Applies to: SQL Server


Attribute Value
Product Name SQL Server
Event ID 4104
Component SQLEngine
Symbolic Name ALG_MULTI_ID_BAD
Message Text The multi-part identifier "%.*ls" could not be bound.


The name of an entity in SQL Server is referred to as its identifier. You use identifiers whenever you reference entities, for example, by specifying column and table names in a query. A multi-part identifier contains one or more qualifiers as a prefix for the identifier. For example, a table identifier may be prefixed with qualifiers such as the database name and schema name in which the table is contained, or a column identifier may be prefixed with qualifiers such as a table name or table alias.

Error 4104 indicates that the specified multi-part identifier could not be mapped to an existing entity. This error can be returned under the following conditions:

  • The qualifier supplied as a prefix for a column name does not correspond to any table or alias name used in the query.

    For example, the following statement uses a table alias (Dept) as a column prefix, but the table alias is not referenced in the FROM clause.

    SELECT Dept.Name FROM HumanResources.Department;  

    In the following statements, a multi-part column identifier TableB.KeyCol is specified in the WHERE clause as part of a JOIN condition between two tables, however, TableB is not explicitly referenced in the query.

    DELETE FROM TableA WHERE TableA.KeyCol = TableB.KeyCol;  
    SELECT 'X' FROM TableA WHERE TableB.KeyCol = TableA.KeyCol;  
  • An alias name for the table is supplied in the FROM clause, but the qualifier supplied for a column is the table name. For example, the following statement uses the table name Department as the column prefix; however, the table has an alias (Dept) referenced in the FROM clause.

    SELECT Department.Name FROM HumanResources.Department AS Dept;  

    When an alias is used, the table name cannot be used elsewhere in the statement.

  • SQL Server is unable to determine if the multi-part identifier refers to a column prefixed by a table or to a property of a CLR user-defined data type (UDT) prefixed by a column. This happens because properties of UDT columns are referenced by using the period separator (.) between the column name and the property name in the same way that a column name is prefixed with a table name. The following example creates two tables, a and b. Table b contains column a, which uses a CLR UDT dbo.myudt2 as its data type. The SELECT statement contains a multi-part identifier a.c2.

    CREATE TABLE a (c2 int);   
    CREATE TABLE b (a dbo.myudt2);   
    SELECT a.c2 FROM a, b;   

    Assuming that the UDT myudt2 does not have a property named c2, SQL Server cannot determine whether identifier a.c2refers to column c2 in table a or to the column a, property c2 in table b.

User Action

  • Match the column prefixes against the table names or alias names specified in the FROM clause of the query. If an alias is defined for a table name in the FROM clause, you can only use the alias as a qualifier for columns associated with that table.

    The statements above that reference the HumanResources.Department table can be corrected as follows:

    SELECT Dept.Name FROM HumanResources.Department AS Dept;  
    SELECT Department.Name FROM HumanResources.Department;  
  • Ensure that all tables are specified in the query and that the JOIN conditions between tables are specified correctly. The DELETE statement above can be corrected as follows:

    DELETE FROM dbo.TableA  
    WHERE TableA.KeyCol = (SELECT TableB.KeyCol   
                            FROM TableB   
                            WHERE TableA.KeyCol = TableB.KeyCol);  

    The SELECT statement above for TableA can be corrected as follows:

    SELECT 'X' FROM TableA, TableB WHERE TableB.KeyCol = TableA.KeyCol;  


    SELECT 'X' FROM TableA INNER JOIN TableB ON TableB.KeyCol = TableA.KeyCol;  
  • Use unique, clearly defined names for identifiers. Doing so makes your code easier to read and maintain, and it also minimizes the risk of ambiguous references to multiple entities.

See Also

Database Identifiers