SQL DROP View: Tutorial & Overview

Instructor: Martin Gibbs

Martin has 16 years experience in Human Resources Information Systems and has a PhD in Information Technology Management. He is an adjunct professor of computer science and computer programming.

The SQL DROP command may be one that asks for caution, since it removes data. However, dropping a View does not delete the source data. This lesson will cover the DROP View command, providing an overview and examples.


Anytime you DROP anything using the SQL DROP command, you should feel a little nervous tension. After all, something is being removed (possibly permanently) from the database! However, with by dropping a view, the original data is unaffected. This is why the View is such a great tool for end users in the first place: the table behind the scenes is safe.

Although you can use the DROP command to drop/delete an entire table or column of data, it's usually not wise to remove a table full of data! However, if you create Views of the data in the database, it's a lot easier to drop the View and start over should you run into snags or glitches.

That is why a view is a great option for end users, and dropping a view (instead of a table) is much less frightening.

The SQL View

Let's quick review the View. Here is the basic syntax for creating a view from an Employee table:

CREATE VIEW Employee_View AS
  SELECT empID, empFullName, empJobTitle
  FROM tblEmployee
  WHERE empID > 0;

We'll be using this Employee_View as our sample going forward.


The syntax for dropping a view is:

DROP VIEW name_of_view;

Let's apply that to our Employee table:

DROP VIEW Employee_View;

Note the semicolon at the end of the line: it is required in SQL syntax. It tells the database application that the command is complete. Leaving it out will cause errors or strange system behavior.

Now that we have deleted the view, if we try to write a query using that view, the system will return an error. How can we make sure that the view is even in the database before we drop it? Most database management systems (MySQL, Oracle, and so on) provide an additional statement to check if the view exists.


Use IF EXISTS in the statement to ensure that you aren't trying to drop a view that isn't in the database.


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