What is the Difference Between Substring and CHARINDEX in the SQL Server?

SQL is one of the most effective and useful frameworks that programmers deal with. It is right to say that this programming language helps professionals design a database/program with effective approaches. But it is still hard to learn SQL because of the multiple strings used for various tasks.

Here we are going to list two major commands called Substring and CHARINDEX that are used widely. The purpose of this blog is to highlight what is the difference between Substring and CHARINDEX in the SQL server. By the end, you will be able to understand the major difference between these commands.

What is a Substring?

It is a specific command related to a string that is used to extract the alphabet/terms from a specified string. Substring helps the user define a starting point within the string and extract the terms that users (programmers) want.

For example, if you want to find a word with 6 characters after the 6th index of the string, you will use the Substring command. Here is the general format in which this command is written.

SUBSTRING (expression, starting_position, length)

In the above SUBSTRING format, the expression shows the string, the starting position represents the point/index from which you want to evaluate the string, and the length represents the number of alphabets you want to deal with from that starting position.


On the other side, CHARINDEX provides an easy approach to programmers for finding the first appearance of any alphabet, text, or term. It means that this command will help you directly jump to the code section where your required term appears for the first time in the whole string.

CHARINDEX in SQL is one of the most beneficial and used commands by programmers. The reason is this command enables the professionals to directly jump to a specific term in the conde. You will not need to read the whole code to find where it exists. Moreover, it won’t let you ignore a term as you may miss out because of long-form code.

Difference Between Substring and CHARINDEX in SQL

The major difference between Substring and CHARINDEX in SQL is the working outcome. No doubt, both commands are used to filter the code to find a specific term from the entire string. But Substring allows you to manage the code from your desired point from the entire string.

On the other side, CHARINDEX will not let you set the starting position. It will find the first appearance of your inserted term only. Similarly, Substring will enable you to switch to any patch of string to evaluate your tasks.

But CHARINDEX will only allow you to jump to the second appearance of the term by deleting the first one. So, these are two major differences between these commands of SQL.

Final Verdict

No doubt, SQL has multiple commands and strings that you should know about. But Substring and CHARINDEX are widely used in this programming language. That’s why we have discussed the difference between Substring and CHARINDEX with their general form and usage.

We hope you have learned about these commands and are ready to go ahead with them. You can easily understand and use them whenever you need them in your programming tasks.