How to check if a column exists in a SQL Server table?

I need to add a specific column if it is does not exist. I have something like this, but it always returns false:

IF EXISTS(SELECT *
          FROM   INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
          WHERE  TABLE_NAME = 'myTableName'
                 AND COLUMN_NAME = 'myColumnName') 

How can I check if a column exists in a table of SQL Server database?


SQL Server 2005 onwards:

IF EXISTS(SELECT 1 FROM sys.columns 
          WHERE Name = N'columnName'
          AND Object_ID = Object_ID(N'schemaName.tableName'))
BEGIN
    -- Column Exists
END

Martin Smith’s version is shorter:

IF COL_LENGTH('schemaName.tableName', 'columnName') IS NOT NULL
BEGIN
    -- Column Exists
END

A more concise version

 IF COL_LENGTH('table_name','column_name') IS NULL
 BEGIN
 /*Column does not exist or caller does not have permission to view the object*/
 END

The point about permissions on viewing metadata applies to all answers not just this one.

Note that the first parameter table name to COL_LENGTH can be in one, two, or three part name format as required.

An example referencing a table in a different database is

COL_LENGTH('AdventureWorks2012.HumanResources.Department','ModifiedDate')

One difference with this answer compared to using the metadata views is that metadata functions such as COL_LENGTH always only return data about committed changes irrespective of the isolation level in effect.


Tweak the below to suit your specific requirements:

if not exists (select
                     column_name
               from
                     INFORMATION_SCHEMA.columns
               where
                     table_name = 'MyTable'
                     and column_name = 'MyColumn')
    alter table MyTable add MyColumn int

Edit to deal with edit to question: That should work – take a careful look over your code for stupid mistakes; are you querying INFORMATION_SCHEMA on the same database as your insert is being applied to for example? Do you have a typo in your table/column name in either statement?

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