Create Table
Version current

The CREATE TABLE statement creates a table in the catalog.

Examples

-- create a table with two integer columns (i and j)
CREATE TABLE t1(i INTEGER, j INTEGER);
-- create a table with a primary key
CREATE TABLE t1(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, j VARCHAR);
-- create a table with a composite primary key
CREATE TABLE t1(id INTEGER, j VARCHAR, PRIMARY KEY(id, j));
-- create a table with various different types and constraints
CREATE TABLE t1(i INTEGER NOT NULL, decimalnr DOUBLE CHECK(decimalnr<10), date DATE UNIQUE, time TIMESTAMP);
-- create a table from the result of a query
CREATE TABLE t1 AS SELECT 42 AS i, 84 AS j;
-- create a table from a CSV file using AUTO-DETECT (i.e., Automatically detecting column names and types)
CREATE TABLE t1 AS SELECT * FROM read_csv_auto ('path/file.csv');

Temporary Tables

Temporary tables can be created using a CREATE TEMP TABLE statement (see diagram below). Temporary tables are session scoped (similar to Postgres for example), meaning that only the specific connection that created them can access them, and once the connection to DuckDB is closed they will be automatically dropped. Temporary tables reside in memory rather than on disk (even when connecting to a persistent DuckDB), but if the temp_directory configuration is set when connecting or with a SET command, data will be spilled to disk if memory becomes constrained.

-- create a temporary table from a CSV file using AUTO-DETECT (i.e., Automatically detecting column names and types)
CREATE TEMP TABLE t1 AS SELECT * FROM read_csv_auto ('path/file.csv');

-- allow temporary tables to off-load excess memory to disk
SET temp_directory='/path/to/directory/';

Create or Replace

The CREATE OR REPLACE syntax allows a new table to be created or for an existing table to be overwritten by the new table. This is shorthand for dropping the existing table and then creating the new one.

-- create a table with two integer columns (i and j) even if t1 already exists
CREATE OR REPLACE TABLE t1(i INTEGER, j INTEGER);

If Not Exists

The IF NOT EXISTS syntax will only proceed with the creation of the table if it does not already exist. If the table already exists, no action will be taken and the existing table will remain in the database.

-- create a table with two integer columns (i and j) only if t1 does not exist yet. 
CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS t1(i INTEGER, j INTEGER);

Generated Columns

The [type] [GENERATED ALWAYS] AS ( expr ) [VIRTUAL|STORED] syntax will create a generated column. The data in this kind of column is generated from its expression, which can reference other (regular or generated) columns of the table. Since they are produced by calculations, these columns can not be inserted into directly.

DuckDB can infer the type of the generated column based on the expression’s return type. This allows you to leave out the type when declaring a generated column. It is possible to explicitly set a type, but insertions into the referenced columns might fail if the type can not be cast to the type of the generated column.

Generated columns come in two varieties: VIRTUAL and STORED.
The data of virtual generated columns is not stored on disk, instead it is computed from the expression every time the column is referenced (through a select statement).

The data of stored generated columns is stored on disk and is computed every time the data of their dependencies change (through an insert/update/drop statement).

Currently only the VIRTUAL kind is supported, and it is also the default option if the last field is left blank.

-- The simplest syntax for a generated column. 
-- The type is derived from the expression, and the variant defaults to VIRTUAL
CREATE TABLE t1(x FLOAT, two_x AS (2 * x))

-- Fully specifying the same generated column for completeness
CREATE TABLE t1(x FLOAT, two_x FLOAT GENERATED ALWAYS AS (2 * x) VIRTUAL)

Syntax