In this blog post, I will share with you a small PowerShell script I did recently.

I have noticed that my customer performs a very repetitive and time-consuming task almost every day.
New columns are added to tables on their business-critical database and they need to maintain SQL scripts file with all the ALTER TABLE statements for each new column.

For every new column, my customer copy-pastes the following SQL Script and then change parts of it.

* New column 
*            Schema:       Order
*            Table:        TestTable2     
*            Column:       ColumnName1    
* History    
*            Date:         18/10/2020 
*            User:         Steven Naudet 

       SELECT * 
       FROM sys.tables AS t 
       JOIN sys.[columns] AS c ON t.[object_id] = c.[object_id]
       JOIN sys.schemas AS s ON s.[schema_id] = t.[schema_id]  
       WHERE 1=1 
       AND = 'Order'  
       AND = 'TestTable2' 
       AND = 'ColumnName1' 
       PRINT 'Altering table Order.TestTable2 adding column [ColumnName1]' ; 
       ALTER TABLE [Order].TestTable2 
       ColumnName1 NOT NULL; 

* End New column ColumnName1  

The highlighted lines are manually edited by my customer every time there’s a new column to be added to the database, which can occur 20 times per week.
I decided to write a PowerShell function to do this task faster so my customer can work on more interesting things instead.

The idea is to use a Template file for the SQL Script. The file is similar to the SSMS templates.
The PowerShell script modifies the template and as output sends the SQL to Clipboard using Set-Clipboard.
Consecutive calls to the function will add the SQL commands after one another in the Clipboard. This way my customer can just Paste the generated SQL script to his SQL source control tool.

You can see the script in action with the GIF below.

PowerShell Script in action GIF

Here is the script.

function New-AddColumnSQL {

    param (
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string] $Schema,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string] $Table,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string] $Column,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string] $Type,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$false)][string] $defaultValue,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$false)][switch] $isNotNull = $false,
        [Parameter(Mandatory=$false)][string] $User = 'Steven NAUDET'

    $TemplateFile = 'Z:\scripts\TemplateAddColumn.sql'

    $Clipboard = Get-Clipboard
    # Clear Clipboard if first call to the function
    if ($Clipboard -like '*Altering table*') {
        $returnMessage = 'SQL Script appended to Clipboard'
    } else {
        $returnMessage = 'SQL Script pasted to Clipboard'
        Set-Clipboard -Value $null

    $ColumnDef = $Type

    # NOT NULL
    if($isNotNull) { 
        $ColumnDef = $ColumnDef + ' NOT'
    $ColumnDef = $ColumnDef + ' NULL'

    # DEFAULT value
    if($defaultValue) { 
        $ColumnDef = $ColumnDef + ' DEFAULT ' + $defaultValue

    $SQLscript = Get-Item -Path $TemplateFile | Get-Content
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<Date>', (Get-Date -UFormat "%d/%m/%Y"))
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<SchemaName>', $Schema)
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<TableName>', $Table)
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<ColumnName>', $Column)
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<UserName>', $User)
    $SQLscript = $SQLscript.Replace('<ColumnDefinition>', $ColumnDef)

    Set-Clipboard $SQLscript -Append

    return $returnMessage


There’s probably a lot of room for improvement for this code but the goal of this blog post is to show you how handy PowerShell can be. It can help you save a lot of time.
I took about 1 hour to write this code and I’m sure my customer will save more than that every month.

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Steven Naudet