dbWriteTable {DBI}R Documentation

Copy data frames to database tables


Writes, overwrites or appends a data frame to a database table, optionally converting row names to a column and specifying SQL data types for fields.


dbWriteTable(conn, name, value, ...)



A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().


The table name, passed on to dbQuoteIdentifier(). Options are:

  • a character string with the unquoted DBMS table name, e.g. "table_name",

  • a call to Id() with components to the fully qualified table name, e.g. Id(schema = "my_schema", table = "table_name")

  • a call to SQL() with the quoted and fully qualified table name given verbatim, e.g. SQL('"my_schema"."table_name"')


A data.frame (or coercible to data.frame).


Other parameters passed on to methods.


This function expects a data frame. Use dbWriteTableArrow() to write an Arrow object.

This function is useful if you want to create and load a table at the same time. Use dbAppendTable() or dbAppendTableArrow() for appending data to an existing table, dbCreateTable() or dbCreateTableArrow() for creating a table, and dbExistsTable() and dbRemoveTable() for overwriting tables.

DBI only standardizes writing data frames with dbWriteTable(). Some backends might implement methods that can consume CSV files or other data formats. For details, see the documentation for the individual methods.


dbWriteTable() returns TRUE, invisibly.

Failure modes

If the table exists, and both append and overwrite arguments are unset, or append = TRUE and the data frame with the new data has different column names, an error is raised; the remote table remains unchanged.

An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection. An error is also raised if name cannot be processed with dbQuoteIdentifier() or if this results in a non-scalar. Invalid values for the additional arguments row.names, overwrite, append, field.types, and temporary (non-scalars, unsupported data types, NA, incompatible values, duplicate or missing names, incompatible columns) also raise an error.

Additional arguments

The following arguments are not part of the dbWriteTable() generic (to improve compatibility across backends) but are part of the DBI specification:

They must be provided as named arguments. See the "Specification" and "Value" sections for details on their usage.


The name argument is processed as follows, to support databases that allow non-syntactic names for their objects:

The value argument must be a data frame with a subset of the columns of the existing table if append = TRUE. The order of the columns does not matter with append = TRUE.

If the overwrite argument is TRUE, an existing table of the same name will be overwritten. This argument doesn't change behavior if the table does not exist yet.

If the append argument is TRUE, the rows in an existing table are preserved, and the new data are appended. If the table doesn't exist yet, it is created.

If the temporary argument is TRUE, the table is not available in a second connection and is gone after reconnecting. Not all backends support this argument. A regular, non-temporary table is visible in a second connection, in a pre-existing connection, and after reconnecting to the database.

SQL keywords can be used freely in table names, column names, and data. Quotes, commas, spaces, and other special characters such as newlines and tabs, can also be used in the data, and, if the database supports non-syntactic identifiers, also for table names and column names.

The following data types must be supported at least, and be read identically with dbReadTable():

Mixing column types in the same table is supported.

The field.types argument must be a named character vector with at most one entry for each column. It indicates the SQL data type to be used for a new column. If a column is missed from field.types, the type is inferred from the input data with dbDataType().

The interpretation of rownames depends on the row.names argument, see sqlRownamesToColumn() for details:

The default is row.names = FALSE.

See Also

Other DBIConnection generics: DBIConnection-class, dbAppendTable(), dbAppendTableArrow(), dbCreateTable(), dbCreateTableArrow(), dbDataType(), dbDisconnect(), dbExecute(), dbExistsTable(), dbGetException(), dbGetInfo(), dbGetQuery(), dbGetQueryArrow(), dbIsReadOnly(), dbIsValid(), dbListFields(), dbListObjects(), dbListResults(), dbListTables(), dbQuoteIdentifier(), dbReadTable(), dbReadTableArrow(), dbRemoveTable(), dbSendQuery(), dbSendQueryArrow(), dbSendStatement(), dbUnquoteIdentifier(), dbWriteTableArrow()


con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:5, ])
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[6:10, ], append = TRUE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:10, ], overwrite = TRUE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

# No row names
dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:10, ], overwrite = TRUE, row.names = FALSE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

[Package DBI version 1.2.3 Index]