Code Optimization

Interesting things in software development and code optimization

MS SQL - Speed up Order By with OFFSET FETCH paging


So adding nonclustered index, as the MS SQL Execution Plan suggests, seems reduced the query time even more, here is the suggested nonclustered index:

USE [myDB]



ON [dbo].[tblPictures] ([RatingTotal],[shape])

INCLUDE ([PictureID],[OwnerID],[PictureTypeID])


but using only nonclustered index, without my #temp table technic, seems does not help too much.


This time I'm going to share my solution on how I did reduce time of my SQL query with Order By clause by almost x2 times.

Firstly let me show my original query:

select @rowstotal = count(*)

From [dbo].[tblPictures]

where (@OwnerId = 0 OR @OwnerId = [OwnerID])

and (@FilterBy = 0 OR @FilterBy = PictureTypeID)

and (@Shape = '' OR @Shape = [shape])


@rowstotal as TotalCount

, PictureID

, OwnerID

, PictureName

, [Description]

, Description2

, Description3

, aspectRatio

, [min]

, [max]

, [percent]

, thumbWidth

, thumbHeight

, processState

, keywords

From [dbo].[tblPictures]

where (@OwnerId = 0 OR @OwnerId = [OwnerID])

and (@FilterBy = 0 OR @FilterBy = PictureTypeID)

and (@Shape = '' OR @Shape = [shape])

Order By RatingTotal Desc


So to be able to calculate pages we have to know the total number of rows in the DB. Each row will contain TotalCount - total number of rows

(pay attention, that the techinc COUNT(*) OVER () as TotalCount is slower than just select @rowstotal = count(*) From that I use in my queries )

Then we select all needed columns with the order and paging technic.

Everything looks great, simple and fast unless you got more than 300 000 rows in the table.

Main problem here is that the Order By clause takes 98% of the whole stored procedure and in my case it takes 5 sec in total.

How to speed it up? 

I did google a lot of posts and almost everyone suggests to use indexes or nonclustered indexes, or other things.

As I'm not DBA and do not know a lot about all these things I decided to check what if I would select only one column instead of all of them? 

And when I got my 40 rows for one page I would select the rest of columns?

I did write some test query and had been surprised that it took almost x2 time less than before.

So here is the new query:

IF OBJECT_ID(N'tempdb..#tempPage', N'U') IS NOT NULL

DROP TABLE #tempPage;

create table #tempPage


TotalCount int null

, PictureID int

, OwnerID int null

, PictureName nvarchar(500) null

, [Description] nvarchar(500) null

, Description2 nvarchar(500) null

, Description3 nvarchar(max) null

, aspectRatio decimal(18,2) null

, [min] money null

, [max] money null

, [percent] decimal(18,2) null

, thumbWidth decimal(18,2) null

, thumbHeight decimal(18,2) null

, processState varchar(50) null

, keywords varchar(500) null


insert into #tempPage


null --@rowstotal















From [dbo].[tblPictures]

where (@OwnerId = 0 OR @OwnerId = [OwnerID])

and (@FilterBy = 0 OR @FilterBy = PictureTypeID)

and (@Shape = '' OR @Shape = [shape])

Order By RatingTotal Desc


Update t

Set t.OwnerID = p.OwnerID

,t.TotalCount = @rowstotal













From #tempPage as t

INNER JOIN [dbo].[tblPictures] as p on p.PictureID = t.PictureID;

select * from #tempPage;

DROP TABLE #tempPage;

 Now we use a temp sql table to select only IDs firstly and then we update all 40 rows and set all other columns' values.

Also do not forget to drop temp table before and after to avoid existing table errors.

So this is the way that reduced my query time from 5 seconds to almost 2 seconds in total.

(SQL Server 2012 version: x64 11.0.3156.0)

Of course, if I would add nonclustered index, as MS SQL Graphical Execution Plan suggests, it may be even faster, but to be able to add them we have to understand what it is and how to use it. So maybe next step will be to learn and add nonclustered index ;)

Thank you and see you soon :)