sp_trace_setfilter (Transact-SQL)

Applies to: SQL Server

Applies a filter to a trace. sp_trace_setfilter may be executed only on existing traces that are stopped (@status is 0). SQL Server returns an error if this stored procedure is executed on a trace that doesn't exist or whose @status isn't 0.


This feature will be removed in a future version of SQL Server. Avoid using this feature in new development work, and plan to modify applications that currently use this feature. Use Extended Events instead.

Transact-SQL syntax conventions


    [ @traceid = ] traceid
    , [ @columnid = ] columnid
    , [ @logical_operator = ] logical_operator
    , [ @comparison_operator = ] comparison_operator
    , [ @value = ] value
[ ; ]


[ @traceid = ] traceid

The ID of the trace to which the filter is set. @traceid is int, with no default. The user employs this @traceid value to identify, modify, and control the trace.

[ @columnid = ] columnid

The ID of the column on which the filter is applied. @columnid is int, with no default. If @columnid is NULL, SQL Server clears all filters for the specified trace.

[ @logical_operator = ] logical_operator

Specifies whether the AND (0) or OR (1) operator is applied. @logical_operator is int, with no default.

[ @comparison_operator = ] comparison_operator

Specifies the type of comparison to be made. @comparison_operator is int, with no default. The table contains the comparison operators and their representative values.

Value Comparison operator
0 = (Equal)
1 <> (Not Equal)
2 > (Greater Than)
3 < (Less Than)
4 >= (Greater Than Or Equal)
5 <= (Less Than Or Equal)

[ @value = ] value

Specifies the value on which to filter. The data type of @value must match the data type of the column to be filtered. For example, if the filter is set on an Object ID column that is an int data type, @value must be int. If @value is nvarchar or varbinary, it can have a maximum length of 8000.

When the comparison operator is LIKE or NOT LIKE, the logical operator can include % or other filter appropriate for the LIKE operation.

You can specify NULL for @value to filter out events with NULL column values. Only 0 (= Equal) and 1 (<> Not Equal) operators are valid with NULL. In this case, these operators are equivalent to the Transact-SQL IS NULL and IS NOT NULL operators.

To apply the filter between a range of column values, sp_trace_setfilter must be executed twice: once with a greater-than-or-equals (>=) comparison operator, and another time with a less-than-or-equals (<=) operator.

For more information about data column data types, see the SQL Server Event Class Reference.

Return code values

The following table describes the code values that users may get following completion of the stored procedure.

Return code Description
0 No error.
1 Unknown error.
2 The trace is currently running. Changing the trace at this time results in an error.
4 The specified Column isn't valid.
5 The specified Column isn't allowed for filtering. This value is returned only from sp_trace_setfilter.
6 The specified Comparison Operator isn't valid.
7 The specified Logical Operator isn't valid.
9 The specified Trace Handle isn't valid.
13 Out of memory. Returned when there isn't enough memory to perform the specified action.
16 The function isn't valid for this trace.


sp_trace_setfilter is a SQL Server stored procedure that performs many of the actions previously executed by extended stored procedures available in earlier versions of SQL Server. Use sp_trace_setfilter instead of the xp_trace_set*filter extended stored procedures to create, apply, remove, or manipulate filters on traces. For more information, see Filter a Trace.

All filters for a particular column must be enabled together in one execution of sp_trace_setfilter. For example, if a user intends to apply two filters on the application name column and one filter on the username column, the user must specify the filters on application name in sequence. SQL Server returns an error if the user attempts to specify a filter on application name in one stored procedure call, followed by a filter on username, then another filter on application name.

Parameters of all SQL Trace stored procedures (sp_trace_*) are strictly typed. If these parameters aren't called with the correct input parameter data types, as specified in the argument description, the stored procedure returns an error.


Requires ALTER TRACE permission.


The following example sets three filters on Trace 1. The filters N'SQLT%' and N'MS%' operate on one column (AppName, value 10) using the "LIKE" comparison operator. The filter N'joe' operates on a different column (UserName, value 11) using the "EQUAL" comparison operator.

EXEC sp_trace_setfilter 1, 10, 0, 6, N'SQLT%';
EXEC sp_trace_setfilter 1, 10, 0, 6, N'MS%';
EXEC sp_trace_setfilter 1, 11, 0, 0, N'joe';