SQL Developer: A Resource Guide

Welcome to this resource guide for SQL Developer.

In this guide, you'll learn all about Oracle's SQL Developer tool. You'll learn:

  • what it is
  • how to download and set it up
  • how to use it
  • how to customise it

You can use the Table of Contents below to navigate on this page.

Let's get started!

sql developer

What is SQL Developer?

SQL Developer is an application developed by Oracle and is used to access and work with an Oracle database.

It's one of many types of these applications, often called an SQL editor or an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

You may have a database at work or set up on your own computer, such as Oracle Express or the full version of Oracle. However, to be able to access it and run queries on it, you need an IDE.

SQL Developer is one of the most popular IDEs.

Why is it so popular?

  • It's free. Oracle provides the software for you to download free of charge. All you need to do is create an Oracle account (which is easy and free) and you can download it.
  • It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Many IDEs only run on one operating system, making it hard to commit to something long-term if your OS changes, or if your team runs different computers.
  • It's regularly updated. It's developed by Oracle who have the resources to make updates to SQL Developer based on community feedback and new Oracle features.
  • It works well with Oracle databases. Because it's developed by Oracle it can use the features of Oracle database really well.

For more information on Oracle SQL Developer, check out the official page on Oracle's website here.

Getting Started with SQL Developer

Now you know a bit about what SQL Developer is, let's take a look at how you can start using it.

There are three overall steps in this process:

  1. Download SQL Developer
  2. Install it
  3. Create a connection

How to Download Oracle SQL Developer

SQL Developer can be downloaded from the Oracle website. To download it, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Oracle SQL Developer page here.

  2. Click SQL Developer.

  3. Click the Download link for your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux).

  4. Accept the license agreement and click Download

  5. Sign in to your Oracle account, or create a new account if you don't have one.

The file will then begin downloading. It's a few hundred MB so may take a few minutes to download.

You can watch a video on how to download and install Oracle SQL Developer here:

How to Install Oracle SQL Developer

Installing Oracle SQL Developer is pretty easy. Unlike many applications on Windows and Mac, you don't need to follow a wizard to install it.

Simply extract the downloaded ZIP file into a folder on your computer.

Once the files are extracted, open the "sqldeveloper" file to run SQL Developer.

Connect to a Database

Now you've downloaded and opened SQL Developer, you're ready to connect to a database.

Once you connect to a database, you can run queries and work with data on the database.

First, we need to create the connection.

To do this, click on the green + button on the left of the screen in the left panel.

Enter in the following information:




Connection Name

A name to identify your connection in the application.

Name and database, e.g.



The username used to connect to the database



The password used to connect to this username

Save Password

Whether or not you want to save the password. If you leave this unchecked, you’ll be prompted every time.

Connection Color

The color for this connection.

Red = DBA, Yellow = Test, Green = Development

Connection Type

The type of connection, depending on your database



The role for this connection, also depending on your database



The hostname for the database you’re connecting to



The port that the database runs on



The SID of your database

Depending on your company and database

Service Name

Instead of the SID, you can provide the Service Name

Depending on your company and database

Connecting to the Oracle database is the most common issue I see with people learning Oracle. I get questions about it all the time via email, blog post comments, and on YouTube.

So, if you're getting an error, it's not uncommon. Take a look at this post for some common causes and resolutions:

How to Resolve Oracle Connection Issues

This video demonstrates how to set up a connection in SQL Developer:

Now you've got your connection set up, it's time to start working with the database!

How to Use SQL Developer

Here's the basic interface of SQL Developer:

sql developer main window

Creating a New Tab

To start writing SQL, click on the SQL Worksheet button, indicated by (1) in the image above. This will open a new editor tab. This file can be saved at any point.

You can also create a new SQL file by clicking on the New button on the left of the toolbar, indicated by (2) in the image above. You'll be asked to specify a filename and location for the file to be saved before you enter any SQL.

The keyboard shortcuts for these are:




New File

Ctrl + N

Cmd + N

New SQL Worksheet

Alt + F10

Option + F10

Running Code

SQL code is written in the main editor panel in the middle of the screen.

sql developer editor tab

To run code, you can execute the current statement by clicking the Run Statement button, indicated by the green triangle in the image above (the first button from the left). This will show the output in a table.

Alternatively, you can run all of the code as a script. This will show the output in text form instead of a table. You can do this by clicking Run Script, indicated by the green triangle on the white rectangle (the second button from the left) in the image above.

The keyboard shortcuts for these are:




Run Statement

Ctrl + Enter, or F9

Ctrl + Enter, or F9

Run Script



Working with Data

SQL Developer has many features for working with data. This includes exporting data from a table, importing data, and formatting your results.

The following guides can be used to perform tasks related to data.

Export Data from SQL Developer

You can export data from SQL Developer. This can be done from the query results or the data in a table.

To do that, refer to this guide:

Using the SQL Developer Export Functionality for Data and Query Results

Export Connections

You can export your connections in SQL Developer so they can be used by other team members or if you're moving to a different computer.

The steps are outlined here:

How To Use The SQL Developer Export Connections With Passwords Function

Import Connections

You can import connections that have been exported into SQL Developer.

To do that, follow the steps in the link above.

Customising SQL Developer

SQL Developer allows for a lot of customisation. Here are some guides on how to change SQL Developer to suit how you work.

How To Turn On Line Numbers in SQL Developer

How To Turn On or Off SQL Developer Autocommit Settings

How To Use the SQL Developer Format SQL Options

More to come!

Other SQL Developer Features

There are a range of other features in SQL Developer. Here are some guides on how to use them.

How To Turn On and Use SQL Developer DBMS_OUTPUT

How To Use and Run The SQL Developer Execution Plan

How to Start an SQL Developer Debug Session

In this video, you'll see how to create a new user in SQL Developer on an Oracle database.

SQL Developer Version History

Here's a list of all of the SQL Developer versions over time.

As of July 2017, a new version numbering system was used. This numbering system uses the last two digits of the year as the major version number.

Where release notes are available, they have been added to the table here. Oracle's website doesn't have an easy way to find release notes, and often older release notes pages are deleted, so that's why there is an inconsistency with them here.


Release Date

Release Notes


March 2006


December 2006


August 2007


April 2008


June 2008


December 2008


March 2009


July 2009


December 2009


March 2011


February 2012


August 2012


December 2013


February 2014


May 2014


September 2014


June 2015


October 2015


December 2015


September 2016


April 2017


July 2017


December 2017


April 2018


July 2018


October 2018


January 2019


April 2019


August 2019


December 2019


June 2020