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SQL Wildcard Characters

A wildcard character is used to substitute one or more characters in a string.

Wildcard characters are used with the SQL LIKE operator. The LIKE operator is used in a WHERE clause to search for a specified pattern in a column.

Wildcard Characters in MS Access

Symbol Description Example
* Represents zero or more characters bl* finds bl, black, blue, and blob
? Represents a single character h?t finds hot, hat, and hit
[] Represents any single character within the brackets h[oa]t finds hot and hat, but not hit
! Represents any character not in the brackets h[!oa]t finds hit, but not hot and hat
- Represents a range of characters c[a-b]t finds cat and cbt
# Represents any single numeric character 2#5 finds 205, 215, 225, 235, 245, 255, 265, 275, 285, and 295

Wildcard Characters in SQL Server

Symbol Description Example
% Represents zero or more characters bl% finds bl, black, blue, and blob
_ Represents a single character h_t finds hot, hat, and hit
[] Represents any single character within the brackets h[oa]t finds hot and hat, but not hit
^ Represents any character not in the brackets h[^oa]t finds hit, but not hot and hat
- Represents a range of characters c[a-b]t finds cat and cbt
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