Posts Tagged ‘Data Insert’

Importing Data into SQL

Posted: September 30, 2012 in SQL Server
Tags: , , ,

If you need to import data from a file, this can be achieved by using SQL Bulk Insert command. Recently I did use this method to import some 500 000 data from few comma separated value (CSV) files and thought to share it with you. What you need to remember is, if you are importing data from more than one file the data should have the same format through out the files.

This is a sample set of data I imported into my table from the file named File1.csv.


U0001,Roman Silva,1/10/2010 17:23,100,TRUE

U0002,Anthony Don,28/09/2010 10:01,70,TRUE

U0003,Saman Perera,16/09/2010 11:31,90,TRUE

U0004,Silvia Raz,26/09/2010 22:11,40,FALSE

U0005,Rebecca Maine,18/09/2010 11:30,100,TRUE

I used the following script to create a temporary table for my imported data.

  2. GO
  5. GO
  7. CREATE TABLE [dbo].[TABLENAME_ImportedData](
  8.     [LoginId] [NVARCHAR](50) NOT NULL,
  9.     [Name] [NVARCHAR](200) NULL,
  10.     [Date] [DATETIME] NULL,
  11.     [Result] [INT] NULL,
  12.     [Pass] [NVARCHAR](8) NULL
  13. ) ON [PRIMARY]
  15. GO

To fetch data from the file I used the following script.

  2. FROM 'D:\DataFiles\File1.csv'
  3. WITH (
  4.          FIELDTERMINATOR =',', — Since my columns are seperated using commas (,).
  5.          ROWTERMINATOR ='\n',  — Since each data row is in its own line.
  6.          FIRSTROW = 2          — Since my first row is having column names. Please note FIRSTROW is not recommended to skip the column names.
  7.       )

While running the script I faced an issue with the date since my server was set to US English as the default language. In US English the dates should be in MDY format. So I had 3 choices, either to change the date formats on my data files, change the server default language to another language which has its date format as DMY or change the date format of the server. I used the easy way to change the date format of the server by running the following command.


If you like to change SQL server default language and need help please read my article on that.


When the need comes to port tables from one server / database to another server / database there is an easy way than creating the tables manually and importing data into table.

By using the following query you can import the table structure and the data of the required table.

  1. SELECT *
  2. INTO [DestinationServerName\SQLServerInstanceName].[DestinationDatabaseName].[OwnerName].[DestinationTableName]
  3. FROM [SourceServerName\SQLServerInstanceName].[SourceDatabaseName].[OwnerName].[SourceTableName]

Using the above method you can transfer tables between different databases, Server instances or different database servers.

Consider the following example in which I am transferring the Customers table from Northwind database to my Test database.

  1. SELECT *
  2. INTO [Test].[dbo].[Customers]
  3. FROM [Northwind].[dbo].[Customers]

Here SELECT statement will behave the same way as in a normal SELECT * FROM TableName statement meaning you can use all the techniques used in SELECT statements to filter the data needed to be ported. For example following query will only bring customers who are from UK.

  1. SELECT *
  2. INTO [Test].[dbo].[Customers]
  3. FROM [Northwind].[dbo].[Customers]
  4. WHERE Country = 'UK'

One thing to remember is, this method will not import the keys, meaning if you had a primary key set to CustomerId it will not exist in your new table. So you need to add the keys (primary and secondary) to the new table to match it with the source table. If you had identity specification turned on in your source table this will set it for you, so you do not need to set it again.