CONCAT_WS() – Concatenate with Separator–New String Function in SQL Server 2017

SQL Server 2017 has a new String function which supports concatenating multiple values with separator, ex. Comma (,) or Pipe (|)

This function will come handy, if you want to generate a CSV file quickly

Syntax for the function is as follows

CONCAT_WS ( separator, argument1, argument1 [, argumentN]… )

Example Usage

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Test](
[intPK] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
[strData] [varchar](50) NOT NULL,
[intPK] ASC

INSERT INTO dbo.test (strData) VALUES (‘Test1’)
INSERT INTO dbo.test (strData) VALUES (‘Test2’)
INSERT INTO dbo.test (strData) VALUES (‘Test3’)
INSERT INTO dbo.test (strData) VALUES (‘Test4’)
INSERT INTO dbo.test (strData) VALUES (‘Test5’)

SELECT CONCAT_WS(‘|’, intPK, strData) AS Result FROM dbo.Test

In above example we are concatenating 2 fields using pipe as separator



NULL Handling

If any of the data fields has NULL, then we need to use ISNULL() or COALESCE() to handle this, else, the structure of the output will change


UPDATE dbo.Test SET strNullData=’A’ WHERE intPK=1
UPDATE dbo.Test SET strNullData=’B’ WHERE intPK=3
UPDATE dbo.Test SET strNullData=’C’ WHERE intPK=5

SELECT CONCAT_WS(‘|’, intPK, strNullData, strData) Result FROM dbo.Test

In the below output, rows 1,3 and 5 has 3 fields and rows 2 and 4 has only 2 fields


Query with ISNULL() Handling

SELECT CONCAT_WS(‘|’, intPK, ISNULL(strNullData, ”), strData) Result FROM dbo.Test

Now the below output will have consistent list of fields


Hope you find this helpful !!!

Author: Arunraj

I am a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (Database Developer). I work on SQL Server programming since SQL Server 7.0 specializes in SQL Server Programming and Performance Tuning and has 14 years of hands-on experience. I hold a Master Degree in Computer Applications. I am also part of NJSQL User Group and Northern New Jersey .Net User Group.

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