cbimport csv

Imports CSV data into Couchbase


cbimport csv [--cluster <url>] [--bucket <bucket_name>] [--dataset <path>]
             [--username <username>] [--password <password>] [--generate-key <key_expr>]
             [--limit-rows <num>] [--skip-rows <num>] [--field-separator <char>]
             [--cacert <path>] [--no-ssl-verify] [--threads <num>] [--error-log <path>]
             [--log-file <path>] [--verbose]


Imports CSV and other forms of separated value type data into Couchbase. By default data files should contain comma separated values, but if for example you are importing data that is tab separated you can use the --field-separator flag to specify that tabs are used instead of commas.

The cbimport command also supports custom key-generation for each document in the imported file. Key generation is done with a combination of pre-existing fields in a document and custom generator functions supplied by cbimport. See the KEY GENERATION section below for details about key generators.


Below are a list of required and optional parameters for the cbimport-csv command.


-c,--cluster <url>

The hostname of a node in the cluster to import data into. See the HOST FORMATS section below for details about hostname specification formats.

-u,--username <username>

The username for cluster authentication. The user must have the appropriate privileges to write to the bucket in which data will be loaded to.

-p,--password <password>

The password for cluster authentication. The user must have the appropriate privileges to write to the bucket in which data will be loaded to. Specifying this option without a value will allow the user to type a non-echoed password to stdin.

-b,--bucket <bucket_name>

The name of the bucket to import data into.

-d,--dataset <uri>

The URI of the dataset to be loaded. cbimport supports loading data from a local file or from a URL. When importing data from a local file the path must be prefixed with file://.


-g,--generate-key <key_expr>

Specifies a key expression used for generating a key for each document imported. See the Key Generation section below for more information on specifying key generators.

--field-separator <num>

Specifies the field separator to use when reading the dataset. By default the separator is a comma. To read tab separated files you can specify a tab in this field. Tabs are specified as \t.

--limit-rows <num>

Specifies that the utility should stop loading data after reading a certain amount of rows from the dataset. This option is useful when you have a large dataset and only want to partially load it.

--skip-rows <num>

Specifies that the utility should skip some rows before we start importing data. If this flag is used together with the --limit-rows flag then we will import the number of rows specified by --limit-rows after we ave skipped the rows specified by --skip-rows.


Skips the SSL verification phase. Specifying this flag will allow a connection using SSL encryption, but will not verify the identity of the server you connect to. You are vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack if you use this flag. Either this flag or the --cacert flag must be specified when using an SSL encrypted connection.


By default all values in a CSV files are interpreted as strings. If infer types is set then cbimport will look at each value and decide whether it is a string, integer, or boolean value and put the inferred type into the document.


Some values in a CSV row will not contain any data. By default these values are put into the generated JSON document as an empty string. To omit fields that contain empty values specify this flag.

--cacert <cert_path>

Specifies a CA certificate that will be used to verify the identity of the server being connecting to. Either this flag or the --no-ssl-verify flag must be specified when using an SSL encrypted connection.

-t,--threads <num>

Specifies the number of concurrent clients to use when importing data. Fewer clients means imports will take longer, but there will be less cluster resources used to complete the import. More clients means faster imports, but at the cost of more cluster resource usage. This parameter defaults to 1 if it is not specified and it is recommended that this parameter is not set to be higher than the number of CPUs on the machine where the import is taking place.

-e,--errors-log <path>

Specifies a log file where JSON documents that could not be loaded are written to. A document might not be loaded if a key could not be generated for the document or if the document is not valid JSON. The errors file is written in the "json lines" format (one document per line).

-l,--log-file <path>

Specifies a log file for writing debugging information about cbimport execution.


Specifies that logging should be sent to stdout. If this flag is specified along with the -l/--log-file option then the verbose option is ignored.


When specifying a host for the couchbase-cli command the following formats are expected:

  • couchbase://<addr>

  • <addr>:<port>

  • http://<addr>:<port>

It is recommended to use the couchbase://<addr> format for standard installations. The other two formats allow an option to take a port number which is needed for non-default installations where the admin port has been set up on a port other that 8091.


Key generators are used in order to generate a key for each document loaded. Keys can be generated by using a combination of characters, the values of a given row in a document, and custom generators. Row substitutions are done by wrapping the column name in "%" and custom generators are wrapped in "#". Below is an example of a key generation expression.

Given the CSV dataset:


Key Generator Expression:

--generate-key key::%fname%::#MONO_INCR#

The following keys would be generated:


In the example above we generate a key using the value in each row of the "fname" column and a custom generator. To specify that we want to substitute the value in the "fname" column we put the name of the column "fname" bewteen two percent signs. This is an example of field substitution and it allows the ability to build keys out of data that is already in the dataset.

This example also contains a generator function MONO_INCR which will increment by 1 each time the key generator is called. Since this is the first time this key generator was executed it returns 1. If we executed the key generator again it would return 2 and so on. The starting value of the MONO_INCR generator is 1 by default, but it can be changed by specifying a number in brackets after the MONO_INCR generator name. To start generating monotonically incrementing values starting at 100 for example, the generator MONO_INCR[100] would be specified. The cbimport command current contains a monotonic increment generator (MONO_INCR) and a UUID generator (UUID).

Any text that isn’t wrapped in "%" or "" is static text and will be in the result of all generated keys. If a key needs to contain a "%" or "" in static text then they need to be escaped by providing a double "%" or "" (ex. "%%" or "#").

If a key cannot be generated because the field specified in the key generator is not present in the document then the key will be skipped. To see a list of document that were not imported due to failed key generation users can specify the --errors-log <path> parameter to dump a list of all documents that could not be imported to a file.


In the examples below we will show examples for importing data from the files below.

fname  age
alice  40
barry  36

To import data from /data/people.csv using a key containing the "fname" column and utilizing 4 threads the following command can be run.

$ cbimport csv -c couchbase:// -u Administrator -p password \
 -b default -d file:///data/people.csv -g key::%fname% -t 4

To import data from /data/people.tsv using a key containing the "fname" column and the UUID generator the following command would be run.

$ cbimport csv -c couchbase:// -u Administrator -p password \
 -b default -d file:///data/people.tsv --field-separator $_\t_ \
 -g key::%fname%::#UUID# -t 4

If the dataset in not available on the local machine where the command is run, but is available via an HTTP URL we can still import the data using cbimport. If we assume that the data is located at http://data.org/people.csv then we can import the data with the command below.

$ cbimport csv -c couchbase:// -u Administrator -p password \
 -b default -d http://data.org/people.csv -g key::%fname%::#UUID# -t 4


The cbimport-csv command is used to quickly import data from various files containing CSV, TSV or other separated format data. While importing CSV the cbimport command only utilizes a single reader. As a result importing large dataset may benefit from being paritioned into multiple files and running a separate cbimport process on each file.





Part of the cbimport suite