Crafting SQL Queries with LIKE Operator for Multiple Values

Crafting SQL queries for multiple values with the LIKE operator can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple! The LIKE operator is used in a WHERE clause to search for a specified pattern in a column. This handy tool allows you to filter records and find the data you need quickly. Ready to dive in?

Step by Step Tutorial: Crafting SQL Queries for Multiple Values with the LIKE Operator

Before we get into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. Using the LIKE operator with SQL queries allows us to search for specific patterns within the data. For example, if you want to find all the names in your database that start with ‘A’, you can use the LIKE operator to do just that. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open your SQL database

First things first, you need to access your SQL database where your data is stored.

Once you have your database open, you’re ready to start writing your query. Make sure you have the necessary permissions to view and edit the data within the database.

Step 2: Begin your SQL query with the SELECT statement

Write the beginning of your SQL query using the SELECT statement to choose which column(s) you want to search.

The SELECT statement is the starting point of your query. It tells the database what data you want to retrieve. You can select one column, multiple columns, or all columns using the asterisk (*).

Step 3: Use the FROM clause to specify the table

Include the FROM clause followed by the name of the table where your data resides.

The FROM clause is crucial because it tells the database where to look for the data you’re requesting in your SELECT statement. Without it, the database wouldn’t know where to search.

Step 4: Insert the WHERE clause to add criteria

Add the WHERE clause to your query to filter the results using the LIKE operator.

The WHERE clause is what allows you to specify the criteria for the data you want to retrieve. It’s the part of the query that does the heavy lifting in terms of filtering the data.

Step 5: Use the LIKE operator to define the pattern

Within the WHERE clause, use the LIKE operator followed by the pattern you’re searching for.

The LIKE operator is used with wildcards such as ‘%’ or ‘_’ to search for various patterns. For instance, ‘%A’ would find any values that end with ‘A’, while ‘A%’ would find any values that start with ‘A’.

Step 6: Execute the query

Run your SQL query to see the results of your search.

After you press execute, the database will return all the records that match your specified pattern. You can then review the data to ensure it’s what you were looking for.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have successfully used the LIKE operator to search for multiple values in your SQL database. You should now have a list of records that match your search criteria.

Tips: Crafting SQL Queries for Multiple Values with the LIKE Operator

  • Remember that the percent sign (%) wildcard is used to represent zero, one, or multiple characters.
  • The underscore (_) wildcard represents a single character. Use it when you know the exact position of the character you’re searching for.
  • The LIKE operator is case-insensitive in some SQL databases, so ‘A%’ can match ‘a%’ as well.
  • Always test your query with a small dataset first to ensure it’s returning the correct results before running it on a larger set.
  • Keep your pattern as specific as possible to avoid retrieving too much unnecessary data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the ‘%’ and ‘_’ wildcards?

The ‘%’ wildcard can represent any number of characters, including none, while the ‘_’ wildcard represents exactly one character.

Can the LIKE operator be used with numbers?

Yes, the LIKE operator can be used with numbers. For example, you can search for all products with a price that starts with ‘2’.

Is the LIKE operator only used with the WHERE clause?

Primarily, yes. The LIKE operator is used within the WHERE clause to filter data based on patterns.

Can I use the LIKE operator with multiple patterns?

Yes, you can use the OR or AND operators to search for multiple patterns within the same query.

How do I escape wildcards if I want to search for them as characters?

You can escape wildcards by placing a backslash () before the wildcard character if you want to search for it as a literal character.


  1. Open your SQL database.
  2. Begin your SQL query with the SELECT statement.
  3. Use the FROM clause to specify the table.
  4. Insert the WHERE clause to add criteria.
  5. Use the LIKE operator to define the pattern.
  6. Execute the query.


Crafting SQL queries for multiple values using the LIKE operator is a powerful skill that can save you a lot of time when dealing with large datasets. Whether you’re a database administrator, a developer, or just someone who loves working with data, mastering the LIKE operator will undoubtedly enhance your querying capabilities.

Remember, the key to success is understanding how to use the wildcards effectively and knowing the structure of your data. With the steps and tips provided in this article, you’re well on your way to becoming proficient in crafting SQL queries. Keep practicing, experimenting with different patterns, and before you know it, you’ll be executing complex searches with ease.

As your final takeaway, don’t forget that the LIKE operator is just one of many tools available in SQL. There’s a whole world of commands and functions waiting for you to discover. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring the vast possibilities of SQL!