The LIKE operator is used in a WHERE clause to search for a specified pattern in a column.

There are two wildcards often used in conjunction with the LIKE operator:

- % – The percent sign represents zero, one, or multiple characters
- _ – The underscore represents a single character

**Note:** MS Access uses an asterisk (*) instead of the percent sign (%), and a question mark (?) instead of the underscore (_).

The percent sign and the underscore can also be used in combinations!

### LIKE Syntax

SELECT *column1, column2, …*

FROM *table_name*

WHERE *columnN* LIKE *pattern*;

**Tip:** You can also combine any number of conditions using AND or OR operators.

Here are some examples showing different LIKE operators with ‘%’ and ‘_’ wildcards:

LIKE Operator | Description |
---|---|

WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘a%’ | Finds any values that start with “a” |

WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘%a’ | Finds any values that end with “a” |

WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘%or%’ | Finds any values that have “or” in any position |

WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘_r%’ | Finds any values that have “r” in the second position |

WHERE CustomerName LIKE ‘a__%’ | Finds any values that start with “a” and are at least 3 characters in length |

WHERE ContactName LIKE ‘a%o’ | Finds any values that start with “a” and ends with “o” |

The SQL **LIKE** clause is used to compare a value to similar values using wildcard operators. There are two wildcards used in conjunction with the LIKE operator.

- The percent sign (%)
- The underscore (_)

The percent sign represents zero, one or multiple characters. The underscore represents a single number or character. These symbols can be used in combinations.

## Syntax

The basic syntax of % and _ is as follows −

SELECT FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE 'XXXX%' or SELECT FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE '%XXXX%' or SELECT FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE 'XXXX_' or SELECT FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE '_XXXX' or SELECT FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE '_XXXX_'

You can combine N number of conditions using AND or OR operators. Here, XXXX could be any numeric or string value.

## Example

The following table has a few examples showing the WHERE part having different LIKE clause with ‘%’ and ‘_’ operators −

Sr.No. | Statement & Description |
---|---|

1 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘200%’Finds any values that start with 200. |

2 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘%200%’Finds any values that have 200 in any position. |

3 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘_00%’Finds any values that have 00 in the second and third positions. |

4 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘2_%_%’Finds any values that start with 2 and are at least 3 characters in length. |

5 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘%2’Finds any values that end with 2. |

6 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘_2%3’Finds any values that have a 2 in the second position and end with a 3. |

7 | WHERE SALARY LIKE ‘2___3’Finds any values in a five-digit number that start with 2 and end with 3. |

Let us take a real example, consider the CUSTOMERS table having the records as shown below.

+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+ | ID | NAME | AGE | ADDRESS | SALARY | +----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+ | 1 | Ramesh | 32 | Ahmedabad | 2000.00 | | 2 | Khilan | 25 | Delhi | 1500.00 | | 3 | kaushik | 23 | Kota | 2000.00 | | 4 | Chaitali | 25 | Mumbai | 6500.00 | | 5 | Hardik | 27 | Bhopal | 8500.00 | | 6 | Komal | 22 | MP | 4500.00 | | 7 | Muffy | 24 | Indore | 10000.00 | +----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+

Following is an example, which would display all the records from the CUSTOMERS table, where the SALARY starts with 200.

SQL> SELECT * FROM CUSTOMERS WHERE SALARY LIKE '200%';

This would produce the following result −

+----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+ | ID | NAME | AGE | ADDRESS | SALARY | +----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+ | 1 | Ramesh | 32 | Ahmedabad | 2000.00 | | 3 | kaushik | 23 | Kota | 2000.00 | +----+----------+-----+-----------+----------+