In Oracle 11g R1, Oracle introduced a couple of good enhancements in the form of invisible indexes and virtual columns. Taking the legacy forward, invisible column concepts has been introduced in Oracle 12c R1. I still remember, in the previous releases, to hide important data –columns from being displayed in the generic queries– we used to create a view hiding the required information or apply some sort of security conditions.
In 12c R1, you can now have an invisible column in a table. When a column is defined as invisible, the column won’t appear in generic queries, unless the column is explicitly referred to in the SQL statement or condition, or DESCRIBED in the table definition. It is pretty easy to add or modify a column to be invisible and vice versa:
SQL> CREATE TABLE emp (eno number(6), ename name varchar2(40), sal number(9) INVISIBLE);
SQL> ALTER TABLE emp MODIFY (sal visible);
You must explicitly refer to the invisible column name with the INSERT statement to insert the database into invisible columns. A virtual column or partition column can be defined as invisible too. However, temporary tables, external tables and cluster tables won’t support invisible columns.