SQL Server: Check if Table or Database Already Exists

Posted January 28, 2013 by Vishwanath Dalvi in Database

Errors warning that “there is already an object” and that the “database already exists” can easily be avoided by first determining if your table and database have already been created.

Does these types of error annoys you when you’re trying to create tables and database in SQL Server?

You will never get these messages if you first check that the database and table exists through the IF EXISTS command. Here are two examples searching for a specific table or database.

Does the table exist in the database?

IF EXISTS ( SELECT [name] FROM sys.tables WHERE [name] = 'Employee' )

   EmpId INT,
   FName VARCHAR(30),
   LName VARCHAR(30),
   Salary INT


In this example sys.tables is a system created table which includes the list of all the created tables within your database. First, we filter with the name column and specify the employee table name. If this table already exists, we drop it and create a new employee table.

If the table does not exist, the employee table statement.

Does the database exist?

We will walk through in a pattern similiar to our previous example. Instead of checking for a table, we will check if the db exists instead.

IF EXISTS ( SELECT [name] FROM sys.databases WHERE [name] = 'DbArticles' )



The sys.databases is a system created table which includes the list of databases within the SQL server. We filter based on the name column and the dArticles database name. If the database already exists, we then drop the database and create a new database under the same name. If the database does not exist, it will create dArticles database.


About Vishwanath Dalvi

Vishwanath Dalvi is a gifted engineer and tech enthusiast. He enjoys music, magic, movies, and gaming. When not hacking around or supporting the open source community, he is trying to overcome his phobia of dogs.
View more articles by Vishwanath Dalvi

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