Effective Methods for Transferring C# Lists to SQL Server Procedures

c# sql server Passing List<> to SQL Server Stored Procedures in C#

Table-Valued Parameters (TVPs): (Requires SQL Server 2008 or later)

This is the recommended approach as it offers efficiency and security. It involves:

a. Creating a User-Defined Table Type (UDT) in SQL Server:


This defines a UDT named IntList with a single column named ID. You can modify this to reflect the data types and structure of your list objects.

b. Defining the Stored Procedure Parameter:

CREATE PROCEDURE MyStoredProcedure (@List dbo.IntList READONLY)
  -- Access list items using loop or table functions

Here, the parameter @List has the data type dbo.IntList defined in the UDT.

c. Passing the List from C#:

using System.Data.SqlClient;

// ...

List<int> myList = new List<int>() { 1, 2, 3 };

using (SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection(connectionString))

  // Create a DataTable and populate it with the list
  DataTable dataTable = new DataTable();
  dataTable.Columns.Add("ID", typeof(int));
  foreach (int item in myList)

  // Create a command and add the parameter
  SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("MyStoredProcedure", conn);
  cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;

  SqlParameter parameter = new SqlParameter("@List", SqlDbType.Structured);
  parameter.TypeName = "dbo.IntList";
  parameter.Value = dataTable;

  // Execute the stored procedure

This code creates a DataTable from the list, sets the parameter type to SqlDbType.Structured, and specifies the UDT name.

Comma-Separated Values (CSV):

A simpler, but less secure, approach involves converting the list to a comma-separated string (CSV) and parsing it in the stored procedure:

string csvList = string.Join(",", myList.Select(x => x.ToString()));

// ...

cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@List", csvList);

// ...

-- In stored procedure (example with T-SQL):
DECLARE @item int;

WHILE PATINDEX(',', @List) > 0
  SELECT @item = CONVERT(int, SUBSTRING(@List, 1, PATINDEX(',', @List) - 1));
  SET @List = SUBSTRING(@List, PATINDEX(',', @List) + 1, LEN(@List));

  -- Process individual item (@item)

While easier to implement, this method is vulnerable to SQL injection attacks if user input is involved.


Similar to CSV, you can convert the list to XML and parse it within the stored procedure using dedicated functions. However, this is less efficient and more complex compared to TVPs.

Related Issues and Solutions:

  • Security: Always prioritize secure methods like TVPs over CSV when dealing with user-supplied data.
  • Performance: TVPs offer better performance compared to string manipulation techniques like CSV or XML.
  • Database Compatibility: TVPs are only available in SQL Server 2008 or later versions. For older versions, consider alternative approaches like temporary tables or iterating through individual elements.

By understanding these methods and their considerations, you can effectively pass list data from C# to SQL Server stored procedures in a secure and efficient manner.

c# sql sql-server

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