Altering Oracle's SQL*Plus Help Facility
June 4, 2003
Everyone needs a little help now and then. If you have never used Oracle's help facility, venture with me and find new ways you can provide benefit to your users of SQL*Plus through this simple interface.
The SQL*Plus facility has a very simple syntax.
In order to get the appropriate help information, you need only issue the HELP or '?' command on the command line within SQL*Plus, followed by the command or subject matter you need help on. If you do not know what you want or just want to see what is available, then for the subject matter supply the global 'TOPICS' or 'INDEX' keyword and get a listing of everything available for HELP.
SQL> HELP INDEX Enter Help [topic] for help. @ COPY PAUSE SHUTDOWN @@ DEFINE PRINT SPOOL / DEL PROMPT SQLPLUS ACCEPT DESCRIBE QUIT START APPEND DISCONNECT RECOVER STARTUP ARCHIVE LOG EDIT REMARK STORE ATTRIBUTE EXECUTE REPFOOTER TIMING BREAK EXIT REPHEADER TTITLE BTITLE GET RESERVED WORDS (SQL) UNDEFINE CHANGE HELP RESERVED WORDS (PL/SQL) VARIABLE CLEAR HOST RUN WHENEVER OSERROR COLUMN INPUT SAVE WHENEVER SQLERROR COMPUTE LIST SET CONNECT PASSWORD SHOW
Not only can you supply a single topic for the HELP command, you may also supply an abbreviated topic. If the abbreviated topic also covers multiple topic areas, all of the topics will be reported. For example, if I supplied the topic 'H', under the base installation of HELP, I would get results for both HELP and HOST.
SQL> ? H HELP ---- Accesses this command line help system. Enter HELP INDEX for a list of topics. In iSQL*Plus, click the Help button to display iSQL*Plus help. HELP [topic] HOST ---- Executes a host operating system command without leaving SQL*Plus. HO[ST] [command] Not available in iSQL*Plus
Possible errors you may encounter are an indication of the HELP facility not being installed or an invalid topic.
SP2-0171 HELP not accessible Cause: On-line SQL*Plus help is not installed in this Oracle instance. Action: Contact the Database Administrator to install the on-line help. SP2-0172 No HELP available Cause: There is no help information available for the specified command. Action: Enter HELP INDEX for a list of topics.