SQL Select is fundamental for retrieving data from a database. This is an essential part of any SQL query and a core skill for anyone working with databases.

Understanding SELECT in SQL

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standard language for managing and manipulating databases. The SELECT statement is one of the most frequently used SQL commands. Its primary function is to fetch data from a database and present it in a readable format.

Basic Structure of SQL Select

The basic syntax of a SELECT statement is:

SELECT column1, column2, ...
FROM table_name;

Here, column1, column2, etc., are the fields (or columns) of a table that you want to retrieve data from. table_name is the name of the table where the data is stored.

Selecting All Columns with SQL Select

In the below example, if you want to select all columns from a table, you use the asterisk (*) symbol:

SELECT * FROM orders;

This statement fetches all columns from the orders table. It's a convenient way to retrieve complete records without specifying each column name. However, it's often recommended to list specific columns to improve performance and security, especially in tables with many columns or sensitive data.


The data returned by a SELECT query is often referred to as a result-set. This result-set is essentially a table of data representing the subset of the database that matches the query criteria. Each row in the result-set corresponds to a record in the database that meets the conditions of the SELECT statement.

In summary, the SELECT statement is a powerful tool in SQL, allowing you to retrieve exactly the data you need from a database in an organized and efficient manner. It forms the foundation of data query and analysis in various applications, from simple data retrieval to complex data analytics.