How to Move Data from One Table to Another

I recently saw a post on Stack Overflow asking how do you copy specific table data from one database to another in SQL Server. It struck me I should share the solution to this with others because it is such a handy trick. Often I set up test data and want to quickly copy it to another table, or a co-worked wants a copy of my data, or I want to copy some data from production to a local database.

If all you want to do is copy data from one table to another in the same database, just use the INSERT clause on the SELECT statement.

INSERT INTO PlayerBackups

If you do not have a second table and you want to make a quick and dirty backup of some test data, you can create a table based on the data you choose in your select statement.

SELECT * INTO PlayerBackups
FROM NhlPlayer

If you want to move data between tables across databases, you will have to use a fully qualified name

INSERT INTO YourDatabase.YourSchema.PlayerBackups
SELECT * FROM MyDatabase.MySchema.NhlPlayer

If you want to move data across servers, you will need to set up a linked server, this will require working with the DBA because there are authentication issues around linked servers (how will your account log in to the other server? what permissions will you have on the other server?) Once you have a linked server set up, then you can just use the fully qualified name to specify the server name.

INSERT INTO YourServer.YourDatabase.YourSchema.PlayerBackups
SELECT * FROM MyServer.MyDatabase.MySchema.NhlPlayer

I am always forgetting the syntax for these commands, so thought I would share them. Don’t forget, if you know SQL, you know SQL Azure! Try it out now


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