What are keys in DBMS?

KEYS in DBMS is an attribute or set of features which helps you to identify a row(tuple) in a relation(table). They allow you to discover the relation between two tables. Keys assist you uniquely identify a heat in a table by a mix of one or more columns in the table. Crucial is additionally helpful because that finding distinctive record or heat from the table. Database an essential is likewise helpful for finding distinct record or heat from the table.

You are watching: A foreign key is a field (or group of fields) that uniquely identifies a given record in a table.


Employee IDFirstNameLastName

In the above-given example, employee id is a primary vital because it uniquely identifies an employee record. In this table, no various other employee have the right to have the very same employee ID.

In this tutorial, you will certainly learn:

Why we need a Key?

Here space some factors for utilizing sql an essential in the DBMS system.

Keys help you come identify any kind of row that data in a table. In a real-world application, a table can contain hundreds of records. Moreover, the records can be duplicated. Keys in RDBMS ensure that you can uniquely recognize a table record in spite of these challenges.Allows you to create a relationship between and identify the relation between tablesHelp you come enforce identity and integrity in the relationship.

Types of keys in DBMS (Database administration System)

There are largely Eight different types of keys in DBMS and each crucial has it’s various functionality:

Super KeyPrimary KeyCandidate KeyAlternate KeyForeign KeyCompound KeyComposite KeySurrogate Key

Let’s watch at each of the secrets in DBMS v example:

Super vital – A super crucial is a group of single or multiple tricks which identify rows in a table.Primary crucial – is a shaft or team of columns in a table that uniquely recognize every heat in that table.Candidate an essential – is a collection of features that uniquely recognize tuples in a table. Candidate an essential is a super crucial with no recurring attributes.Alternate crucial – is a shaft or group of columns in a table the uniquely determine every heat in that table.Foreign key – is a column that create a relationship in between two tables. The objective of international keys is to preserve data truth and allow navigation in between two different instances of an entity.Compound an essential – has two or more attributes that allow you come uniquely acknowledge a details record. That is possible that each column may not be unique by itself in ~ the database.Composite vital – is a mix of 2 or an ext columns that uniquely identify rows in a table. The mix of columns guarantees uniqueness, despite individual uniqueness is no guaranteed.Surrogate key – an artificial an essential which intends to uniquely identify each document is referred to as a surrogate key. These sort of vital are unique since they are created when friend don’t have any type of natural major key.

What is the at sight key?

A superkey is a group of single or multiple keys which identifies rows in a table. A Super key may have additional attributes that room not essential for unique identification.



In the above-given example, EmpSSN and EmpNum name space superkeys.

What is a major Key?

PRIMARY KEY in DBMS is a shaft or group of columns in a table that uniquely determine every row in the table. The Primary key can’t it is in a duplicate an interpretation the same value can’t appear much more than as soon as in the table. A table cannot have much more than one main key.

Rules for specifying Primary key:

Two rows can’t have actually the very same primary vital valueIt need to for every row to have actually a primary key value.The primary an essential field can not be null.The value in a primary an essential column have the right to never be modified or update if any type of foreign an essential refers come that primary key.


In the complying with example, StudID is a primary Key.

StudIDRoll NoFirst NameLastNameEmail

What is the alternate key?

ALTERNATE KEYS is a tower or group of columns in a table the uniquely recognize every heat in that table. A table can have multiple options for a primary key but just one can be set as the primary key. Every the keys which space not primary crucial are dubbed an alternative Key.


In this table, StudID, roll No, Email room qualified to become a major key. But due to the fact that StudID is the primary key, roll No, email becomes the different key.

StudIDRoll NoFirst NameLastNameEmail

What is a Candidate Key?

CANDIDATE KEY in SQL is a collection of characteristics that uniquely determine tuples in a table. Candidate key is a super vital with no recurring attributes. The Primary vital should it is in selected native the candidate keys. Every table must have at least a single candidate key. A table can have lot of candidate keys however only a single primary key.

Properties of Candidate key:

It need to contain distinct valuesCandidate vital in SQL may have multiple attributesMust not contain null valuesIt need to contain minimum areas to certain uniquenessUniquely determine each record in a table

Candidate key Example: In the given table Stud ID, role No, and email space candidate tricks which aid us to uniquely identify the student record in the table.

StudIDRoll NoFirst NameLastNameEmail

Candidate key in DBMS

What is the foreign key?

FOREIGN KEY is a pillar that create a relationship in between two tables. The objective of foreign keys is to maintain data truth and allow navigation in between two various instances of an entity. That acts together a cross-reference in between two tables as it referrals the primary vital of another table.


Teacher IDFnameLname

In this vital in dbms example, we have actually two table, teach and also department in a school. However, there is no means to watch which search work-related in i beg your pardon department.

In this table, including the foreign crucial in Deptcode come the Teacher name, us can develop a relationship in between the two tables.

Teacher IDDeptCodeFnameLname

This concept is likewise known as Referential Integrity.

What is the link key?

COMPOUND KEY has two or more attributes that enable you to uniquely acknowledge a certain record. The is feasible that each column might not be distinctive by itself within the database. However, when merged with the other pillar or columns the combination of composite keys end up being unique. The objective of the compound vital in database is come uniquely determine each document in the table.


OrderNoPorductIDProduct NameQuantity
B005OMG446789LCD Monitor20
B002OMG446789Laser Printer3

In this example, OrderNo and also ProductID can’t it is in a primary key as that does not uniquely recognize a record. However, a compound an essential of bespeak ID and Product ID could be used as that uniquely determined each record.

What is the Composite key?

COMPOSITE KEY is a combination of two or much more columns that uniquely identify rows in a table. The combination of columns assures uniqueness, though individually uniqueness is no guaranteed. Hence, they are an unified to uniquely recognize records in a table.

The difference between compound and the composite crucial is that any component of the compound crucial can it is in a international key, but the composite vital may or maybe not a part of the foreign key.

What is a Surrogate key?

SURROGATE KEYS is an artificial key which intends to uniquely determine each record is called a surrogate key. This type of partial vital in dbms is unique since it is developed when girlfriend don’t have any type of natural main key. They carry out not loan any an interpretation to the data in the table. Surrogate crucial in DBMS is usually an integer. A surrogate an essential is a value created right before the record is put into a table.

FnameLastnameStart TimeEnd Time

Above, provided example, shown shift timings the the various employee. In this example, a surrogate vital is needed to uniquely determine each employee.

Surrogate keys in sql are permitted when

No property has actually the parameter of the primary key.In the table as soon as the primary crucial is too huge or complicated.

Difference between Primary key & international key

Following is the main difference in between primary an essential and international key:

Primary KeyForeign Key
Helps you come uniquely determine a record in the table.It is a field in the table that is the primary vital of one more table.
Primary an essential never expropriate null values.A foreign key may expropriate multiple null values.
Primary vital is a clustered index and data in the DBMS table room physically arranged in the sequence of the clustered index.A foreign crucial cannot instantly create one index, clustered or non-clustered. However, you deserve to manually produce an index on the international key.
You deserve to have the solitary Primary an essential in a table.You can have multiple foreign keys in a table.

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What is crucial in DBMS: A vital in DBMS is an attribute or collection of features which help you to recognize a row(tuple) in a relation(table)Keys in RDBMS enable you to develop a relationship between and also identify the relation in between tablesEight varieties of key in DBMS are Super, Primary, Candidate, Alternate, Foreign, Compound, Composite, and also Surrogate Key.A super an essential is a group of single or multiple tricks which identifies rows in a table.A pillar or group of columns in a table i beg your pardon helps united state to unique identifies every heat in the table is referred to as a major keyAll the various keys in DBMS which are not primary crucial are called an alternative keyA super an essential with no repeated attribute is referred to as candidate keyA compound crucial is a vital which has many fields which allow you come uniquely recognize a details recordA crucial which has multiple qualities to uniquely determine rows in a table is dubbed a composite keyAn artificial crucial which intends to uniquely recognize each document is called a surrogate keyPrimary key never accept null worths while a foreign key may expropriate multiple null values.