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I have a varbinary(max) column that I need to bulk import. The data I'm putting into this column is a byte[] in C#. How do I format the data in the comma-delimited file used for bulk import? In other words, how do I convert from a byte[] to a string in a way the bcp utility will accept?

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Did one of these answers work for you please? –  gbn Aug 27 '11 at 12:46
Can you add sample data please? My answer won't work for me.. :) –  gbn May 17 '13 at 6:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A varbinary value is of the form 0x01020304 for SQL Server to read.

So your CSV would be


Edit May 2013,

After testing, I can't get this to work with BULK INSERT with or without a format file.

I will post something more when I get it working. I can't delete this answer

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Have you used this successfully? On my end, I got "type mismatch" errors until I dropped the hex prefix. "0102" was OK, "0x0101" was not. Perhaps there is a setting somewhere which specifies which method is required. –  Jon of All Trades May 15 '13 at 23:48
@JonofAllTrades: hmm I can't get it to work. Playing with format files but that is not working either –  gbn May 16 '13 at 7:05
Which one? If "0x00" is what works for you, then it seems some setting differs between our setups. If "00" is what works for you, and "0x00" does not, then we're both seeing the same thing, and it might make sense to edit your answer. –  Jon of All Trades May 16 '13 at 19:49

You can use the BCP unicode native format to import/export. Use bcp -n for the export and the WITH (DATAFILETYPE='widenative') clause for import. Click link to read more.

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