Pivot operator in sql server

Pivot operator in sql server

Pivot is a sql server operator that can be used to turn unique values from one column, into multiple columns in the output, there by effectively rotating a table.

Let’s understand the power of PIVOT operator with an example
Create Table tblProductSales
 SalesAgent nvarchar(50),
 SalesCountry nvarchar(50),
 SalesAmount int

Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 200)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘US’, 180)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘UK’, 260)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘India’, 450)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘India’, 350)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘US’, 200)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘US’, 130)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘India’, 540)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘UK’, 120)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘UK’, 220)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘UK’, 420)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘US’, 320)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘US’, 340)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 660)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘India’, 430)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘India’, 230)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘India’, 280)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 480)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘John’, ‘US’, 360)
Insert into tblProductSales values(‘David’, ‘UK’, 140)

Select * from tblProductSales: As you can see, we have 3 sales agents selling in 3 countries

Pivot Table Source

Now, let’s write a query which returns TOTAL SALES, grouped by SALESCOUNTRY and SALESAGENT. The output should be as shown below.

Group By Output

A simple GROUP BY query can produce this output.
Select SalesCountry, SalesAgent, SUM(SalesAmount) as Total
from tblProductSales
group by SalesCountry, SalesAgent
order by SalesCountry, SalesAgent

At, this point, let’s try to present the same data in different format using PIVOT operator.

Pivot operator output

Query using PIVOT operator:
Select SalesAgent, India, US, UK
from tblProductSales
   Sum(SalesAmount) for SalesCountry in ([India],[US],[UK])
) as PivotTable

This PIVOT query is converting the unique column values (India, US, UK) in SALESCOUNTRY column, into Columns in the output, along with performing aggregations on the SALESAMOUNT column. The Outer query, simply, selects SALESAGENT column from tblProductSales table, along with pivoted columns from the PivotTable.

Having understood the basics of PIVOT, let’s look at another example. Let’s create tblProductsSale, a slight variation of tblProductSales, that we have already created. The table, that we are creating now, has got an additional Id column.
Create Table tblProductsSale
   Id int primary key,
   SalesAgent nvarchar(50),
   SalesCountry nvarchar(50),
   SalesAmount int

Insert into tblProductsSale values(1, ‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 200)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(2, ‘John’, ‘US’, 180)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(3, ‘John’, ‘UK’, 260)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(4, ‘David’, ‘India’, 450)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(5, ‘Tom’, ‘India’, 350)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(6, ‘David’, ‘US’, 200)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(7, ‘Tom’, ‘US’, 130)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(8, ‘John’, ‘India’, 540)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(9, ‘John’, ‘UK’, 120)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(10, ‘David’, ‘UK’, 220)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(11, ‘John’, ‘UK’, 420)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(12, ‘David’, ‘US’, 320)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(13, ‘Tom’, ‘US’, 340)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(14, ‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 660)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(15, ‘John’, ‘India’, 430)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(16, ‘David’, ‘India’, 230)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(17, ‘David’, ‘India’, 280)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(18, ‘Tom’, ‘UK’, 480)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(19, ‘John’, ‘US’, 360)
Insert into tblProductsSale values(20, ‘David’, ‘UK’, 140)

Now, run the same PIVOT query that we have already created, just by changing the name of the table to tblProductsSale instead of tblProductSales
Select SalesAgent, India, US, UK
from tblProductsSale
   Sum(SalesAmount) for SalesCountry in ([India],[US],[UK])
as PivotTable

This output is not what we have expected.

Unexpected Pivot Table Output

This is because of the presence of Id column in tblProductsSale, which is also considered when performing pivoting and group by. To eliminate this from the calculations, we have used derived table, which only selects, SALESAGENT, SALESCOUNTRY, and SALESAMOUNT. The rest of the query is very similar to what we have already seen.
Select SalesAgent, India, US, UK
   Select SalesAgent, SalesCountry, SalesAmount from tblProductsSale
) as SourceTable
 Sum(SalesAmount) for SalesCountry in (India, US, UK)
) as PivotTable

UNPIVOT performs the opposite operation to PIVOT by rotating columns of a table-valued expression into column values.

The syntax of PIVOT operator from MSDN
SELECT <non-pivoted column>,
    [first pivoted column] AS <column name>,
    [second pivoted column] AS <column name>,
    [last pivoted column] AS <column name>
    (<SELECT query that produces the data>)
    AS <alias for the source query>
    <aggregation function>(<column being aggregated>)
    [<column that contains the values that will become column headers>]
    IN ( [first pivoted column], [second pivoted column], … [last pivoted column])
AS <alias for the pivot table>
<optional ORDER BY clause>;

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