Is it possible in SQL Server Management Studio to read a CSV and perform an SQL update per line?



"column1","column2,"column3" "column1","column2,"column3" "column1","column2,"column3" "column1","column2,"column3" "column1","column2,"column3"

I want to run a SQL update based on the data in each line such as

UPDATE [data].[orders] set order_number = $column1, something_else = $column2 where order = $column3

Is this possible to do in SQL Server Management Studio?

  • Look at BULK INSERT and the options there. It's pretty simple actually. – Pimp Juice IT Jul 7 '16 at 14:27
  • Wouldn't you be better off just opening this in Excel (or your chosen spreadsheet provider) and just updating it using filters? Tip: Selecting multiple cells, typing a value and pressing Ctrl+Enter enters the same value in all cells. – wBob Jul 8 '16 at 8:40

You may use BULK INSERT for that:

CREATE TABLE #orders (
  Column1 int,
  Column2 nvarchar(max),  
  Column3 datetimeoffset

FROM 'X:\orders.csv'
  DATAFILETYPE='widechar', -- UTF-16
  KEEPNULLS -- Treat empty fields as NULLs.

If you exported the CSV from SQL Management Studio then some preparations are needed:

  1. The file should be converted to UTF-16.
  2. All NULLs should be replaced with empty strings.

Here is a Powershell script for that:

Get-Content .\orders_raw.csv -Encoding UTF8 | % { $_ -replace "NULL","" } | Out-File ".\orders.csv" 
  • FIELDTERMINATOR is ',' for .csv, otherwise this works great – kztd Oct 7 '20 at 0:35
  • It depends on the culture. In some cultures ',' is the decimal separator, therefore ';' is a safer choice. – Monsignor Oct 7 '20 at 9:28

A simple and easy way to do this would be to import the csv into a table, then manipulate/view. If you'd prefer a graphical method instead of using tsql; right click your database and select Tasks, and then select Import Data.


May be SSMS: How to import (Copy/Paste) data from excel can help (If you don't want to use BULK INSERT or don't have permissions for it).


You can refer to below link for how to read csv file in SQL Server:


Based on that you will be able to work with your csv data as a table and then you can create the update query as required.

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