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bcp Utility

SQL Server 2000

  Topic last updated -- July 2003

The bcp utility copies data between an instance of Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 and a data file in a user-specified format.

Syntax

bcp {[[database_name.][owner].]{table_name | view_name} | "query"}
    {in | out | queryout | format} data_file
    [-m max_errors] [-f format_file] [-e err_file]
    [-F first_row] [-L last_row] [-b batch_size]
    [-n] [-c] [-w] [-N] [-V (60 | 65 | 70)] [-6]
    [-q] [-C code_page] [-t field_term] [-r row_term]
    [-i input_file] [-o output_file] [-a packet_size]
    [-S server_name[\instance_name]] [-U login_id] [-P password]
    [-T] [-v] [-R] [-k] [-E] [-h "hint [,...n]"]

Arguments

database_name

Is the name of the database in which the specified table or view resides. If not specified, this is the default database for the user.

Owner

Is the name of the owner of the table or view. owner is optional if the user performing the bulk copy operation owns the specified table or view. If owner is not specified and the user performing the bulk copy operation does not own the specified table or view, Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 returns an error message, and the bulk copy operation is canceled.

table_name

Is the name of the destination table when copying data into SQL Server (in), and the source table when copying data from SQL Server (out).

view_name

Is the name of the destination view when copying data into SQL Server (in), and the source view when copying data from SQL Server (out). Only views in which all columns refer to the same table can be used as destination views. For more information on the restrictions for copying data into views, see INSERT.

Query

Is a Transact-SQL query that returns a result set. If the query returns multiple result sets, such as a SELECT statement that specifies a COMPUTE clause, only the first result set is copied to the data file; subsequent result sets are ignored. Use double quotation marks around the query and single quotation marks around anything embedded in the query. queryout must also be specified when bulk copying data from a query.

in | out | queryout | format

Specifies the direction of the bulk copy. in copies from a file into the database table or view. out copies from the database table or view to a file. queryout must be specified only when bulk copying data from a query. format creates a format file based on the option specified (-n, -c, -w, -6, or -N) and the table or view delimiters. If format is used, the -f option must be specified as well.

Note  The bcp utility included with Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 does not support bulk copying into tables that contain the sql_variant or bigint data types.

data_file

Is the full path of the data file used when bulk copying a table or view to or from a disk. When bulk copying data into SQL Server, the data file contains the data to be copied into the specified table or view. When bulk copying data from SQL Server, the data file contains the data copied from the table or view. The path can have from 1 through 255 characters.

-m max_errors

Specifies the maximum number of syntax errors and compilation errors that can occur before the bulk copy operation is canceled. Each row that cannot be copied by bcp is ignored and counted as one error. If this option is not included, the default is 10.

Note  The max_errors option does not apply to constraint checks (or to converting money and bigint data types).

-f format_file

Specifies the full path of the format file that contains stored responses from a previous use of bcp on the same table or view. Use this option when using a format file created with the format option to bulk copy data in or out. Creation of the format file is optional. After prompting you with format questions, bcp prompts whether to save the answers in a format file. The default file name is Bcp.fmt. bcp can refer to a format file when bulk copying data; therefore, reentering previous format responses interactively is not necessary. If this option is not used and -n, -c, -w, -6, or -N is not specified, bcp prompts for format information.

-e err_file

Specifies the full path of an error file used to store any rows bcp is unable to transfer from the file to the database. Error messages from bcp go to the user's workstation. If this option is not used, an error file is not created.

-F first_row

Specifies the number of the first row to bulk copy. The default is 1, indicating the first row in the specified data file.

-L last_row

Specifies the number of the last row to bulk copy. The default is 0, indicating the last row in the specified data file.

-b batch_size

Specifies the number of rows per batch of data copied. Each batch is copied to the server as one transaction. SQL Server commits or rolls back, in the case of failure, the transaction for every batch. By default, all data in the specified data file is copied in one batch. Do not use in conjunction with the -h "ROWS_PER_BATCH = bb" option.

-n

Performs the bulk copy operation using the native (database) data types of the data. This option does not prompt for each field; it uses the native values.

-c

Performs the bulk copy operation using a character data type. This option does not prompt for each field; it uses char as the storage type, no prefixes, \t (tab character) as the field separator, and \n (newline character) as the row terminator.

-w

Performs the bulk copy operation using Unicode characters. This option does not prompt for each field; it uses nchar as the storage type, no prefixes, \t (tab character) as the field separator, and \n (newline character) as the row terminator. Cannot be used with SQL Server version 6.5 or earlier.

-N

Performs the bulk copy operation using the native (database) data types of the data for noncharacter data, and Unicode characters for character data. This option offers a higher performance alternative to the -w option, and is intended for transferring data from one SQL Server to another using a data file. It does not prompt for each field. Use this option when you are transferring data that contains ANSI extended characters and you want to take advantage of the performance of native mode. -N cannot be used with SQL Server 6.5 or earlier.

-V (60 | 65 | 70)

Performs the bulk copy operation using data types from an earlier version of SQL Server. Use this option in conjunction with character (-c) or native (-n) format. This option does not prompt for each field; it uses the default values. For example, to bulk copy date formats supported by the bcp utility provided with SQL Server 6.5 (but no longer supported by ODBC) into SQL Server 2000, use the -V 65 parameter.

Important  When bulk copying data from SQL Server into a data file, the bcp utility does not generate SQL Server 6.0 or SQL Server 6.5 date formats for any datetime or smalldatetime data, even if -V is specified. Dates are always written in ODBC format. Additionally, null values in bit columns are written as the value 0 because SQL Server versions 6.5 and earlier do not support nullable bit data.

-6

Performs the bulk copy operation using SQL Server 6.0 or SQL Server 6.5 data types. Supported for backward compatibility only. Use the -V option instead.

-q

Executes the SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIERS ON statement in the connection between the bcp utility and an instance of SQL Server. Use this option to specify a database, owner, table, or view name that contains a space or a quotation mark. Enclose the entire three-part table or view name in double quotation marks (" ").

-C code_page

Supported for backward compatibility only. Instead, specify a collation name for each column in the format file or in interactive bcp.

Specifies the code page of the data in the data file. code_page is relevant only if the data contains char, varchar, or text columns with character values greater than 127 or less than 32.

Code page value Description
ACP ANSI/Microsoft Windows® (ISO 1252).
OEM Default code page used by the client. This is the default code page used by bcp if -C is not specified.
RAW No conversion from one code page to another occurs. This is the fastest option because no conversion occurs.
<value> Specific code page number, for example, 850.

-t field_term

Specifies the field terminator. The default is \t (tab character). Use this parameter to override the default field terminator.

-r row_term

Specifies the row terminator. The default is \n (newline character). Use this parameter to override the default row terminator.

-i input_file

Specifies the name of a response file, containing the responses to the command prompt questions for each field when performing a bulk copy using interactive mode (-n, -c, -w, -6, or -N not specified).

-o output_file

Specifies the name of a file that receives output from bcp redirected from the command prompt.

-a packet_size

Specifies the number of bytes, per network packet, sent to and from the server. A server configuration option can be set by using SQL Server Enterprise Manager (or the sp_configure system stored procedure). However, the server configuration option can be overridden on an individual basis by using this option. packet_size can be from 4096 to 65535 bytes; the default is 4096.

Increased packet size can enhance performance of bulk copy operations. If a larger packet is requested but cannot be granted, the default is used. The performance statistics generated by bcp show the packet size used.

-S server_name[\instance_name]

Specifies the instance of SQL Server to connect to. Specify server_name to connect to the default instance of SQL Server on that server. Specify server_name\instance_name to connect to a named instance of SQL Server 2000 on that server. If no server is specified, bcp connects to the default instance of SQL Server on the local computer. This option is required when executing bcp from a remote computer on the network.

-U login_id

Specifies the login ID used to connect to SQL Server.

Security Note  When possible, use the -T option (trusted connection).

-P password

Specifies the password for the login ID. If this option is not used, bcp prompts for a password. If this option is used at the end of the command prompt without a password, bcp uses the default password (NULL).

Security Note  NULL passwords are not recommended.

Security Note  To mask your password, do not specify the -P option along with the -U option. Instead, after specifying bcp along with the -U option and other switches (do not specify -P), press ENTER, and bcp will prompt you for a password. This method ensures that your password will be masked when it is entered.

-T

Specifies that bcp connects to SQL Server with a trusted connection, using the security credentials of the network user. login_id and password are not required.

-v

Reports the bcp utility version number and copyright.

-R

Specifies that currency, date, and time data is bulk copied into SQL Server using the regional format defined for the locale setting of the client computer. By default, regional settings are ignored.

-k

Specifies that empty columns should retain a null value during the bulk copy operation, rather than have any default values for the columns inserted.

-E

Specifies that the values for an identity column are present in the file being imported. If -E is not given, the identity values for this column in the data file being imported are ignored, and SQL Server 2000 automatically assigns unique values based on the seed and increment values specified during table creation. If the data file does not contain values for the identity column in the table or view, use a format file to specify that the identity column in the table or view should be skipped when importing data; SQL Server 2000 automatically assigns unique values for the column. For more information, see DBCC CHECKIDENT.

-h "hint [,...n]"

Specifies the hint(s) to be used during a bulk copy of data into a table or view. This option cannot be used when bulk copying data into SQL Server 6.x or earlier.

Hint Description
ORDER (column [ASC | DESC] [,...n]) Sort order of the data in the data file. Bulk copy performance is improved if the data being loaded is sorted according to the clustered index on the table. If the data file is sorted in a different order, or there is no clustered index on the table, the ORDER hint is ignored. The names of the columns supplied must be valid columns in the destination table. By default, bcp assumes the data file is unordered.
ROWS_PER_BATCH = bb Number of rows of data per batch (as bb). Used when -b is not specified, resulting in the entire data file being sent to the server as a single transaction. The server optimizes the bulk load according to the value bb. By default, ROWS_PER_BATCH is unknown.
KILOBYTES_PER_BATCH = cc Approximate number of kilobytes (KB) of data per batch (as cc). By default, KILOBYTES_PER_BATCH is unknown.
TABLOCK A table-level lock is acquired for the duration of the bulk copy operation. This hint significantly improves performance because holding a lock only for the duration of the bulk copy operation reduces lock contention on the table. A table can be loaded concurrently by multiple clients if the table has no indexes and TABLOCK is specified. By default, locking behavior is determined by the table option table lock on bulk load.
CHECK_CONSTRAINTS Any constraints on the destination table are checked during the bulk copy operation. By default, constraints are ignored. Note that the max_errors option does not apply to constraint checking.
FIRE_TRIGGERS Specified with the in argument, any insert triggers defined on the destination table will execute during the bulk copy operation. If FIRE_TRIGGERS is not specified, no insert triggers will execute. FIRE_TRIGGERS is ignored for the out, queryout, and format arguments.

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