Create SQL Temp Table: Mastering Temporary Tables in SQL

create sql temp table

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In the realm of SQL database management, the use of temporary tables can significantly enhance the efficiency and performance of your queries. Temporary tables allow you to store and manipulate intermediate results, making complex SQL operations more manageable. This blog will dive deep into how to create temp tables in SQL, along with practical examples to solidify your understanding.

What is a Temporary Table?

A temporary table is a short-lived table in SQL that is typically stored in tempdb and is accessible only during the session in which it is created. It is deleted automatically when the session ends. They are particularly useful for storing intermediate results and performing complex joins and calculations.

Creating Temporary Tables in SQL

SQL Server

In SQL Server, you can create temporary tables using the CREATE TABLE statement. Temporary tables can be local or global. Local temporary tables are prefixed with a single hash (#), while global temporary tables use a double hash (##).

Local Temporary Table Example

Here’s how you can create a local temporary table in SQL Server:

sqlCopy codeCREATE TABLE #TempProducts
    ProductID int,
    ProductName varchar(50)

This table will only be visible to the current session and will be dropped automatically when the session is closed.

Global Temporary Table Example

Global temporary tables are visible to all SQL sessions and are dropped when the last session referencing the table closes.

sqlCopy codeCREATE TABLE ##GlobalTempProducts
    ProductID int,
    ProductName varchar(50)


In MySQL, temporary tables are created with the CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE statement and do not require special naming conventions:

    OrderID int,
    OrderDate date

This table will only exist for the duration of the session that created it.

Practical Uses of Temporary Tables

Data Isolation and Security

Temporary tables provide a secure way to handle sensitive data that should not be persisted. By using a temporary table, data can be manipulated without leaving a trace in the permanent tables.

Complex Calculations

Here’s an example of using a temporary table to perform a complex calculation:

sqlCopy code-- Create temp table for detailed sales analysis
CREATE TABLE #SalesAnalysis
    SalesPersonID int,
    TotalSales decimal(10,2),
    TotalCommission decimal(10,2)

-- Insert data into the temp table
INSERT INTO #SalesAnalysis (SalesPersonID, TotalSales, TotalCommission)
    SUM(TotalSaleAmount) * 0.05 -- Assuming 5% commission

-- Query the temp table
SELECT * FROM #SalesAnalysis;

Simplifying Complex Joins

Temporary tables can simplify complex joins by breaking them down into manageable steps. For example:

sqlCopy code-- Create a temp table for customers in New York
CREATE TABLE #NewYorkCustomers
    CustomerID int,
    CustomerName varchar(100)

-- Insert data into the temp table
INSERT INTO #NewYorkCustomers (CustomerID, CustomerName)
SELECT CustomerID, CustomerName
FROM Customers
WHERE Location = 'New York';

-- Use the temp table to perform a join with Orders table
SELECT ny.CustomerName, o.OrderAmount
FROM #NewYorkCustomers ny
JOIN Orders o ON ny.CustomerID = o.CustomerID;

Managing Temporary Tables


While temporary tables are dropped automatically at the end of the session, it’s good practice to explicitly drop them when they are no longer needed to free up system resources:

sqlCopy codeDROP TABLE #TempProducts;

Performance Considerations

Keep in mind that while temporary tables are useful, they can lead to increased I/O on your database server. Use them judiciously, especially when dealing with large volumes of data.


Temporary tables in SQL are powerful tools for managing data in a controlled and temporary manner. Whether you’re isolating sensitive data, simplifying complex operations, or just breaking down tasks into simpler chunks, temporary tables offer a versatile solution. Remember, the key to effective use of temporary tables is understanding when and how to use them to enhance your SQL query performance and manageability.

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