Efficiently convert rows to columns in sql server

There are several ways that you can transform data from multiple rows into columns.


In SQL Server you can use the PIVOT function to transform the data from rows to columns:

select Firstname, Amount, PostalCode, LastName, AccountNumber
  select value, columnname
  from yourtable
) d
  for columnname in (Firstname, Amount, PostalCode, LastName, AccountNumber)
) piv;

See Demo.

Pivot with unknown number of columnnames

If you have an unknown number of columnnames that you want to transpose, then you can use dynamic SQL:

    @query  AS NVARCHAR(MAX)

select @cols = STUFF((SELECT ',' + QUOTENAME(ColumnName) 
                    from yourtable
                    group by ColumnName, id
                    order by id
            FOR XML PATH(''), TYPE
            ).value('.', 'NVARCHAR(MAX)') 

set @query = N'SELECT ' + @cols + N' from 
                select value, ColumnName
                from yourtable
            ) x
                for ColumnName in (' + @cols + N')
            ) p '

exec sp_executesql @query;

See Demo.

Using an aggregate function

If you do not want to use the PIVOT function, then you can use an aggregate function with a CASE expression:

  max(case when columnname="FirstName" then value end) Firstname,
  max(case when columnname="Amount" then value end) Amount,
  max(case when columnname="PostalCode" then value end) PostalCode,
  max(case when columnname="LastName" then value end) LastName,
  max(case when columnname="AccountNumber" then value end) AccountNumber
from yourtable

See Demo.

Using multiple joins

This could also be completed using multiple joins, but you will need some column to associate each of the rows which you do not have in your sample data. But the basic syntax would be:

select fn.value as FirstName,
  a.value as Amount,
  pc.value as PostalCode,
  ln.value as LastName,
  an.value as AccountNumber
from yourtable fn
left join yourtable a
  on fn.somecol = a.somecol
  and a.columnname="Amount"
left join yourtable pc
  on fn.somecol = pc.somecol
  and pc.columnname="PostalCode"
left join yourtable ln
  on fn.somecol = ln.somecol
  and ln.columnname="LastName"
left join yourtable an
  on fn.somecol = an.somecol
  and an.columnname="AccountNumber"
where fn.columnname="Firstname"

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