Identify table types in SQL Server 2016

This query works on SQL Server 2016 or newer.

SQL Server 2016 brought new features and table types - temporal tables and external tables.

Query below lists tables in current database and identifies it's type. Types include:

  • Plain old Regular table
  • System versioned table (temporal table) (introduced in SQL Server 2016)
  • History table (introduced in SQL Server 2016)
  • PolyBase External table (introduced in SQL Server 2016)
  • File table (introduced in SQL Server 2012)


select schema_name(schema_id) as schema_name,
       name as table_name,
        case when is_external = 1 then 'External table'
            when temporal_type = 2 then 'System versioned table'
            when temporal_type = 1 then 'History table'
            when is_filetable = 1 then 'File table'
            else 'Regular table'
        end as table_type
        from sys.tables
order by schema_name, table_name


  • schema_name - schem name of the table
  • table_name - table name
  • table_type - type of the table identified by the query. Values include:
    • Regular table
    • System versioned table
    • History table
    • External table
    • File table


  • One row represents one table in a database
  • Scope of rows: all tables in a database
  • Ordered by schema and table name

Sample results

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