This is initialquoteout.fmt: The only difference to initalquote.fmt is that the sixth property in the field description reads 1-2-3-4-5 and not 0-1-2-3-4. This is a typical example when the notion differs between the human mindset and the mindset of the bulk-load tools. The example is a CHECK constraint, but the same applies to foreign keys. When you use the FORMAT option, the default for the FIELDTERMINATOR option changes to comma (,). The NUL character is interpreted as the empty string, so there is consistency. I wanted to get that char, which was an Empty string in the database, to export as an empty string into the text file. And because BCP is a command-line tool of that era, it assumes that when no collation is specified that the data is in the OEM code page. You will probably have to work with your Windows administrator to resolve such problems. This was repeated with beta and column B. SELECT * FROM OPENROWSET(BULK...) statement provides the same basic behavior as regular INSERT but additionally supports a table hint for inserting the default values. As long as your file format can be described by a format file, the bulk-load tools can serve you well. And there is nothing that says that this field has a terminator at all; as far as the bulk-load tools are concerned, it could just as well be fixed-length or have a prefix length. Books Online suggests a situation when specifying the type is useful also with BULK INSERT. As reminder, this is formatdemo.txt: As you can see, both dates violate the constraint. In any case, BCP is able to load datatypes.txt into the datatypes table with either format file, or for that matter no format file at all. Sometimes you have a file with a header you don't want to include. This was our table for testing fixed length: And then we have a different data file, fixedlength4.txt: The difference to the previous file is that the second field, the one with the number, is now 12 positions wide, and the third field is now 20 positions wide. The second property is the data type in the source file, not in the table. For OPENROWSET we need the format file empty.fmt: In difference to BCP and BULK INSERT, the default values for columns b and d are not inserted, but we get NULL here. Using Table-Valued Parameters in SQL Sever and .NET, Error and Transaction Handling in SQL Server, Packaging Permissions in Stored Procedures, Built-in Support for CSV Files in SQL Server vNext. By default, the bulk-load operation is a single transaction. And the SELECT shows that it understands to exclude the BOM from the data. As a workaround, Books Online suggests to define a view and bulk-load into that view. In this article we have looked at how the bulk-load tools work. And there is no line break at all in the file. In this case FIRSTROW = 2 will not do, because the tools read field by field, and they have no understanding of what is a header. Truncate the unicodetest table, and then run this: Then look at the data with the query we used above: a         b         c         d, ----------- --------- --------- --------- ---------, 6           ï»¿ä¸­å±±      Î¬Î»Ï†Î±      ÐšÐ¸Ñ—в      Latin, 4           ä¸­å±±       Î¬Î»Ï†Î±      ÐšÐ¸Ñ—в      Latin. The int column is twelve positions in the file. Here are some example commands for loading UTF‑8 files, one with BOM and one without. Without a BOM, applications need to be told the encoding explicitly or use heuristics. What is obvious to a human is not obvious to the bulk-load tools and their binary mindset. But you need to understand that these tools are binary to their heart, and they have no built-in rule that says that each line a file is a record – they don't even think in lines. Or at least not files where the fields have a fixed length in number of characters, because as we have seen, the bulk-load tools count in bytes. That is, by default BCP and BULK INSERT do not fire them, while OPENROWSET(BULK) does. We will now explore how we can use format files when exporting data with BCP, which is the only bulk-load tool to permit that operation. For more information about creating format files, see Create a Format File (SQL Server). As long as the first field in the file is not to be quoted, the same format file can be used for both import and export. This is consistent with how space is converted to date/time in general, but it is inconsistent with how space is handled by bulk-load in general. If you use OPENROWSET(BULK), this check is performed by default, so you don't need this option. ), a         b         c         d. Troms°    Tromsø    Tromsr    Troms? The output is binary identical to initialquote2.txt. (If there is data in the table that violate the constraint, the operation fails, not surprisingly.). The other option I like to mention is ‑R which instructs BCP to respect the regional settings on the computer. If you have a wide table with many columns, you may sigh at the thought of authoring a format file. Then comes a chapter about "advanced" options, including how to load explicit values into an IDENTITY column. They have no notion of optional delimiters. Only in the last chapter, I will discuss XML format files. In a text file, an empty string is interpreted as NULL when you bulk in data. There are two types of format files: old-style format files and the newer XML format files. Now it is the time to look at loading Unicode data. That is, for data types where there is no reasonable conversion of an empty string, the nullability in the format file serves as an assertion. Except where otherwise noted, the examples in this article run on all versions from SQL 2005 and up, although I have mainly tested on SQL 2008 and SQL 2016. If you attempt to import data into such a table, you need to specify ‑q, or else you will get an error, as by default, BCP connects with QUOTED_IDENTIFIER OFF. The only way they can register that they have reached the end of the record is by reading the last field. As far as Windows and SQL Server is concerned, UTF‑8 is just another multi-byte character set and not Unicode, and UTF‑8 files are handled as other 8-bit files. That is, BCP flatly ignores it, while BULK INSERT and OPENROWSET(BULK) raise an error if the length is exceeded.

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