Just in a situation when i was in need of a guide to help me in getting a Bulk import/export done i was struck as i was not getting one good article that can help me in doing. It was all in bits, hard to get them all in one place and get what i expect. Let me take up this and get it down here, hope this helps for a better understanding.


We had some data in a flat file populated with the and ETL (Informatica) tool and now i have to load the same data to my SQL database table as a bulk load. And to load your data as bulk we have the BCP utility that comes in handy in allowing bulk load from data file to the SQL table and vice verse.

We have both import and export commands in BCP to load data from and to the SQL table. The standard BCP command syntax as follows,

bcp {db_name.schema_name.Table_Name} in/out {File_Path\file_name.txt} -S {server_name} -t ‘field_terminator’ –T

here we have,
-S -> Server Name
-t -> filed terminator (example “/t” for tab delimited, “,” for comma delimited)
in/out -> ‘in’ for import from data file to sql table and ‘out’ for export o data file from the sql table.
-T -> to allow a trusted connection (for non trusted connection we define ‘-U’ user_name and ‘-P’ password)

This is the simple bcp command that can help you load data faster and in an elegant way.

There is one add on feature or a parameter that you can define for the bcp command which can make the load from and to the data file more tightly mapped and Provides a flexible system for writing data files that requires little or no editing to comply with other data formats.

We need to create a format file before loading the data with the bcp command. And the syntax as follows,

bcp {db_name.schema_name.Table_Name} format nul -c -f {Format_File_Path\file_name.fmt} -S {server_name} –T

format nul -f -> to define the path and the format file name to be created (.fmt or .xml file)

We can have both an xml and a non xml format file, here i go with a non xml format file which gives a structure that looks as


Hope this helps in getting the bulk load for your data to and from a data file to the sql table. Learn and share 🙂

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