Specify Default Values for Columns

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server (starting with 2016) yesAzure SQL Database yesAzure SQL Data Warehouse yesParallel Data Warehouse

You can specify a default value that will be entered in the column in SQL Server 2017 by using SQL Server Management Studio or Transact-SQL. If you do not assign a default value 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.

    In This Topic

  • Before you begin:

    Limitations and Restrictions


  • To specify a default value, using:

    SQL Server Management Studio


Before You Begin

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.



Requires ALTER permission on the table.

Using SQL Server Management Studio

To specify a default value for a column

  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.


    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 Savetable name.

Using Transact-SQL

To specify a default value for a column

  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) ;  
    INSERT INTO dbo.doc_exz (column_a)VALUES ( 7 ) ;  
    ALTER TABLE dbo.doc_exz  
    ADD CONSTRAINT col_b_def  
    DEFAULT 50 FOR column_b ;  

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