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PL/SQL Trigger

Trigger is invoked by Oracle engine automatically whenever a specified event occurs.Trigger is stored into database and invoked repeatedly, when specific condition match.

Triggers are stored programs, which are automatically executed or fired when some event occurs.

Triggers are written to be executed in response to any of the following events.

  • A database manipulation (DML) statement (DELETE, INSERT, or UPDATE).
  • A database definition (DDL) statement (CREATE, ALTER, or DROP).
  • A database operation (SERVERERROR, LOGON, LOGOFF, STARTUP, or SHUTDOWN).

Triggers could be defined on the table, view, schema, or database with which the event is associated.

Advantages of Triggers

These are the following advantages of Triggers:

  • Trigger generates some derived column values automatically
  • Enforces referential integrity
  • Event logging and storing information on table access
  • Auditing
  • Synchronous replication of tables
  • Imposing security authorizations
  • Preventing invalid transactions

Creating a trigger:

Syntax for creating trigger:


  • CREATE [OR REPLACE] TRIGGER trigger_name: It creates or replaces an existing trigger with the trigger_name.
  • {BEFORE | AFTER | INSTEAD OF} : This specifies when the trigger would be executed. The INSTEAD OF clause is used for creating trigger on a view.
  • {INSERT [OR] | UPDATE [OR] | DELETE}: This specifies the DML operation.
  • [OF col_name]: This specifies the column name that would be updated.
  • [ON table_name]: This specifies the name of the table associated with the trigger.
  • [REFERENCING OLD AS o NEW AS n]: This allows you to refer new and old values for various DML statements, like INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE.
  • [FOR EACH ROW]: This specifies a row level trigger, i.e., the trigger would be executed for each row being affected. Otherwise the trigger will execute just once when the SQL statement is executed, which is called a table level trigger.
  • WHEN (condition): This provides a condition for rows for which the trigger would fire. This clause is valid only for row level triggers.

PL/SQL Trigger Example

Let's take a simple example to demonstrate the trigger. In this example, we are using the following CUSTOMERS table:

Create table and have records:

1Ramesh 23 Allahabad20000
2Suresh22Kanpur 22000

Create trigger:

Let's take a program to create a row level trigger for the CUSTOMERS table that would fire for INSERT or UPDATE or DELETE operations performed on the CUSTOMERS table. This trigger will display the salary difference between the old values and new values:

After the execution of the above code at SQL Prompt, it produces the following result.

Trigger created.

Check the salary difference by procedure:

Use the following code to get the old salary, new salary and salary difference after the trigger created.


Old salary: 20000
New salary: 25000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 22000
New salary: 27000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 24000
New salary: 29000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 26000
New salary: 31000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 28000
New salary: 33000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 30000
New salary: 35000
Salary difference: 5000
6 customers updated 

Note: As many times you executed this code, the old and new both salary is incremented by 5000 and hence the salary difference is always 5000.

After the execution of above code again, you will get the following result.

Old salary: 25000
New salary: 30000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 27000
New salary: 32000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 29000
New salary: 34000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 31000
New salary: 36000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 33000
New salary: 38000
Salary difference: 5000
Old salary: 35000
New salary: 40000
Salary difference: 5000
6 customers updated

Important Points

Following are the two very important point and should be noted carefully.

  • OLD and NEW references are used for record level triggers these are not avialable for table level triggers.
  • If you want to query the table in the same trigger, then you should use the AFTER keyword, because triggers can query the table or change it again only after the initial changes are applied and the table is back in a consistent state.

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