Beyond T-SQL: Scripting and Third-Party Tools for Advanced Stored Procedure Discovery

sql server 2008 Finding a Stored Procedure Containing Specific Text in SQL Server 2008

Understanding the Problem:

  • Target: Stored procedures in SQL Server 2008
  • Goal: Find procedures containing specific text (<text>)
  • Key: Effective search methods suitable for beginners


1. Using T-SQL Queries:

This built-in approach leverages system tables and LIKE operator for text matching. Here's an example:

SELECT SCHEMA_NAME(o.schema_id) AS Schema, AS ProcedureName,
       m.definition AS ProcedureDefinition
FROM sys.sql_modules m
INNER JOIN sys.objects o ON m.object_id = o.object_id
WHERE m.definition LIKE '%<text>%'
AND o.type = 'P'; -- Filter for procedures only


  • This query joins sys.sql_modules (holds procedure definitions) and sys.objects (stores object information).
  • SCHEMA_NAME(o.schema_id) specifies the schema where the procedure resides.
  • provides the procedure name.
  • m.definition contains the actual procedure code with LIKE operator searching for <text>.
  • o.type = 'P' filters results to only include procedures.

2. Management Studio Scripting:

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) offers built-in scripting capabilities for more complex searches. Here's an example:

  1. Right-click your database in SSMS, select "Script Database as" -> "CREATE to New File..."
  2. Choose "Procedures" under "Types of objects to script" and select specific schemas if needed.
  3. Click "Advanced" and under "Object Scripting options," uncheck "Script schema bindings" and "Include data".
  4. Click "Next" and save the script file.
  5. Open the script file and use your text editor's search function to find <text>.

3. Third-Party Tools:

Specialized tools like Red Gate SQL Search or ApexSQL Search provide user-friendly interfaces and advanced search features beyond basic T-SQL queries. These options can be particularly beneficial for bulk searches across multiple databases or complex filtering needs.

Related Issues and Solutions:

  • Case Sensitivity: T-SQL searches are case-sensitive by default. Use UPPER() or LOWER() functions on both your search text and m.definition for case-insensitive comparisons.
  • Wildcards: Remember that % acts as a wildcard, matching any number of characters. Be cautious and specific to avoid unintended matches.
  • Performance: Searching large databases can be time-consuming. Consider limiting your search scope or using more efficient tools if dealing with extensive data.

By understanding these methods and their considerations, you can effectively locate stored procedures containing specific text in your SQL Server 2008 environment, enhancing your database management and development tasks.