Sourcetable Integration

Export ClickHouse to CSV

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    Welcome to our comprehensive guide on exporting ClickHouse data to CSV files, a valuable practice for those looking to leverage the flexibility and familiarity of spreadsheets for data manipulation. ClickHouse is a high-performance column-oriented database management system that excels at online analytical processing (OLAP) tasks. By exporting data from ClickHouse to CSV, you can take advantage of the ease of data handling that spreadsheets offer, making it simpler to analyze large datasets, create reports, and share insights. On this page, we'll explore what ClickHouse is, delve into the steps for exporting data to a CSV file, discuss the various use cases for such exports, present an alternative to CSV exports for ClickHouse using Sourcetable, and provide a helpful Q&A section about exporting ClickHouse to CSV.

    What is ClickHouse?

    ClickHouse is a column-oriented SQL database management system (DBMS) geared towards online analytical processing (OLAP). Designed to store data by columns rather than rows, ClickHouse optimizes for queries that process large volumes of data, achieving speeds at least 100 times faster than traditional row-oriented DBMSs. It utilizes vectorized query execution and executes arrays of data whenever possible, maximizing system resource usage to deliver quick analytical query results.

    As a server, ClickHouse employs multiple thread pools to handle various types of jobs, which helps in reducing the overhead associated with frequent thread creation and destruction. Its concurrency control feature allows for the limitation of concurrent threads, ensuring efficient resource management. ClickHouse is built upon POCO C++ Libraries and uses XML or YAML files for configuration, reflecting a design that supports full backward and forward compatibility for the server TCP protocol.

    From a software perspective, ClickHouse is available both as open-source software and as a cloud service, making it accessible for different deployment scenarios. Despite its high performance, ClickHouse has limited support for runtime code generation, and its IColumn interface, which represents columns in memory, does not fully satisfy all relational transformation requirements. Nevertheless, ClickHouse is a powerful database solution for processing and analyzing large data sets swiftly and efficiently.

    Exporting Data to CSV in ClickHouse

    Using the INTO OUTFILE Clause

    To export data to a CSV file in ClickHouse, you can utilize the INTO OUTFILE clause. When you specify the filename with a .csv extension, ClickHouse recognizes the desired output format and compression based on that file extension. However, if the system cannot determine the format from the file extension, it will default to the TabSeparated format. To ensure that the data is exported in CSV format, you can explicitly specify the format using the FORMAT clause.

    Specifying the FORMAT Clause

    If you want to override the default behavior or if there is any ambiguity in the format determination, you can use the FORMAT clause to specify that you wish to export the data in CSV format. This clause is a clear indication to ClickHouse of the desired output format, thus preventing any default behavior that might lead to unwanted formats.

    Using the File Table Engine

    An alternative method for exporting data to a CSV file is to use the File table engine, which allows the storage of data directly in a file. While the File table engine is convenient for exporting data and creating files on the file system, it is not as optimized for performance as the MergeTree table engine. Nevertheless, it is particularly useful for exporting data since it provides a straightforward way to manage data in various file formats, including CSV.

    Sourcetable Integration

    Streamline Your Workflow with Sourcetable for ClickHouse Data

    Instead of the multi-step process to export your ClickHouse data to a CSV file and then import it into a spreadsheet, Sourcetable offers a seamless integration that brings live data directly to you. With Sourcetable, you can sync your ClickHouse data in real-time, ensuring that you're always working with the most up-to-date information without the hassle of manual exports.

    Sourcetable's powerful platform simplifies your workflow by automating data import from ClickHouse. This not only saves valuable time but also reduces the risk of errors associated with manual data transfer. The intuitive spreadsheet interface of Sourcetable allows you to query and manipulate your data with ease, making it an indispensable tool for automation and business intelligence tasks.

    Common Use Cases

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      Sourcetable Integration
      Use case 1: Exporting large datasets to CSV for data sharing with external systems that require CSV format.
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      Use case 2: Creating backups of ClickHouse tables in CSV format for archival purposes.
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      Sourcetable Integration
      Use case 3: Exporting query results with headers to CSV for generating reports that can be easily opened and analyzed in spreadsheet software.
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      Sourcetable Integration
      Use case 4: Exporting tables to CSV with custom delimiters to meet the specific data exchange protocols of third-party applications.
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      Use case 5: Exporting data directly to compressed CSV formats to save disk space and facilitate faster data transfers.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I export data from ClickHouse to a CSV file?

    Use the INTO OUTFILE clause to export data to a CSV file. ClickHouse will determine the output format and compression from the file extension.

    What happens if ClickHouse cannot determine the output format from the file extension?

    If ClickHouse cannot determine the format from the file extension, it defaults to the TabSeparated format.

    Can I specify a different format when exporting data from ClickHouse?

    Yes, you can use the FORMAT clause to specify the output format explicitly.

    What is the File table engine in ClickHouse?

    The File table engine is an option in ClickHouse for using a file to store data, allowing queries and inserts directly on the file.

    Are File tables the same as MergeTree tables in ClickHouse?

    No, File tables are not MergeTree tables and do not have all the benefits of MergeTree tables.


    ClickHouse provides the flexibility to export data to CSV files using the INTO OUTFILE clause, with the ability to specify the desired output format using the FORMAT clause. While the default output format is TabSeparated, users can force the export to be in CSV format by explicitly stating FORMAT CSV. Additionally, the File table engine presents an alternative method for data export, allowing storage and querying of data directly from files in a variety of formats. However, if you're looking to streamline the process of analyzing ClickHouse data directly within a spreadsheet, consider bypassing the CSV export altogether. Sign up for Sourcetable to import data directly into your spreadsheets, enhancing your data manipulation and analysis workflow.

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