Importing CSV, TAB or other delimited data into your database

The exact steps you take depend highly on the database you are trying to import into. All major databases have easy to use processes for importing directly from CSV files. Most also allow you to use other delimiters such as TAB, PIPE and more.

First thing to know is that you may have trouble if you try to view the data using one of the following types of program...

  • A spread sheet program (Excel, Open Office, Google Docs).
  • A light weight database program (MS Access, Foxpro, SQLite, OpenOffice)
  • A word processor or text editor (notepad, gedit, write)

These types of programs are not designed for large volumes of data. You  might get away with these if you are viewing the sample data but the full data set simply won't work.

You need to import the data into a robust database program. This can be a high grade database ready for commercial use or a medium grade database program that is available for free. Some commercial grade databases have lighter versions that are free and will work for accessing the data. Here are just a few that you can investigate...

  • MySQL – Free and powerful for Linux, Windows and Mac
  • MS SQL Server – Free and Paid versions available for Windows
  • Oracle – Free and Paid versions available for Linux, Windows and Mac
  • IBM DB2 – Free and Paid versions available for Linux and Windows
  • Ingress – Free and Paid versions available for Linux and Windows

Please not that depending on your use, the “free” version of some databases may not be available to you. Please do your research before choosing a database server to fit your needs.

The exact steps you take depend highly on the database you are trying to import into. All major databases have easy to use processes for importing directly from CSV files.

Because databases are always updating, the import process can change over time, we are not going to tell you exactly how to do the import here. Instead we are going to give you some suggestions.

First, it is important to know what database you are importing to. The data files that we provide on this site are far too large to view in a spreadsheet program like Excel or Open Office so you need to import directly into your database. The steps for doing this type of import can easily be found by performing a quick search.

If you are using another database, just search Google, Bing or your favorite search engine. You are sure to find many examples on how to perform the task.

Comments

I am going to say "no" right off hand. I don't think the Chromebook is going to be able to handle the volume of data that we provide. At the time of this comment, we have just under 20 million entries in the database. It is huge!
Are there any databases to use with Chrome? I have a Chromebook.
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