Types of SQL JOINS

Explained with Examples

JOINS fundamentals

In relational databases, such as SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and others, data is stored in multiple tables that are related to each other with a common key value. Accordingly, there is a constant need to extract records from two or more tables into a results table based on some condition. In SQL Server, this can be easily accomplished with the SQL JOIN clause.

JOIN is an SQL clause used to query and access data from multiple tables, based on logical relationships between those tables.

In other words, JOINS indicate how SQL Server should use data from one table to select the rows from another table.

Different types of JOINS in SQL Server

Enjoying JOINS with

SQL Complete

JOIN clause autogeneration

SQL Server JOINS are vitally important to master. As you progress from a database beginner to a more advanced user, you’ll continually need to fetch and combine data from more than one table. At this point, SQL Complete comes to the aid. Its code completion works well even for complex JOIN statements. You don’t need to memorize multiple column names or aliases, dbForge SQL Complete will suggest a full JOIN clause based on foreign keys, or conditions based on column names. These suggestions are available after the JOIN and ON keywords.

More than that, SQL Complete can prompt a complete SQL JOIN statement when you combine tables based on foreign keys. You can select a JOIN statement from the prompt list manually, in case you need a specific JOIN operation.

As part of our SQL JOIN tutorial, let’s have a look at different MSSQL JOIN statements types with the help of the
SQL Complete tool.

Basic SQL JOIN types

SQL Server supports many kinds of different joins including INNER JOIN, SELF JOIN, CROSS JOIN, and OUTER JOIN. In fact, each join type defines the way two tables are related in a query. OUTER JOINS can further be divided into LEFT OUTER JOINS, RIGHT OUTER JOINS, and FULL OUTER JOINS.

  • SQL INNER JOIN creates a result table by combining rows that have matching values in two or more tables.
  • SQL LEFT OUTER JOIN includes in a result table unmatched rows from the table that is specified before the LEFT OUTER JOIN clause.
  • SQL RIGHT OUTER JOIN creates a result table and includes into it all the records from the right table and only matching rows from the left table.
  • SQL SELF JOIN joins the table to itself and allows comparing rows within the same table.
  • SQL CROSS JOIN creates a result table containing paired combination of each row of the first table with each row of the second table.

Main types of SQL Server JOIN

dbForge SQL Complete

Enjoy even the most complex JOINs with SQL Complete


INNER JOIN statement returns only those records or rows that have matching values and is used to retrieve data that appears in both tables. Iner SQL JOIN

In our example, we want to extract data from the Sales.SalesOrderDetail and Production.Product tables that are aliased with SOD for Sales.SalesOrderDetail and P for Production.Product. In the JOIN statement, we match records in those columns. Make notice, how code suggestions work in SQL Complete.

Working with Inner JOINS in SQL Complete


When applying an SQL INNER JOIN, the output returns only matching rows from the stated tables. In contrast, if you use an SQL OUTER JOIN, it will retrieve not only the matching rows but also the unmatched rows as well. SQL Server OUTER JOIN

The FULL OUTER JOIN returns a result that includes rows from both left and right tables. In case, no matching rows exist for the row in the left table, the columns of the right table will have nulls. Correspondingly, the column of the left table will have nulls if there are no matching rows for the row in the right table.

How to work with Outer JOINS in SQL Complete


The LEFT OUTER JOIN gives the output of the matching rows between both tables. In case, no records match from the left table, it shows those records with null values.


In our example, we want to join the tables Person.Person and HumanResources.Employee to retrieve a list of all Person LastNames, but also show JobTitle if the Person is an Employee.

In the output, in case, there are no employees matching BusinessEntityID, NULL values will be listed in the corresponding rows for NationalIDNumber and JobTitle.
Create LEFT OUTER JOINs with the help of SQL Complete


The RIGHT OUTER JOIN works by the same principle as the LEFT OUTER JOIN. The RIGHT OUTER JOIN selects data from the right table (Table B) and matches this data with the rows from the left table (Table A). The RIGHT JOIN returns a result set that includes all rows in the right table, whether or not they have matching rows from the left table. In case, a row in the right table does not have any matching rows in the left table, the column of the left table in the result set will have nulls. RIGHT OUTER JOIN in SQL Server

How to create RIGHT OUTER JOINs in SSMS


The SELF JOIN allows you to join a table to itself. This implies that each row of the table is combined with itself and with every other row of the table. The SELF JOIN can be viewed as a join of two copies of the same table. The table is not actually copied, but SQL performs the command as though it were. This is accomplished by using table name aliases to give each instance of the table a separate name. It is most useful for extracting hierarchical data or comparing rows within the same table. What is SELF JOIN in SQL

In our example, we want to retrieve a list of all the territories and the salespeople working in them from the Sales.SalesPerson table.

How to make SELF JOINs with SQL Complete


The CROSS JOIN command in SQL, also known as a cartesian join, returns all combinations of rows from each table. Envision that you need to find all combinations of size and color. In that case, a CROSS JOIN will be an asset. Note, that this join does not need any condition to join two tables. In fact, CROSS JOIN joins every row from the first table with every row from the second table and its result comprises all combinations of records in two tables. CROSS JOIN in SQL Server
Creating CROSS JOINs in SQL Complete for SSMS and VS

dbForge SQL Complete

Enjoy even the most complex JOINs with SQL Complete

See how to use JOINs in the SELECT statements

SQL Joins let you to fetch and combine data from more than one table. In this video, we are going to demonstrate different MS SQL JOIN statements types and examples how to use JOINs in the SELECT statements. Moreover, you will see how dbForge SQL Complete helps in JOINS statements creation by prompting ready-made phrases and join conditions.
With SQL Complete, you GET
  • Suggestions for full joining conditions after the JOIN keyword
  • Suggestions for joining conditions after the ON keyword
  • Context-based prompts for all possible combinations to join tables
  • Significant time savings
  • An opportunity to improve your code quality
  • Freedom from the need to memorize table and column names


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Advanced solution for SQL database development, management, and administration