PRINT (Transact-SQL)

Returns a user-defined message to the client.

Topic link iconTransact-SQL Syntax Conventions


PRINT msg_str | @local_variable | string_expr


  • msg_str
    Is a character string or Unicode string constant. For more information, see Constants (Transact-SQL).

  • **@**local_variable
    Is a variable of any valid character data type. **@**local_variable must be char, nchar, varchar, or nvarchar, or it must be able to be implicitly converted to those data types.

  • string_expr
    Is an expression that returns a string. Can include concatenated literal values, functions, and variables. For more information, see Expressions (Transact-SQL).


A message string can be up to 8,000 characters long if it is a non-Unicode string, and 4,000 characters long if it is a Unicode string. Longer strings are truncated. The varchar(max) and nvarchar(max) data types are truncated to data types that are no larger than varchar(8000) and nvarchar(4000).

For information about how applications process the messages returned by the PRINT statement, see Handling Errors and Messages in Applications.

RAISERROR can also be used to return messages. RAISERROR has these advantages over PRINT:

  • RAISERROR supports substituting arguments into an error message string using a mechanism modeled on the printf function of the C language standard library.

  • RAISERROR can specify a unique error number, a severity, and a state code in addition to the text message.

  • RAISERROR can be used to return user-defined messages created using the sp_addmessage system stored procedure.


A. Conditionally executing print (IF EXISTS)

The following example uses the PRINT statement to conditionally return a message.

IF @@OPTIONS & 512 <> 0
    PRINT N'This user has SET NOCOUNT turned ON.';
    PRINT N'This user has SET NOCOUNT turned OFF.';

B. Building and displaying a string

The following example converts the results of the GETDATE function to a nvarchar data type and concatenates it with literal text to be returned by PRINT.

-- Build the message text by concatenating
-- strings and expressions.
PRINT N'This message was printed on '
    + RTRIM(CAST(GETDATE() AS nvarchar(30)))
    + N'.';
-- This example shows building the message text
-- in a variable and then passing it to PRINT.
-- This was required in SQL Server 7.0 or earlier.
DECLARE @PrintMessage nvarchar(50);
SET @PrintMessage = N'This message was printed on '
    + RTRIM(CAST(GETDATE() AS nvarchar(30)))
    + N'.';
PRINT @PrintMessage;