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Python API


The DuckDB Python API can be installed using pip: pip install duckdb. Please see the installation page for details. It is also possible to install DuckDB using conda: conda install python-duckdb -c conda-forge.

Python version: DuckDB requires Python 3.7 or newer.

Basic API Usage

The most straight-forward manner of running SQL queries using DuckDB is using the duckdb.sql command.

import duckdb
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").show()

This will run queries using an in-memory database that is stored globally inside the Python module. The result of the query is returned as a Relation. A relation is a symbolic representation of the query. The query is not executed until the result is fetched or requested to be printed to the screen.

Relations can be referenced in subsequent queries by storing them inside variables, and using them as tables. This way queries can be constructed incrementally.

import duckdb
r1 = duckdb.sql("SELECT 42 AS i")
duckdb.sql("SELECT i * 2 AS k FROM r1").show()

Data Input

DuckDB can ingest data from a wide variety of formats – both on-disk and in-memory. See the data ingestion page for more information.

import duckdb
duckdb.read_csv("example.csv")                # read a CSV file into a Relation
duckdb.read_parquet("example.parquet")        # read a Parquet file into a Relation
duckdb.read_json("example.json")              # read a JSON file into a Relation

duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM 'example.csv'")     # directly query a CSV file
duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM 'example.parquet'") # directly query a Parquet file
duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM 'example.json'")    # directly query a JSON file


DuckDB can also directly query Pandas DataFrames, Polars DataFrames and Arrow tables.

import duckdb

# directly query a Pandas DataFrame
import pandas as pd
pandas_df = pd.DataFrame({"a": [42]})
duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM pandas_df")

# directly query a Polars DataFrame
import polars as pl
polars_df = pl.DataFrame({"a": [42]})
duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM polars_df")

# directly query a pyarrow table
import pyarrow as pa
arrow_table = pa.Table.from_pydict({"a": [42]})
duckdb.sql("SELECT * FROM arrow_table")

Result Conversion

DuckDB supports converting query results efficiently to a variety of formats. See the result conversion page for more information.

import duckdb
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").fetchall()   # Python objects
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").df()         # Pandas DataFrame
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").pl()         # Polars DataFrame
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").arrow()      # Arrow Table
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").fetchnumpy() # NumPy Arrays

Writing Data to Disk

DuckDB supports writing Relation objects directly to disk in a variety of formats. The COPY statement can be used to write data to disk using SQL as an alternative.

import duckdb
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").write_parquet("out.parquet") # Write to a Parquet file
duckdb.sql("SELECT 42").write_csv("out.csv")         # Write to a CSV file
duckdb.sql("COPY (SELECT 42) TO 'out.parquet'")      # Copy to a Parquet file

Using an In-Memory Database

When using DuckDB through duckdb.sql(), it operates on an in-memory database, i.e., no tables are persisted on disk. Invoking the duckdb.connect() method without arguments returns a connection, which also uses an in-memory database:

import duckdb

con = duckdb.connect()
con.sql("SELECT 42 AS x").show()

Persistent Storage

The duckdb.connect(dbname) creates a connection to a persistent database. Any data written to that connection will be persisted, and can be reloaded by re-connecting to the same file, both from Python and from other DuckDB clients.

import duckdb

# create a connection to a file called 'file.db'
con = duckdb.connect("file.db")
# create a table and load data into it
con.sql("CREATE TABLE test (i INTEGER)")
con.sql("INSERT INTO test VALUES (42)")
# query the table
# explicitly close the connection
# Note: connections also closed implicitly when they go out of scope

You can also use a context manager to ensure that the connection is closed:

import duckdb

with duckdb.connect("file.db") as con:
    con.sql("CREATE TABLE test (i INTEGER)")
    con.sql("INSERT INTO test VALUES (42)")
    # the context manager closes the connection automatically

Connection Object and Module

The connection object and the duckdb module can be used interchangeably – they support the same methods. The only difference is that when using the duckdb module a global in-memory database is used.

Note that if you are developing a package designed for others to use, and use DuckDB in the package, it is recommend that you create connection objects instead of using the methods on the duckdb module. That is because the duckdb module uses a shared global database – which can cause hard to debug issues if used from within multiple different packages.

Using Connections in Parallel Python Programs

The DuckDBPyConnection object is not thread-safe. If you would like to write to the same database from multiple threads, create a cursor for each thread with the DuckDBPyConnection.cursor() method.

Loading and Installing Extensions

DuckDB’s Python API provides functions for installing and loading extensions, which perform the equivalent operations to running the INSTALL and LOAD SQL commands, respectively. An example that installs and loads the spatial extension looks like follows:

import duckdb

con = duckdb.connect()

To load unsigned extensions, add the config = {"allow_unsigned_extensions": "true"} argument to the duckdb.connect() method.

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Last modified: 2024-03-02