How to search for SQL Server objects that exist anywhere across an instance using T-SQL

You’re probably never going to be familiar with every database object, i.e. Table, View, Stored Procedure and Function, that exists in a large production database, even if you were the one who designed it. So everyone who maintains an environment be it a call center back end or sales system back end or CRM back end etc. etc. needs to be able to locate objects quickly.

Redgate offer a fantastic free tool to do this within SQL Server Management Studio through a GUI called SQL Search.

As great as this is though sometimes you might want to search through object definitions programmatically.

To clarify I’m defining object definition as being column names of a table or view or the command that makes up a stored procedure or function.

Below is the Store Procedure I’ve written to do this called SearchObjectDefinition. To work this Stored Procedure also requires the User Defined Function (UDF) called Split which I used in the tutorial “How to pass a multi-value parameter to a stored procedure from a SSRS Report“.

Below are a few use cases for SearchObjectDefinition:

--List All Instance Tables, Stored Procedures, Views and Functions
EXEC dbo.SearchObjectDefinition

--List All Stored Procedures, and Functions in the Databases 
--TestDatabaseOne and TestDatabaseTwo
EXEC dbo.SearchObjectDefinition @ObjectType = 'Sp, Fn'
	,@DatabaseName = 'TestDatabaseOne, TestDatabaseTwo'

--List All Instance Tables, Stored Procedures, Views and Functions 
--where Object Definition contains the word Insert
EXEC dbo.SearchObjectDefinition @strFind = 'insert'

--List All Instance Tables where Object Name is Customers and 
--Column name contains the word Phone
EXEC dbo.SearchObjectDefinition @ObjectType = 'tb'
	,@ObjectName = 'Customers'
	,@strFind = 'Phone'

As always be sure to deploy the following Function and Store Procedure in a utility database not the master database as this is bad practice.

Split Function:

--USE [DatabaseName];
--GO

IF OBJECT_ID('[Split]') IS NULL
	EXEC ('CREATE FUNCTION dbo.[Split](@i INT) RETURNS @RtnValue TABLE (j INT) AS BEGIN INSERT INTO @RtnValue (j) SELECT 1 RETURN END');
GO

ALTER FUNCTION [dbo].[Split] (
	@List NVARCHAR(2000)
	,@SplitOn NVARCHAR(5)
	)
RETURNS @RtnValue TABLE (
	Id INT identity(1, 1)
	,Value NVARCHAR(100)
	)
AS
BEGIN
	WHILE (Charindex(@SplitOn, @List) > 0)
	BEGIN
		INSERT INTO @RtnValue (value)
		SELECT Value = ltrim(rtrim(Substring(@List, 1, Charindex(@SplitOn, @List) - 1)))

		SET @List = Substring(@List, Charindex(@SplitOn, @List) + len(@SplitOn), len(@List))
	END

	INSERT INTO @RtnValue (Value)
	SELECT Value = ltrim(rtrim(@List))

	RETURN
END

SearchObjectDefinition Stored Procedure:

--USE [DatabaseName];
--GO

IF OBJECT_ID('[SearchObjectDefinition]') IS NULL
	EXEC ('CREATE PROCEDURE dbo.[SearchObjectDefinition] AS SELECT 1')
GO

ALTER PROCEDURE [dbo].[SearchObjectDefinition] (
	@ObjectType AS VARCHAR(20) = NULL
	,@ObjectName AS SYSNAME = NULL
	,@DatabaseName AS SYSNAME = NULL
	,@strFind AS VARCHAR(MAX) = NULL
	)
AS
BEGIN
	SET NOCOUNT ON;
	SET @strFind = ISNULL(@strFind, '')
	SET @ObjectName = ISNULL(@ObjectName, '')

	IF OBJECT_ID('tempdb..#Result') IS NOT NULL
		DROP TABLE #Result;

	DECLARE @DatabaseTable TABLE (DbName SYSNAME)
	DECLARE @DbName AS SYSNAME
	DECLARE @Sql AS VARCHAR(MAX)

	CREATE TABLE #Result (
		DbName SYSNAME NULL
		,ObjectType VARCHAR(2)
		,ObjectName SYSNAME
		,ObjectDefinition VARCHAR(MAX)
		)

	IF @DatabaseName IS NOT NULL
	BEGIN
		INSERT INTO @DatabaseTable (DbName)
		SELECT Value
		FROM dbo.Split(@DatabaseName, ',')
	END

	IF @DatabaseName IS NULL
	BEGIN
		INSERT INTO @DatabaseTable (DbName)
		SELECT NAME
		FROM master.dbo.sysdatabases
		WHERE NAME NOT IN (
				'tempdb'
				,'master'
				,'msdb'
				,'model'
				)
		ORDER BY NAME ASC
	END

	SET @DbName = ''

	--TO FIND STRING IN ALL PROCEDURES  
	IF @ObjectType LIKE '%Sp%'
		OR @ObjectType IS NULL
	BEGIN
		WHILE @DbName IS NOT NULL
		BEGIN
			SET @DbName = (
					SELECT MIN(DbName)
					FROM @DatabaseTable
					WHERE DbName > @DbName
					)
			SET @Sql = '
			USE ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + ';
			
			INSERT INTO #Result (
				DbName
				,ObjectType
				,ObjectName
				,ObjectDefinition
				)
			SELECT ''' + @DbName + ''' AS DbName
				,''Sp'' AS ObjectType
				,OBJECT_NAME(OBJECT_ID) AS ObjectName
				,OBJECT_DEFINITION(OBJECT_ID) AS ObjectDefinition
			FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + '.sys.procedures
			WHERE OBJECT_DEFINITION(OBJECT_ID) LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @strFind + ''' + ''%''
			AND Name LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @ObjectName + ''' + ''%''
			'

			EXEC (@Sql)
		END
	END

	SET @DbName = ''

	--TO FIND STRING IN ALL VIEWS   
	IF @ObjectType LIKE '%Vw%'
		OR @ObjectType IS NULL
	BEGIN
		WHILE @DbName IS NOT NULL
		BEGIN
			SET @DbName = (
					SELECT MIN(DbName)
					FROM @DatabaseTable
					WHERE DbName > @DbName
					)
			SET @Sql = '
		USE ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + ';	
		
		INSERT INTO #Result (
			DbName
			,ObjectType
			,ObjectName
			,ObjectDefinition
			)
		SELECT ''' + @DbName + ''' AS DbName
			,''Vw'' AS ObjectType
			,OBJECT_NAME(OBJECT_ID) AS ObjectName
			,OBJECT_DEFINITION(OBJECT_ID) AS ObjectDefinition
		FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + '.sys.VIEWS
		WHERE OBJECT_DEFINITION(OBJECT_ID) LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @strFind + ''' + ''%''
		AND Name LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @ObjectName + ''' + ''%''
			'

			EXEC (@Sql)
		END
	END

	SET @DbName = ''

	--TO FIND STRING IN ALL FUNCTION 
	IF @ObjectType LIKE '%Fn%'
		OR @ObjectType IS NULL
	BEGIN
		WHILE @DbName IS NOT NULL
		BEGIN
			SET @DbName = (
					SELECT MIN(DbName)
					FROM @DatabaseTable
					WHERE DbName > @DbName
					)
			SET @Sql = '
		USE ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + ';	
		
		INSERT INTO #Result (
			DbName
			,ObjectType
			,ObjectName
			,ObjectDefinition
			)
		SELECT ''' + @DbName + ''' AS DbName
			,''Fn'' AS ObjectType
			,ROUTINE_NAME AS ObjectName
			,ROUTINE_DEFINITION AS ObjectDefinition
		FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + '.INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROUTINES
		WHERE ROUTINE_DEFINITION LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @strFind + ''' + ''%''
			AND ROUTINE_NAME LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @ObjectName + ''' + ''%''
			AND ROUTINE_TYPE = ''FUNCTION''
		ORDER BY ROUTINE_NAME
			'

			EXEC (@Sql)
		END
	END

	SET @DbName = ''

	--TO FIND STRING IN ALL TABLES OF DATABASE.  
	IF @ObjectType LIKE '%Tb%'
		OR @ObjectType IS NULL
	BEGIN
		WHILE @DbName IS NOT NULL
		BEGIN
			SET @DbName = (
					SELECT MIN(DbName)
					FROM @DatabaseTable
					WHERE DbName > @DbName
					)
			SET @Sql = '
		USE ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + ';	
			
		INSERT INTO #Result (
			DbName
			,ObjectType
			,ObjectName
			,ObjectDefinition
			)
		SELECT ''' + @DbName + ''' AS DbName
			,''Tb'' AS ObjectType
			,t.NAME AS ObjectName
			,c.NAME AS ObjectDefinition
		FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + '.sys.tables AS t
		INNER JOIN ' + QUOTENAME(@DbName) + '.sys.columns c ON t.OBJECT_ID = c.OBJECT_ID
		WHERE c.NAME LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @strFind + ''' + ''%''
		AND t.Name LIKE ''%'' + ''' + @ObjectName + ''' + ''%''
		ORDER BY [ObjectDefinition] ASC
			'

			EXEC (@Sql)
		END
	END

	SELECT DbName
		,ObjectType
		,ObjectName
		,ObjectDefinition
	FROM #Result
	ORDER BY DbName ASC
		,ObjectType ASC
		,ObjectName ASC

	DROP TABLE #Result
END

 

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