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Table vs. View: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 18, 2024
A table is a structured set of data held in rows and columns, whereas a view is a virtual table created by a query applied to one or more tables.

Key Differences

A table in a database is a collection of related data entries and it consists of columns and rows, where each column represents a specific attribute and each row represents a single record. In contrast, a view is a virtual table resulting from a database query. While a table physically stores data, a view does not; it only displays data as it would appear in a table.
Tables are the fundamental objects in a database; they hold the actual data. When you modify a table, you directly change the data within the database. Views, on the other hand, are like predefined queries. They present data from one or more tables in a specific way, but do not contain the data themselves. Altering a view does not directly modify the underlying tables.
In database operations, tables are used for data storage and are manipulated using SQL commands like INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. Views are used for data representation and can simplify complex queries, acting as a filter upon the data in the tables. However, not all views are updatable, depending on their complexity.
Tables are more about data management and structure. They define the schema and ensure data integrity through constraints and keys. Views are more about data access and presentation, providing a way to customize the appearance of data from one or more tables, often for security or convenience purposes.
From a performance standpoint, accessing data from a table is generally faster as it involves direct retrieval of stored data. Accessing data through a view can be slower, especially if the view is built upon complex queries or multiple tables. However, views can optimize performance in certain scenarios by encapsulating complex queries.

Comparison Chart

Physical Storage

Physically stores data in the database
Does not store data; represents results of a query

Data Manipulation

Directly allows INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE operations
Often read-only; updates depend on the view's complexity


Data storage and management
Data representation and access


Defines schema with rows and columns
Defined by a SQL query; can combine multiple tables


Direct data access is typically faster
Can be slower due to underlying queries, but optimizes complex data access

Table and View Definitions


A set of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns.
The report included a table of the yearly sales figures.


A particular way of considering or regarding something; an opinion.
His view on politics is quite conservative.


A piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs.
We gathered around the table for dinner.


The ability to see something or to be seen from a particular place.
The view from the mountaintop was breathtaking.


A flat surface for working on, especially in a workshop.
He laid out his tools on the work table.


An inspection or examination of something.
She took a view of the new exhibition at the gallery.


In computing, a structured arrangement of data made up of rows and columns (database table).
The customer database was organized into a table with several fields.


A visual representation of a scene, typically in art.
The artist painted a beautiful view of the countryside.


To postpone consideration of something (especially in legislative context).
The motion was tabled until the next meeting.


In computing, a specific presentation of data in multiple rows and columns (database view).
The manager requested a view that combined sales and customer data.


An orderly arrangement of data, especially one in which the data are arranged in columns and rows in an essentially rectangular form.


An examination using the eyes; a look
Used binoculars to get a better view.


A two-dimensional presentation of data.


A matrix or grid of data arranged in rows and columns.


A lookup table, most often a set of vectors.


Can you define a table in terms of furniture?

Yes, it's a piece of furniture with a flat top and legs used for placing items.

Can a table in computing be visually customized?

Yes, through formatting options and design choices.

What does it mean to 'table a discussion'?

To postpone or delay consideration of a topic.

How can a view be beneficial in data management?

It provides a customized and possibly simplified view of data.

Is it possible to have a table without rows?

Yes, but it would be an empty table with no data.

What is the purpose of a view in computing?

To simplify data access and presentation, often for complex queries.

What is a table in a database?

A structured set of data stored in rows and columns.

Are tables in databases updatable?

Yes, you can insert, update, or delete data in a table.

What is a view in a database?

A virtual table created by a query to display data.

Can a view in a database join multiple tables?

Yes, views can combine data from several tables.

Is a view the same as a materialized view?

No, a materialized view stores the query result physically.

Are tables necessary for creating views?

Yes, views are based on data from one or more tables.

What is the performance impact of using views?

Views can slow down data access if based on complex queries.

What does 'having a good view' mean?

It refers to having a clear, unobstructed sight of something.

Can views in databases have security benefits?

Yes, they can restrict access to specific data.

Can a view exist independently of tables?

No, it requires underlying table(s) for its data.

How is a view different from a table in a database?

A view does not store data itself; it presents data from tables.

Can views be updated in databases?

It depends on the complexity and structure of the view.

What happens when a table referenced by a view is modified?

The view automatically reflects the changes.

Can a table have multiple views associated with it?

Yes, multiple views can be created from a single table.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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