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Reference information about v$ and other dictionary tables

A SQL query to get a description of V$ and other dictionary tables.

Now you don't have to look in a reference manual to find descriptions about v$ and other dictionary tables and their columns -- you can write a SQL query. The sample script shown below will prompt you for the name of the table.

SET LINESIZE 300
SET PAGESIZE 0
COLUMN TABLE_NAME FORMAT A40 WRAP
COLUMN COLUMN_NAME FORMAT A40 WRAP
COLUMN COMMENTS FORMAT A80 WRAP

This is to get information about tables. Try it by entering DBA_TABLES.

SELECT * FROM DICTIONARY
WHERE TABLE_NAME= UPPER('&TABLE_NAME');

This is to get information about columns. Try it by entering DBA_TABLES.

SELECT * FROM DICT_COLUMNS
WHERE TABLE_NAME= UPPER('&TABLE_NAME');

Reader Feedback

Edward M. writes: Here is what I get when I run this query.

Enter value for table_name: dba_tables
old   2: WHERE TABLE_NAME= UPPER('&TABLE_NAME')
new   2: WHERE TABLE_NAME= UPPER('dba_tables')
buffer overflow. Use SET command to reduce ARRAYSIZE or increase MAXDATA.
What I can I do in this case?

The author responds: Please use the following before executing the query:

SET ARRAYSIZE 1
The Following is an explanation from the SQL*PLUS manual about why we are reducing ARRAYSIZE TO 1:

"SET ARRAYSIZE sets the number of rows--called a batch--that SQL*Plus will fetch from the database at one time. Valid values are 1 to 5000. A large value increases the efficiency of queries and subqueries that fetch many rows, but requires more memory. Values over approximately 100 provide little added performance. ARRAYSIZE has no effect on the results of SQL*Plus operations other than increasing efficiency." I hope this helps.

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This was last published in September 2002

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