How to Import CSV File into MySQL Table in 4 Different Ways

October 7, 2021

Prathamesh Thakar

In this article, we shall have a glance at four different ways of importing csv files into the MySQL tables. All of them have different methodologies to import the .csv files into the MySQL tables. The users can choose any one of them based upon their feasibility and familiarity with using these methods. One of these methods will make your lives much simpler by automatically importing the csv files without human intervention as per the schedule.

Table Of Contents

  1. How to Import CSV Files to MySQL Tables
  2. Importing CSV into MySQL Using Command Line
  3. Importing CSV into MySQL Using Workbench
  4. Importing CSV Using phpMyAdmin
  5. Importing CSV into MySQL Automatically
  6. Summary

How to Import CSV Files to MySQL Tables

Importing csv into MySQL or other relational databases has been an integral part of data maintenance for many organizations as most tools allow exporting the data into .csv format. Different departments in an organization make use of different import tools to maintain the data. Some organizations also make use of php scripts to import the csv files into the MySQL database. Exporting the data into csv files and importing them in MySQL allows the organizations to store the organizational-level data in one place. For example, the ERP system of each store can maintain information related to the store. Each of the stores can export their data into a csv file and import the csv files in MySQL that can act as a consolidated database. The organization can use this consolidated data to make informed and data-driven decisions. The organizations also use visualization tools that connect with different databases. Importing the csv files into MySQL will help the organization in analyzing the data using these visualization tools.

Importing CSV into MySQL Using Command Line

This method will allow us to import csv file to mysql command line interface of the MySQL database. It is most suitable for the database developers as accessing and using the DB is their forte and they will feel familiar with using the MySQL command-line interface. We can also import the large csv files into the table using this methodology. We can import the data into the MySQL table as follows:

  1. Accessing the MySQL CLI (command-line interface). Once MySQL is installed on the machine, we can access its terminal by entering the below command. It will prompt you for a password and you will gain access to the database upon successful authentication.

    mysql -u my_user_name -p
  2. Creating a table in the database. To store the data, we first need to create a table in the database that corresponds to the data in the csv file. This step requires a bit more attention as the order of the columns in the table should exactly match the order in the csv. This needs to be performed as when creating a table, we specify the type of data that should be stored in the columns. Incorrect table creation will lead to failure in importing the csv through the MySQL command line.

    use new_schema;
    
    CREATE TABLE employee_details (
    id INTEGER,
    employee_name VARCHAR(100),
    employee_age INTEGER,
    PRIMARY KEY (id)
    );
  3. Importing the CSV file into a table. Once the table has been created, we can import table with the contents of the csv files. We can either mention the file path or store the file in the default directory of the MySQL server.

    LOAD DATA INFILE 'Path to the exported csv file'
    INTO TABLE employee_details
    FIELDS TERMINATED BY ','
    IGNORE 1 ROWS;

    Upon the completion of these steps, the data will be successfully imported into the table. To check the sample contents of the table, we can use the below query. Remember to use the LIMIT keyword as it will only show a limited number of records and would not impact the system if the table is very huge.

    SELECT *
    FROM employee_details
    LIMIT 10;

    MySQL console

Importing CSV into MySQL Using Workbench

This method will instruct you on how to import csv file in MySQL workbench. MySQL Workbench is a graphical user interface provided by MySQL to manage the database, write the SQL queries, etc. It provides a wizard that allows us to export or import the data in a csv or json format. If you want to import an excel sheet into a table through MySQL workbench or a standard text file, make sure that the data is in .csv format for a successful import. The methodology is pretty straightforward as we need to open the wizard and complete the steps as mentioned in the wizard. Before proceeding with the instructions, make sure both MySQL and MySQL Workbench have been installed on your machine.

  1. Opening the Import wizard in MySQL workbench. To open the Import wizard, draw your attention to the navigator panel that is usually on the left-hand side of MySQL workbench. The navigator panel includes a schemas section that enlists all of the databases and tables. Right-click on any of the tables and you shall see two different options for choosing the wizard, one for exporting the data and another for importing the data. Choose the latter to open the import wizard.

    MySQL Workbench - opening Import Wizard

  2. Selecting the source of data. After opening the import wizard, it will ask you for the path of the csv file. You can either explicitly mention it or use the browse option to assist you through it.

    Selecting a file in MySQL Workbench Import Wizard

  3. Selecting/creating a table. After selecting the file, it will provide two options, to import the data in an existing table or create a new one. If selecting an existing table, then select one of the tables where you want to import the data. For importing csv into a new table, mention the name of the table.

    Creating a table in MySQL Workbench Import Wizard

  4. Filling in the advanced settings. The wizard will provide the options to fill in additional details like the line separator, field separator, encoding, etc. Make sure the value of the encoding field in the wizard matches the encoding of the csv file. It will also mention the list of columns that the wizard has detected from the csv. You can select the field type of each of the columns. Clicking on Next will start the importing process and the csv file will be imported into MySQL.

    Configuring import settings

    MySQL Workbench import wizard results

Importing CSV Using phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is an open-source tool that is used for the administration of the MySQL and MariaDB databases. Along with the administration of the databases, it also allows us to import csv to MySQL phpadmin. By default, it allows importing csv files sized up to 2MB into MySQL. But with some configuration changes, it can be used for importing large files into MySQL.

  1. Selecting/creating a table. After launching phpMyAdmin, the users will be able to see the list of databases and tables in the left panel of the GUI. Select the table or use the New option to create a new table for importing the csv file. While creating a new table, we need to mention the columns and their data types that correspond to the columns in the file. You can also create the table and database while importing the csv file.

  2. Selecting Import menu. After selecting the table, several options will be displayed at the top of your screen. Select the import menu to import the file in the selected table.

  3. Browsing to the file and selecting format. Use the 'Choose file' button to browse to the csv file. Select the encoding of the file that is usually UTF-8. In the Format list, select CSV.

    Selecting a file in phpMyAdmin

  4. Changing format-specific options. If the csv file is delimited by a character other than a comma or if there are other specifications to the csv files, we can change it in this portion. Click Go to start importing the csv file and the data will be successfully imported into MySQL.

    Format options in phpMyAdmin

    Import Results in phpMyAdmin

Importing CSV into MySQL Automatically

The above three methods are the most popular methods to import CSV into MySQL. But these methods lack automation and thus require human efforts to complete the importing. This can be a very tedious task as we are dealing with a huge volume of datasets and on a daily basis. Scheduled imports are very essential in such scenarios.

Skyvia offers an automated service to import the csv files to MySQL without any human intervention on a scheduled basis.

Skyvia Import is a wizard-based ETL tool that will automatically import csv into MySQL without writing any code. You can connect with the cloud servers and import the data or can import a locally saved csv file. It also offers additional features like importing data from one source to another, transferring data between the cloud applications and databases, performing joining of the related tables, performing the transformation on the datasets, importing only those records that match certain criteria, and much more. The process for importing the data is very easy as it provides several connectors that connect with the data sources and perform operations on them. We also get notified with emails when a certain task is completed and can monitor the tasks with detailed logging.

Summary

This article demonstrated four different ways to import a csv file into MySQL. While all these methods suffice the requirements for importing a csv file into MySQL, Skyvia Import provides many more features than the first three methods. Comment your preferred method amongst the four listed above and feel free to add any more tools that can help in importing the csv files into MySQL.

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