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ABAP Keyword Documentation →  ABAP - Reference →  Processing External Data →  ABAP - Database Accesses →  Open SQL →  Open SQL - Read Accesses 


Short Reference

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54


SELECT result 
      FROM source
      INTO|APPENDING target
       [[FOR ALL ENTRIES IN itab] WHERE sql_cond]
       [GROUP BY group] [HAVING group_cond]
       [ORDER BY sort_key].


SELECT is the Open SQL statement for reading data from one or more database tables into data objects.

The select statement reads a result set (whose structure is determined in result) from the database tables specified in source, and assigns the data from the result set to the data objects specified in target. You can restrict the result set using the WHERE addition. The addition GROUP BY merges multiple database rows into one row of the result set. The addition HAVING restricts the merged rows. The addition ORDER BY sorts the result set.

The data objects specified in target must correspond to the result set result. This means that the result set is either assigned to the data objects in one step, or by rows or packets of rows. The latter is the case:

  • If an assignment is made to a non-table-like target range (meaning a SELECT statement without the addition INTO|APPENDING ... TABLE), a loop closed by ENDSELECT always occurs, except in the following instances:
  • The addition SINGLE for reading a single row is specified behind SELECT.
  • If an assignment is made to a table-like target range (meaning a SELECT statement with the addition INTO|APPENDING ... TABLE), a loop closed by ENDSELECT occurs whenever the addition PACKAGE SIZE is used.

If these approproaches are used, the SELECT statement opens a loop, which must be closed with ENDSELECT. In each loop iteration, the SELECT statement assigns a row or a packet of rows to the data objects specified in target. If the last row has been assigned or the result set is empty, SELECT jumps to ENDSELECT. A database cursor is opened implicitly to process a SELECT loop, and is closed again when the loop has ended. You can exit the loop using the statements listed in the Exiting Loops section. If the total results set is passed to the data object in a single step, a loop is not opened and the statement ENDSELECT cannot be specified.

With the exception of the INTO and APPENDING additions, the entries in the SELECT statement specify which data should be read by the database and in what form. This requirement is implemented in the database interface for the database system´s programming interface and is then passed to the database system. The data is read in packets from the database and is transported from the database server to the current application server. On the application server, the data is passed to the data objects of the ABAP program in accordance with the settings specified in the INTO and APPENDING additions.

System Fields

sy-subrc Meaning
0 The SELECT statement sets sy-subrc to 0 forevery value passed to an ABAP data object. The SELECT statement also setssy-subrc to 0 before it exits a SELECT loop with ENDSELECT if at least one row was passed.
4 The SELECT statement sets sy-subrc to 4 if the result set is empty, that is, if no data was found in the database. Special rules apply whenaggregate expressions only are used in result.
8 The SELECT statement sets sy-subrc to 8 if the FOR UPDATE addition is used in result, and theprimary key is not fully specified after WHERE.

After each value that is passed to an ABAP data object, the SELECT statement sets sy-dbcnt to the number of rows passed. If an overflow occurs because the number or rows is greater than 2,147,483,647, sy-dbcnt is set to -1. If the result set is empty, sy-dbcnt is set to 0. As with sy-subrc, special rules apply if aggregate expressions only are used in result.


  • An obsolete short form is possible (apart from in classes), for which you do not need to specify the target area with INTO or APPENDING if a single database table or a single view is specified statically after FROM, and a table work area dbtab is declared with the TABLES statement for the corresponding database table or view. In this case, the system implicitly extends the SELECT statement with the addition INTO dbtab.
  • Although the WHERE condition is optional, for performance reasons, you should always specify it, and the result set should not be restricted in the application layer.
  • SELECT loops can be nested. For performance reasons, you should check whether it would be more efficient to use a join or a subquery.
  • Within a SELECT loop, you cannot execute any statements that lead to a database commit or database rollback, causing the corresponding database cursor to be closed as a result.
  • If change accesses are performed on the database tables read by a SELECT loop within the loop, the behavior is database-specific and undefined. Avoid this kind of access if possible.
  • The statement ENDSELECT closes all the reader streams which are associated with the SELECT loop.


SELECT - result

SELECT - source

SELECT - target

SELECT - cond

SELECT - group

SELECT - group_cond

SELECT - sort_key


SELECT, Dynamic Token Specification