What is cursor? Explain the types of cursor and write one implicit cursor program to check how many records deleted from table?

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Jawwad Malvi

  • Feb 13th, 2006

The Cursor is a handle (name or a pointer) for the memory associated with a specific statement.  A cursor is basically an Area alocated by Oracle for executing the Sql Statements.  Oracle Uses an Implicit Cursor statement for a single row query and Explicit Cursor for a multi row query.

Types of Cursor :

I) Implicit

II) Explicit (Explicit cursor has three sub-types)

1)  Simple Cursor

2)  Parameterised Cursor

3) Ref Cursor


  • Apr 23rd, 2006

declare num number(10);begin delete from ; num := sql%rowcount; dbms_output.put_line('Number of rows deleted arr : ' || num );end;please free to contact me on dibansal@cisco.com if you have any queries

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  • May 2nd, 2007



   Please find the explanation below....


A cursor is a variable that runs through the tuples of some relation. This relation can be a stored table, or it can be the answer to some query.

There are different types of cursors but broadly classified into two :

 Implicit cursor 
 Explicit cursor.

   Every query that we issue on a database is an implicit cursor for eg. a select, an update, a delete etc.

  On the otherhand explicit cursor is a user defined cursor eg: cursor explicit_cur as ...... ;

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  • Aug 27th, 2007

Cursor is a private SQL memory area. Generally it is used to improve to performance of the system.

Implicit cursor name is "SQL".

If you can used any DML statement in your plsql code.
At last you use SQL cursor name with its attributes so that you will meaning full information.


SQL%ROWCOUNT which gives how many rows are affected by this plsql block.

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Implicit and Explicit.

Whenever you issue a SQL statement, the Oracle server opens an area of memory in which the command is parsed and executed. This area is called a cursor.
When the executable part of a block issues a SQL statement, PL/SQL creates an implicit cursor, which PL/SQL manages automatically. The programmer explicitly declares and names an explicit cursor.

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A cursor is a handle (pointer) in memory for a DML operation (Select , Update).

There are mainly 2 types of cursors .
1) Implicit Cursor.
2) Explicit Cursor.

Implicit cursor: Oracle will implicitly creates an area for the DML operations. Programmer will not have control on implicit cursors. The only useful attribute on this implicit cursor is SQL%ROWCOUNT , it will give the number of rows affected by the recent DML operation.

The only Implicit cursor is SQL.

Explicit Cursor:
Explicit cursors are created by the programmer and programmer have control on it
Programmer can

1) Open

2) Close
3) Fetch

and do some manipulations on the values

Explicit Cursors are classified into

1) Normal cursor
2) Parameterized cursor
3) Cursor For Loops and
4) REF cursors

REF Cursors:

Normally when we create a normal cursor , we cant change the select query associated to that query (the query which is given at the time of definition)

But using REF cursors , we can change the cursor statement also.

These REF cursors are useful when we are sending data from one environment to another environment.

Thanks And Regards



  • Mar 27th, 2010

Cursor refers to a private work area assigned by Oracle to process the SQL / PLS SQL. Stetament

Types: Implicit & Explicit

Implicit: Whenever we are using any SQL queries Oracle assigns a private work area to statement, after processing the work area is lost, user cannot access the Implicit Cursor area. But if you want to check how many records got effected with your statment youcan use built in function %ROWCOUNT.
Explicit: When we are declering a cursor, open it, fetch the data one row at a time, or we can say whit the explicit cursor we are assigning a private work area to our statement when Oracle process the statement,  we can apply different cursor function ISOPEN, FOUND etc to access the details of statement.

Explicit cursor can be paramaterized
When we are talking about refcursors, its a cursor varible which is efficient then cursors.
types of refcursors are
Strong (Refcursor with return type)
Weak (Refcursor without return type)

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  • Aug 22nd, 2011

when we execute the sql statement from pl/sql it assigns the private work area for that statement.that contain all the information in it.in simplest form cursor is like a pointer in database table

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  • Jan 13th, 2012

Cursors when exected temporary allot spaces in DB.
There are 2 types of Cursors:
(1) Implicit
(2) Explicit
(3) Ref cursors

Implicit types of cursors are those cursors that are internally used by the DB and DB temporarily allocates space for processing.

Explicit cursors are the cursors that are defined and declared by the user.

Ref cursors are the cursors that are mainly used for collection of data.
You can use the same cursors number of times in the code.

E.G of Implicit cursor:

v_count number;

Delete from emp
where dept_id =101;

--Implicit Cursor
Select count(1) into v_count
from emp;

when no_data_found then
dbms_output.put_line(No data present in EMP);
when others then
dbms_oupput.put_line(ERROR :::sqlerrm);

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Vidya Khamkar

  • Sep 26th, 2012

Cursor - A cursor is like a virtual table, with row and columns specified by the query. A cursor also has a nation of current row, which is essentially a pointer to a row in the virtual table.
Types of cursors-
1) Static
2) Dynamic
3) Forwardonly
4) Keyset-driven.

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  • Nov 9th, 2015

Oracle uses the work area for its internal processing in order to execute a SQL statement is known as a cursor.

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