Integration Services Paths

A path connects two components in a data flow by connecting the output of one data flow component to the input of another component. A path has a source and a destination. For example, if a path connects an OLE DB source and a Sort transformation, the OLE DB source is the source of the path, and the Sort transformation is the destination of the path. The source is the component where the path starts, and the destination is the component where the path ends.

If you run a package in SSIS Designer, you can view the data in a data flow by attaching data viewers to a path. A data viewer can be configured to display data in a grid. A data viewer is a useful debugging tool. For more information, see Debugging Data Flow.

Configure the path

The SSIS Designer provides the Data Flow Path Editor dialog box for setting path properties, viewing the metadata of the data columns that pass through the path, and configuring data viewers.

The configurable path properties include the name, description, and annotation of the path. You can also configure paths programmatically. For more information, see Connecting Data Flow Components Programmatically.

A path annotation displays the name of the path source or the path name on the design surface of the Data Flow tab in SSIS Designer. Path annotations are similar to the annotations you can add to data flows, control flows, and event handlers. The only difference is that a path annotation is attached to a path, whereas other annotations appear on the Data Flow, Control Flow, and Event Handler tabs of SSIS Designer.

The metadata shows the name, data type, precision, scale, length, code page, and source component of each column in the output of the previous component. The source component is the data flow component that created the column. This may or may not be the first component in the data flow. For example, the Union All and Sort transformations create their own columns, and they are the sources of their output columns. In contrast, a Copy Column transformation can pass through columns without changing them or can create new columns by copying input columns. The Copy Column transformation is the source component only of the new columns.

Set the properties of a path with the Data Flow Path Editor

Paths connect two data flow components. Before you can set path properties, the data flow must contain at least two connected data flow components.

  1. In SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), open the Integration Services project that contains the package you want.

  2. In Solution Explorer, double-click the package to open it.

  3. Click the Data Flow tab, and then double-click a path.

  4. In Data Flow Path Editor, click General. You can then edit the default name of the path and provide a description of the path. You can also modify the PathAnnotation property.

  5. Click OK.

  6. To save the updated package, click Save Selected Items on the File menu.

General Page - Data Flow Path Editor

Use the Data Flow Path Editor dialog box to set path properties, view column metadata, and manage the data viewers attached to the path.

Use the General node of the Data Flow Path Editor dialog box to name and describe the path, and to specify the options for path annotation.


Provide a unique name for the path.

The lineage identifier of the path. This property is read-only.

The string that identifies the path. Automatically generated from the name entered above.

Describe the path.

Specify the type of annotation to use. Choose Never to disable annotations, AsNeeded to enable annotation on demand, SourceName to automatically annotate using the value of the SourceName option, and PathName to automatically annotate using the value of the Name property.

Displays the input that is the end of the path.

Displays the output that is the start of the path.

Metadata Page - Data Flow Path Editor

Use the Metadata page of the Data Flow Path Editor dialog box to view the metadata of the path columns.


Path metadata
Lists column metadata. Click the column headings to sort column data.

Lists the column name.

Data Type
Lists the data type of the column.

Lists the number of digits in a numeric value.

List the number of digits to the right of the decimal point in a numeric value.

Lists the current length of the column.

Code Page
Lists the code page of the column. The value 0 indicates that the column does not use a code page. This occurs when data is in Unicode, or has a numeric, date, or time data type.

Sort Key Position
Lists the sort key position of the column. The value 0 indicates the column is not sorted.


A minus (-) prefix indicates the column is sorted in descending order.

Comparison Flags
Lists the comparison flags that apply to the column.

Source Component
Lists the data flow component that is the source of the column.

Copy to Clipboard
Copy the column metadata to the clipboard. By default, all metadata rows are copied as sorted in the order currently displayed.

Data Viewers Page - Data Flow Path Editor

Use the Data Viewers page of the Data Flow Path Editor dialog box to manage the data viewers that are attached to the path.


Lists the data viewers.

Data Viewer Type
Lists the type of data viewer.

Click to add a data viewer by using the Configure Data Viewer dialog box.

Click to delete the selected data viewer.

Click to configure a selected data viewer by using the Configure Data Viewer dialog box.

Path properties

The data flow objects in the Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services object model have common properties and custom properties at the level of the component, inputs and outputs, and input columns and output columns. Many properties have read-only values that are assigned at run time by the data flow engine.

This topic lists and describes the custom properties of the paths that connect data flow objects.

Custom properties of a path

In the Integration Services object model, a path that connects components in the data flow implements the IDTSPath100 interface.

The following table describes the configurable properties of the paths in a data flow. The data flow engine also assigns values to additional read-only properties that are not listed here.

Property name Data Type Description
PathAnnotation Integer (enumeration) A value that indicates whether an annotation should be displayed with the path on the designer surface. The possible values are AsNeeded, SourceName, PathName, and Never. The default value is AsNeeded.
DestinationName IDTSInput100 The input associated with the path.
SourceName IDTSOutput100 The output associated with the path.