Find Columns and Object Definitions in SQL Server

A few years ago, I needed to find a query that I had written in a SQL Stored Procedure but after clicking through several of them and striking out, I decided that there had to be a better way. I ended up writing a simple Stored Procedure with a single search parameter that would return a stored procedure definition and excerpt from it. I like it so much that I’ve added it to every database I’ve managed since then. It was a quick and dirty solution to a problem and I never really put much more thought into it - until tonight.

I was on the Windows Admins Slack tonight working on some SQL queries in the SCCM/ConfigMgr database with Riley Childs and Cody Mathis and during the course of the conversation, Cody shared a short query to find columns with a specific name in the database which got me thinking about my Stored Procedure. I took a look at what I was using and realized that we were in the same book, just on different pages. I took a few minutes and combined our logic and added a few extra bits to make a nicer version of the query. It will now return Table, View, Stored Procedure, and Function names where the object name, column name or object definition match your search criteria. It’s simple but effective. Hope you find it useful as well.

The Script

I’ve added it to my GitHub repo, which I will update as needed, or you can grab the code below:

 1--Change the USING to the DB you want to run this against.USE [CM_ASD]
 2
 3--Change the value to your search term
 4DECLARE @Text nvarchar(1000)
 5SET @Text = 'TextToFind'
 6
 7
 8----Main Query--
 9
10DECLARE @newText varchar(1000)
11SET @NewText = '%' + @Text + '%'
12
13SELECT
14	DISTINCT
15	'TableOrView' AS 'ObjectType'
16	,TABLE_NAME AS  'ObjectName'	
17	,CASE WHEN COLUMN_NAME LIKE @NewText THEN COLUMN_NAME ELSE NULL END AS 'ColumnName'
18	,NULL AS 'Excerpt'
19	,NULL AS 'Definition'
20FROM
21	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
22WHERE
23	TABLE_NAME LIKE @NewText OR
24	COLUMN_NAME LIKE @NewText
25
26UNION
27
28SELECT
29	DISTINCT
30	'StoredProcedure' AS 'ObjectType'
31	,SPECIFIC_NAME AS 'ObjectName'
32	,NULL AS 'ColumnName'
33	,SUBSTRING(ROUTINE_DEFINITION, CHARINDEX(@Text, ROUTINE_DEFINITION)-50, 100) AS 'Excerpt'	
34	,ROUTINE_DEFINITION AS 'Definition'
35FROM 
36	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROUTINES
37WHERE
38	SPECIFIC_NAME LIKE @NewText OR
39	ROUTINE_DEFINITION LIKE @NewText
40
41UNION
42
43SELECT
44	DISTINCT
45	'ViewDefinition' AS 'ObjectType'
46	,TABLE_NAME AS 'ObjectName'
47	,NULL AS 'ColumnName'
48	,SUBSTRING(VIEW_DEFINITION, CHARINDEX(@text, VIEW_DEFINITION)-50, 100) as 'Excerpt'
49	,VIEW_DEFINITION  AS 'Definition'
50FROM 
51	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.VIEWS
52WHERE
53	TABLE_NAME LIKE @NewText OR
54	VIEW_DEFINITION LIKE @newText
55
56UNION
57
58SELECT
59	DISTINCT
60	'Function' AS 'ObjectType' 
61	,TABLE_NAME AS  'ObjectName'
62	,COLUMN_NAME AS 'ColumnName'
63	,NULL AS 'Excerpt'
64	,NULL AS 'Definition'
65FROM 
66	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROUTINE_COLUMNS
67WHERE
68	COLUMN_NAME LIKE @newText
69ORDER BY
70	ObjectType,
71	ColumnName,
72	ObjectName
73	

Sample Output

This shows an example of the expected output. I changed my DB name to CM_PS1 and entered my search of BGB.
This shows an example of the expected output. I changed my DB name to CM_PS1 and entered my search of BGB.

Also, if you’re looking for something more robust that can search within the database data itself (plus much more), check out ApexSQL Search. I just started using it a few weeks ago and it really is fantastic. Best of all, it’s FREE, along with several other tools that I plan to try at some point.