How to Update Records in SQL?

Updating records in a SQL database is a common and essential operation when working with databases.

Whether you need to correct errors, modify existing data, or implement new information, SQL provides the UPDATE statement to perform these tasks efficiently.

In this article, we'll explore the process of updating records in SQL.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. SQL UPDATE Statement
  3. Updating Records in a Table
  4. Updating Records with the WHERE Clause
  5. Updating Multiple Records
  6. Conclusion


In a relational database, data evolves over time. As a result, it's crucial to be able to update existing records when changes occur.

SQL provides the UPDATE statement, allowing you to modify data in a table while preserving the structure of the database.

SQL UPDATE Statement

The basic syntax for the UPDATE statement is as follows:

UPDATE table_name
SET column1 = value1, column2 = value2, ...
WHERE condition;

Updating Records in a Table

To update a single record in a table, you can use the UPDATE statement. For example, to change the last name of an employee with EmployeeID 3:

UPDATE Employees
SET LastName = 'Smith'
WHERE EmployeeID = 3;

This query sets the LastName of the employee with EmployeeID 3 to "Smith."

Updating Records with the WHERE Clause

In most cases, you want to update multiple records based on specific conditions.

The WHERE clause allows you to target records that meet certain criteria. For example, to give all employees with a salary below $50,000 a raise:

UPDATE Employees
SET Salary = Salary + 5000
WHERE Salary < 50000;

This query increases the salary of all employees earning less than $50,000 by $5,000.

Updating Multiple Records

You can update multiple records simultaneously by using the UPDATE statement.

For example, to change the department of all employees in "Sales" to "Marketing":

UPDATE Employees
SET Department = 'Marketing'
WHERE Department = 'Sales';

This query updates the Department column for all employees currently in the "Sales" department to "Marketing."


Updating records in SQL is a fundamental operation for managing relational databases.

Whether you're fixing errors, adjusting data to reflect changes, or implementing new information, the UPDATE statement is a powerful tool for modifying the data stored in your database.

Understanding how to update records is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your database and ensuring that the data it contains remains accurate and up to date.