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Microsoft SQL Server: Programming FAQ

T-SQL Hints and Tips

How to renumber records, do running totals without a cursor by MalcolmW
Posted: 28 Aug 00

This trick is from Inside SQL Server 7.0, and is a fast and neat way to renumber records (see example).  It can also be used for running totals, or a variety of things that would normally require a cursor.

declare @variable int
set @variable = 0
update table
SET @variable = column = @variable + 1

the SET statement is read Japanese style, right to left.
First the column is assigned the value of the variable plus one, then the variable is assigned the new value of the column.  The process repeats in a single pass for the whole table.

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