Bulk insert with text qualifier from a text or csv file into sql server can be achieved by using a format file, in format file we can define the sequence of columns in source file (txt or csv file), data type, length, destination table column, version and number of columns, we will see everything in detail with different examples
Suppose we have to import following file to our database
productid,"product","manufacturers" 1001,"TV","Sony, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba" 1002,"Watch","HMT, Titan, Sonata" 1003,"Computer","Dell, HCL, Sony, HP"
As we can see manufacturers column have comma separated manufacturer names, so lets create a table to hold these data say products
CREATE TABLE [Products]( [productId] INT NOT NULL, [product] [varchar](50) NULL, [manufacturers] [varchar](200) NULL )
Now time to create a format file, we can manually create it in notepad but luckily we already have a utility so why cannot we use this. Open command prompt and type following lines
// If Database supports windows wuthentication bcp dbname.schema.Products format -c -t -f d:\test.fmt -T // For Sql Authentication use id and password with -U and -P in place of -T bcp dbname.schema.Products format -c -t -f d:\test.fmt -Uusername -Ppassword
Open your D folder, you will see file test.fmt, open it in notepad, it will look something like this
10.0 3 1 SQLCHAR 0 12 "" 1 productId "" 2 SQLCHAR 0 50 "" 2 product SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS 3 SQLCHAR 0 200 "\r\n" 3 manufacturers SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
Let's analyze this format file
To know more about bcp Utility read this
Now we know everything about the format file structure so let's modify it according to our CSV/TXT data file
","Sony, LG, Panasonic......
I used scape sequence for " in format file, so put all above highlighted values as delimiter in our format file so it will become to this
10.0 3 1 SQLCHAR 0 12 ",\"" 1 productId "" 2 SQLCHAR 0 50 "\",\"" 2 product SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS 3 SQLCHAR 0 200 "\"\r\n" 3 manufacturers SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
We are all set, so time to write code to insert data into database
BULK INSERT [Products] FROM 'D:\Ali\products.csv' WITH ( FIRSTROW = 2, FORMATFILE='D:\Ali\test.fmt' );
Note: I used FIRSTROW = 2 because first row is column heading in our CSV file, to see more detail first row and other bulk insert settings my other post Bulk insert into SQL Server from CSV file by skipping first row
It's complete, so let's see another example with different text qualifier in csv file
productid,~product"~,~manufacturers~ 1001,~TV~,~Sony, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba~ 1002,~Watch~,~HMT, Titan, Sonata~ 1003,~Computer~,~Dell, HCL, Sony, HP~
In this file we used ~ to indicate the string values, so our format file will be
10.0 3 1 SQLCHAR 0 12 ",~" 1 productId "" 2 SQLCHAR 0 50 "~,~" 2 product SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS 3 SQLCHAR 0 200 "~\r\n" 3 manufacturers SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
Isn't it quite easy, we don't need any scape sequence as we see earlier. and the best thins that we don't want to do any change in our sql statement.
Having 13+ years of experience in Microsoft Technologies (C#, ASP.Net, MVC and SQL Server). Worked with Metaoption LLC, for more than 9 years and still with the same company. Always ready to learn new technologies and tricks.
|By Ali Adravi On 10 Jun, 13 Viewed: 20,168|
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