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SQL Anywhere 10.0.1 » SQL Anywhere Server - SQL Usage » Joins: Retrieving Data from Several Tables » Inner and outer joins

Inner joins Next Page

Outer joins

Typically, you create joins that return rows only if they satisfy join conditions; these are called inner joins, and are the default join used when querying. However, sometimes you may want to preserve all the rows in one table. To do this, you use an outer join.

A left or right outer join of two tables preserves all the rows in one table, and supplies nulls for the other table when it does not meet the join condition. A left outer join preserves every row in the left-hand table, and a right outer join preserves every row in the right-hand table. In a full outer join, all rows from both tables are preserved.

The table expressions on either side of a left or right outer join are referred to as preserved and null-supplying. In a left outer join, the left-hand table expression is preserved and the right-hand table expression is null-supplying.

For information about creating outer joins with Transact-SQL syntax, see Transact-SQL outer joins (*= or =*).


For example, the following statement includes all customers, whether or not they have placed an order. If a particular customer has placed no orders, each column in the result that corresponds to order information contains the NULL value.

SELECT Surname, OrderDate, City
FROM Customers LEFT OUTER JOIN SalesOrders
   ON Customers.ID = SalesOrders.CustomerID
WHERE Customers.State = 'NY'
ORDER BY OrderDate;
Surname OrderDate City
Thompson (NULL) Bancroft
Reiser 2000-01-22 Rockwood
Clarke 2000-01-27 Rockwood
Mentary 2000-01-30 Rockland
... ... ...

You can interpret the outer join in this statement as follows. Note that this is a conceptual explanation, and does not represent how SQL Anywhere actually computes the result set.

Outer joins and join conditions
Understanding complex outer joins
Outer joins of views and derived tables