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What is PIVOT and UNPIVOT?

You can use the PIVOT and UNPIVOT relational operators to change a table-valued expression into another table. PIVOT rotates a table-valued expression by turning the unique values from one column in the expression into multiple columns in the output, and performs aggregations where they are required on any remaining column values that are wanted in the final output. UNPIVOT performs the opposite operation to PIVOT by rotating columns of a table-valued expression into column values.

The following example returns the number of purchase orders placed by employee IDs 164, 198, 223, 231, and 233, categorized by vendor ID.

USE AdventureWorks
GO
SELECT VendorID, [164] AS Emp1, [198] AS Emp2, [223] AS Emp3, [231] AS Emp4, [233] AS Emp5
FROM
(SELECT PurchaseOrderID, EmployeeID, VendorID
FROM Purchasing.PurchaseOrderHeader) AS p
PIVOT
(
COUNT (PurchaseOrderID)
FOR EmployeeID IN
( [164], [198], [223], [231], [233] )
) AS pvt
ORDER BY VendorID;

Here is a partial result set:
Copy

VendorID Emp1 Emp2 Emp3 Emp4 Emp5
1 4 3 5 4 4
2 4 1 5 5 5
3 4 3 5 4 4
4 4 2 5 5 4
5 5 1 5 5 5

To unpivot the table, assume the result set produced in the previous example is stored as pvt. The query looks like the following.

–Create the table and insert values as portrayed in the previous example.
CREATE TABLE pvt (VendorID int, Emp1 int, Emp2 int,
Emp3 int, Emp4 int, Emp5 int);
GO
INSERT INTO pvt VALUES (1,4,3,5,4,4);
INSERT INTO pvt VALUES (2,4,1,5,5,5);
INSERT INTO pvt VALUES (3,4,3,5,4,4);
INSERT INTO pvt VALUES (4,4,2,5,5,4);
INSERT INTO pvt VALUES (5,5,1,5,5,5);
GO
–Unpivot the table.
SELECT VendorID, Employee, Orders
FROM
(SELECT VendorID, Emp1, Emp2, Emp3, Emp4, Emp5
FROM pvt) AS p
UNPIVOT
(Orders FOR Employee IN
(Emp1, Emp2, Emp3, Emp4, Emp5)
)AS unpvt
GO

Here is a partial result set:

VendorID Employee Orders
1 Emp1 4
1 Emp2 3
1 Emp3 5
1 Emp4 4
1 Emp5 4
2 Emp1 4
2 Emp2 1
2 Emp3 5
2 Emp4 5
2 Emp5 5

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