Load data from CSV into Azure SQL Database or SQL Managed Instance (flat files)

APPLIES TO: Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance

You can use the bcp command-line utility to import data from a CSV file into Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Managed Instance.

Before you begin


To complete the steps in this article, you need:

  • A database in Azure SQL Database
  • The bcp command-line utility installed
  • The sqlcmd command-line utility installed

You can download the bcp and sqlcmd utilities from the Microsoft sqlcmd Documentation.

Data in ASCII or UTF-16 format

If you are trying this tutorial with your own data, your data needs to use the ASCII or UTF-16 encoding since bcp does not support UTF-8.

1. Create a destination table

Define a table in SQL Database as the destination table. The columns in the table must correspond to the data in each row of your data file.

To create a table, open a command prompt and use sqlcmd.exe to run the following command:

sqlcmd.exe -S <server name> -d <database name> -U <username> -P <password> -I -Q "
        DateId INT NOT NULL,
        CalendarQuarter TINYINT NOT NULL,
        FiscalQuarter TINYINT NOT NULL

2. Create a source data file

Open Notepad and copy the following lines of data into a new text file and then save this file to your local temp directory, C:\Temp\DimDate2.txt. This data is in ASCII format.


(Optional) To export your own data from a SQL Server database, open a command prompt and run the following command. Replace TableName, ServerName, DatabaseName, Username, and Password with your own information.

bcp <TableName> out C:\Temp\DimDate2_export.txt -S <ServerName> -d <DatabaseName> -U <Username> -P <Password> -q -c -t ,

3. Load the data

To load the data, open a command prompt and run the following command, replacing the values for Server Name, Database name, Username, and Password with your own information.

bcp DimDate2 in C:\Temp\DimDate2.txt -S <ServerName> -d <DatabaseName> -U <Username> -P <password> -q -c -t  ,

Use this command to verify the data was loaded properly

sqlcmd.exe -S <server name> -d <database name> -U <username> -P <password> -I -Q "SELECT * FROM DimDate2 ORDER BY 1;"

The results should look like this:

DateId CalendarQuarter FiscalQuarter
20150101 1 3
20150201 1 3
20150301 1 3
20150401 2 4
20150501 2 4
20150601 2 4
20150701 3 1
20150801 3 1
20150801 3 1
20151001 4 2
20151101 4 2
20151201 4 2

Next steps

To migrate a SQL Server database, see SQL Server database migration.