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Snowflake COPY INTO Command:
What You NEED to Know

Written by Dylan Powell on December 21, 2023


In the realm of cloud data warehousing, efficiently managing and loading large datasets is crucial. The Snowflake COPY INTO command is a cornerstone feature for such tasks, offering robust capabilities in data ingestion. This blog post delves into the nuances of the Snowflake COPY INTO command, its benefits, and practical applications.

Key Features of Snowflake COPY INTO Command

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Snowflake COPY INTO Command

1. Basic Syntax

The basic structure specifies the target Snowflake table and the data source.

    --- Basic syntax for a COPY INTO Command
    COPY INTO <table_name>
    FROM { internalStage | externalStage | externalLocation }
    [ FILE_FORMAT = <format_type> ];

2. Loading Data from Different Sources

The command allows loading from internal stages, external stages, and direct cloud storage paths like Amazon S3.

    --- Internal Stage
    COPY INTO my_table FROM @my_internal_stage;
    --- External Stage
    COPY INTO my_table FROM @my_external_stage;
    --- Direct Cloud Storage Paths (e.g., Amazon S3)
    COPY INTO my_table FROM 's3://mybucket/mydata';

3. Data Transformation

COPY INTO also enables selecting specific columns from the file for the Snowflake table.

    --- Select specific columns from a staged file
    COPY INTO my_table FROM 
    (SELECT $1, $2 FROM @my_stage/file.csv);

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What is copy into in Snowflake?

A1: In Snowflake, the COPY INTO command is used to load data from a file stage (like an S3 bucket, Azure Blob storage, or Google Cloud Storage) into a Snowflake table. It’s a powerful command for bulk data loading, allowing for efficient transfer of large datasets into Snowflake tables.

Q2: What is the difference between copy into and put in Snowflake?

A2: The COPY INTO command in Snowflake is used for loading data from a staging area to a Snowflake table. In contrast, the PUT command is used to upload files from a local file system to a Snowflake staging area. Essentially, PUT is for uploading data to Snowflake, while COPY INTO is for inserting the data into a Snowflake table.

Q3: What is the difference between copy into and Snowpipe in Snowflake?

A3: COPY INTO is a command executed manually (or via automation scripts) to load data into Snowflake tables. Snowpipe, on the other hand, is Snowflake’s continuous data loading service. It automates the ingestion process, detecting and loading data as soon as it arrives in a stage. While COPY INTO is ideal for batch loading, Snowpipe is suited for near-real-time data loading, offering a more automated and seamless approach.

Q4: How do I copy a file from Snowflake to local?

A4: To copy a file from Snowflake to your local system, you typically use the GET command after the data is staged. First, use COPY INTO to stage the data, and then use GET to download the staged files to your local system. It’s important to note that direct data download from Snowflake tables to a local file system is not supported; the data must first be staged.

Q5: What file formats are supported by the COPY INTO command?

A5: The COPY INTO command in Snowflake supports various file formats, including CSV, JSON, AVRO, ORC, PARQUET, and XML. It also offers options for file compression, making it adaptable for diverse data requirements.

Q6: Can I load data from cloud storage directly using COPY INTO?

A6: Yes, Snowflake’s COPY INTO command supports direct data loading from cloud storage solutions like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, and Microsoft Azure.

Q7: Is it possible to transform data while loading in Snowflake?

A7: Yes, Snowflake allows data transformation during the loading process with COPY INTO. You can transform the data by specifying a SELECT query within the COPY INTO command, enabling you to manipulate and restructure the data as it is loaded.

Q8: How does the COPY INTO command handle errors during data loading in Snowflake?

A8: In Snowflake, the COPY INTO command provides options like CONTINUE, SKIP_FILE, and ABORT_STATEMENT to handle errors during data loading. These options allow you to specify how Snowflake should proceed in case of errors, such as skipping problematic files or aborting the operation.

Q9: Can I specify a specific pattern of files to load in Snowflake?

A9: Yes, when using COPY INTO in Snowflake, you can use the PATTERN option to specify a regex pattern. This allows you to selectively load files that match a particular naming convention or structure.


The Snowflake COPY INTO command is an indispensable tool in the Snowflake environment for data loading. Its flexibility in handling different data sources and formats makes it a powerful feature for efficient data management. With this guide, users can leverage COPY INTO to enhance their data loading strategies in Snowflake.