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SQL Anywhere 11.0.0 » UltraLite - Database Management and Reference » UltraLite SQL Reference » UltraLite SQL statement reference


UltraLite ALTER TABLE statement

Use this statement to modify a table definition.

ALTER TABLE table-name {
| modify-clause 
| drop-clause 
| rename-clause 
add-clause :
 ADD { column-definition | table-constraint }
modify-clause :
ALTER column-definition
drop-clause :
DROP { column-name | CONSTRAINT constraint-name }
rename-clause :   
   | [ old-column-name TO ] new-column-name
   | CONSTRAINT old-constraint-name TO new-constraint-name }
column-definition :
column-name data-type
   [ [ NOT ] NULL ] 
   [ DEFAULT column-default ] 
   [ UNIQUE ]
column-default :
| NEWID( ) 
| constant-value
table-constraint :
[ CONSTRAINT constraint-name ] 
{ fkey-constraint | unique-key-constraint } 
[ WITH MAX HASH SIZE integer ]
fkey-constraint : 
[ NOT NULL ] FOREIGN KEY [ role-name ] ( ordered-column-list )
   REFERENCES table-name ( column-name, ... ) 
unique-key-constraint :
UNIQUE ( ordered-column-list )
 ordered-column-list :
( column-name [ ASC | DESC ], ... )

add-clause   Adds a new column or table constraint to the table:

  • ADD column-definition clause   Adds a new column to the table. If the column has a default value, all rows in the new column are populated with that default value. For descriptions of the keywords and subclauses for this clause, see UltraLite CREATE TABLE statement.

  • ADD table-constraint clause   Adds a constraint to the table. The optional constraint name allows you to modify or drop individual constraints at a later time, rather than having to modify the entire table constraint. For descriptions of the keywords and subclauses for this clause, see UltraLite CREATE TABLE statement.


    You cannot add a primary key in UltraLite.

modify-clause   Change a single column definition. Note that you cannot use primary keys in the column-definition when part of an ALTER statement. For a full explanation of column-definition, see UltraLite CREATE TABLE statement.

drop-clause   Delete a column or a table constraint:

  • DROP column-name   Delete the column from the table. If the column is contained in any index, uniqueness constraint, foreign key, or primary key, then the object must be deleted before UltraLite can delete the column.

  • DROP CONSTRAINT table-constraint   Delete the named constraint from the table definition. For a full explanation of table-constraint, see UltraLite CREATE TABLE statement.


    You cannot drop a primary key in UltraLite.

rename-clause   Change the name of a table, column, or constraint:

  • RENAME new-table-name   Change the name of the table to new-table-name. Note that any applications using the old table name must be modified. Foreign keys that were automatically assigned the old table name will not change names.

  • RENAME old-column-name TO new-column-name   Change the name of the column to the new-column-name. Note that any applications using the old column name will need to be modified.

  • RENAME old-constraint-name TO new-constraint-name   Change the name of the constraint to the new-constraint-name. Note that any applications using the old constraint name need to be modified.


    You cannot rename a primary key in UltraLite.

column-constraint   A column constraint restricts the values the column can hold in order to help ensure the integrity of data in the database. A column constraint can only be UNIQUE.

UNIQUE   Identifies one or more columns that uniquely identify each row in the table. No two rows in the table can have the same values in all the named column(s). A table may have more than one unique constraint.


Only one table-constraint or column-constraint can be added, modified, or deleted in one ALTER TABLE statement.

The role name is the name of the foreign key. The main function of the role-name is to distinguish two foreign keys to the same table. Alternatively, you can name the foreign key with CONSTRAINT constraint-name. However, do not use both methods to name a foreign key.

You cannot MODIFY a table or column constraint. To change a constraint, you must DELETE the old constraint and ADD the new constraint.

A table whose name ends with nosync can only be renamed to a table name that also ends with nosync. See Nosync tables in UltraLite.

ALTER TABLE cannot execute if a statement that affects the table is already being referenced by another request or query. Similarly, UltraLite does not process requests referencing the table while that table is being altered. Furthermore, you cannot execute ALTER TABLE when the database includes active queries or uncommitted transactions.

For UltraLite.NET users: You cannot execute this statement unless you also call the Dispose method for all data objects (for example, ULDataReader). See Dispose method.

Statements are not released if schema changes are initiated at the same time. See Schema changes with DDL statements.

See also

The following statement drops the Street column from a fictitious table called MyEmployees.

DROP Street;

The following example changes the Street column of the fictitious table, MyCustomers, to hold approximately 50 characters.

MODIFY Street CHAR(50);