Types of Attributes in DBMS

Types of Attributes in DBMS

Types of Attributes in DBMS

Types of Attributes in DBMS

Types of Attributes in DBMS


Types of Attributes in DBMS

Types of Attributes in DBMS

DBMS uses a diagram to explain the database’s structure, which is an entity-relationship model (ER model). Entities are described in rectangle shape in the DBMS. Each entity has its own properties and characteristics. Attributes define the additional information of entities in a DBMS.There are many types of attributes in DBMS to describe the properties of entities. Describing the different types of attributes is vital for designing the database to meet the application’s needs.

Furthermore, this blog will explain to you what attributes are, why we use them, what the types of attributes in DBMS, and their applications.

Let’s talk about what the attributes of a DBMS are.

What are the Attributes of DBMS?

In DBMS, there are several types of attributes, attributes mainly define the properties of entities, relationships, and data stored in a database. Entities define or identify any place, object, or thing. It is important to define the attributes of an entity to have an effective database. We can design the database by organizing attributes into tables and columns. An effective database is easy to search, sort, and update.

Let’s discuss the types of attributes.

Types of DBMS

Different types of attributes are-

  • Simple Attributes
  • Composite Attributes
  • Single Valued Attributes
  • Multi-Valued Attributes
  • Derived Attributes
  • Complex Attributes (Rarely used attributes)
  • Key Attributes
  • Stored Attributes

Simple Attributes

They are non-divisible, independent attributes that cannot have further sub-divisions and also cannot be categorized. Another name for it is atomic attributes.

For example, an organization assigns values or unique IDs to students, which cannot be further divided, and the values are only used by the organization.

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Composite Attributes 

Composite attributes can divide themselves into simple attributes. oval shapes are used to represent these attributes. They are defined to manage complex data structures.

For example 

Students, they are simple attributes.

ID, Name, and Address are composite attributes.

Single-Valued Attributes

The attributes that hold only one value of an entity are called single-valued attributes.

For example –

“Date of birth” attribute of a “person”.

Multi-Valued Attributes

These attributes can hold more than one value of an entity.

For example – 

“Phone numbers” attribute of a “contact” entity.

Derived Attributes

These attributes are also called derived attributes because their values are derived from another attribute.

Derived attributes are dependent upon different fields and not directly stored in a database.

The oval shape represents the value of derived attributes.

For example –

‘ID is derived from the ‘student’ attribute.’

Also Read: Which SQL Keyword Is Used To Retrieve A Maximum Value

Complex Attributes (Rarely used Attributes)

These attributes contain both multi-valued and composite attributes. Users rarely utilize complex attributes in DBMS. Representing these attributes involves combining the multi-valued and composite attributes within parentheses “()”, separated by commas , ”. 

For example – 

If someone has many homes and each home has a different phone, then the phone is called complex attributes.

Key Attributes

Key attributes have two types-

Primary key- It is a unique key of every record in the table. It identifies each record in the table.

Foreign key- It is the key that refers to the primary key of another table defining the relationship between tables and maintaining integrity.

Why do we need to Use Attributes?

Attributes are important because they define the properties of entities and the differences between them. Apart from this, there are many reasons to use attributes: 

Data Organization: Attributes define the structure of the data in a database, which helps to have a proper framework to represent the data. 

Uniqueness and Identification: Users use key attributes like primary keys to assign unique identities to records, enabling retrieval for specific needs.

Relationships and Linkages: Attributes like foreign keys establish the relationship between tables in a relational database. These relationships help to link the data and serve complex queries.

Data Retrieval and Querying: Users often utilize attributes to retrieve information from the database. By specifying the attributes that we want to retrieve.

Also Read: What Is A Magic Table In SQL?

Applications of Attributes

Database Design: The role of the attribute is to design the structure of the database and define the properties and functions of entities with their relationship. 

Data Retrieval: When querying a specific database, attributes specify the values of the data of the user’s interest. Users can retrieve, sort, and extract relevant information from the database.

Data Validation: Attributes come with the data types that allow for the validation of input, ensuring that only valid input can be stored in the database. 

Normalization: Attributes are important for the normalization process in a database. By identifying the key attributes and reducing redundancy through normalization.

Relationship Establishment: A foreign key is a key attribute that establishes the relationship between tables by linking the data across a relational database and maintaining data integrity.


  • In conclusion, we discussed the topic of types of attributes in DBMS in brief.
  • They are essential in DBMS as they organize the structure of data in the database.
  • Attributes have various types which we discussed in this blog.
  • It is important to fetch the details of attributes in DBMS whether you are a beginner or not.

Enroll now and take the first step toward a successful career. Click here to join our courses today!


Q1.What are the attributes of DBMS?

Answer- Attributes are the properties and characteristics of entities, data, and relationships that define the structure of a database by specifying the information.

Q2.Why are attributes important in a database?

Answer – Attributes are important because they define the structure of data in the database and perform a crucial role in data retrieving, validation, and maintaining relationships between tables.

Q3.What is the difference between a single-valued and multi-valued attribute?

Answer – Single-valued attributes hold only the single value of an entity and multi-valued attributes hold multiple values of an entity.

Q4.How do foreign keys relate to attributes in a database?

Answer – Foreign keys are an attribute that establishes a relationship between tables.

However, They link the attributes of one table to the primary key of another table. 

Q5.What is a primary key, and why is it important?

Answer – The primary key is a unique identifier of each record in the table. It establishes a relationship between tables in relational databases.

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