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What is the meaning of ASC and DESC keywords in SQL server?

Experience Level: Junior
Tags: DatabasesQuality Assurance (QA)

Answer

Both keywords are used in SELECT query together with ORDER BY statement. They define how the result-set will be sorted.

  • ORDER BY columnName ASC sorts the result-set in ascending order. The default order for the ORDER BY statement is ascending so if you use neither ASC nor DESC keyword, the result-set will be sorted in ascending order.
  • ORDER BY columnName DESC sorts the result-set in descending order.

Examples:

The following query will sort the result-set in ascending order:

Example
SELECT * FROM Customers ORDER BY CustomerName ASC

The following query will sort the result-set in ascending order (because neither ASC nor DESC is present):

Example
SELECT * FROM Customers ORDER BY CustomerName

The following query will sort the result-set in descending order:

Example
SELECT * FROM Customers ORDER BY CustomerName DESC
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