typically the next day. Thanks.

Use Transact-SQL to specify a default

There are various ways that you can specify a default value for a column, by using SSMS to submit T-SQL.

ALTER TABLE (T-SQL)

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query window and click Execute.

    CREATE TABLE dbo.doc_exz (column_a INT, column_b INT); -- Allows nulls.
    GO
    INSERT INTO dbo.doc_exz (column_a) VALUES (7);
    GO
    ALTER TABLE dbo.doc_exz
      ADD CONSTRAINT col_b_def
      DEFAULT 50 FOR column_b;
    GO
    

CREATE TABLE (T-SQL)

    CREATE TABLE dbo.doc_exz (
      column_a INT,
      column_b INT DEFAULT 50);

Named CONSTRAINT (T-SQL)

    CREATE TABLE dbo.doc_exz (
      column_a INT,
      column_b INT CONSTRAINT DF_doc_exz_column_b DEFAULT 50);

For more information, see ALTER TABLE (Transact-SQL).