Your company here — click to reach over 10,000 unique daily visitors

freebcp - Man Page

bulk loading utility for Sybase and Microsoft databases


freebcp[[⟨database⟩.]⟨owner⟩.]⟨object_name⟩ {in | [query]out} datafile {-c | -n | -f formatfile} [-S servername] [-D dbname] [-U username] [-P password] [-b batchsize] [-F firstrow] [-L lastrow] [-e errfile] [-I interfaces] [-m maxerror] [-t field_term] [-r row_term] [-h hints] [-T textsize] [-A packet_size] [-O options] [-i inputfile] [-o outputfile] [-C charset] [-EdVv]


freebcp is a utility program distributed with FreeTDS. freebcp replicates (in part at least) the functionality of the bcp utility programs distributed by Sybase and Microsoft. freebcp makes use of the DB-Library bcp API provided by FreeTDS. This API is also available to application developers.

The manual pages or online help for Sybase or SQL Server can be referenced for more detailed information on bcp functionality.

Tables and Files


The name of the database containing object to be copied. Optional if the table/view is in the default database for username.


The schema of the object being copied. If not provided, the default schema for username is used.


The name of the database object you wish to access, typically a table. It can also be a view. All views can be read; some can be written, subject to constraints. With queryout, object can also be an SQL query.


Copy data from a host file to a database table.


Copy data from a database table to a host file.


indicates that table_name is in fact SQL, rather than a database object. freebcp will execute the query and write the results to a file. (It is a good idea to have the query return one and only one result set.)


The name of an operating system file.


-A packet_size

Set the size of a TDS packet to packet_size. Not sure why you would want to do this, except as an experiment.

-D dbname

The name of the default database to use. Overrides default database associated with the login account. Causes freebcp to issue a USE dbname command immediately after logging in, before commencing BCP operations.


Write the data in datafile to the table's IDENTITY column. Without this flag, the identity data present in the datafile will be ignored, and new IDENTITY values will be generated for the imported rows.

-F firstrow

The first row to copy from the input file or database table. The default is the first row, row 1.

-I interfaces

The name and location of the interfaces file to search when connecting to servername. Overrides freetds.conf.

-L lastrow

The last row to copy from an input file or database table. The default is the last row.

-O options

SQL text to set connection options prior to the bcp operation. If options is a valid filename, the SQL is read from the file instead. Sometimes needed for queryout. Example: -O `SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON'.

-P password

The password associated with username.

-S servername

The name of the Database Server to which to connect.

-T textsize

For text or image columns, set the maximum number of characters to request from the server. Defaults to the setting in freetds.conf. If not specified anywhere, defaults to the full size of the data.

-U username

A database login name. For TDS 7+ connections, a domain login is attempted if username is not provided.

-b batchsize

The number of rows per batch of data copied. Batching applies only when you are bulk copying into the database. Each batch of data is effectively “committed” into the database. The default value for batchsize is 1000.


The host data file is (or will be) in "character" format, i.e., a text file. Encoding is determined by the client charset attribute in freetds.conf.


Turn off any logging. (Unintuitive, perhaps.)

-e errfile

Write errors to errfile. For uploads. Includes line and column information, and the row data.

-f formatfile

The format of the host data file is described by formatfile. The layout of formatfile is identical to that understood by the Sybase and Microsoft bcp utilities, but is too complicated to describe here.

-h hints

Set bcp hints. For valid values, cf. bcp_options() in the FreeTDS Reference Manual.

-m maxerror

Stop after encountering maxerror errors. Default 10.


The host data file is in “native” format. This is a format that freebcp will be able to process, but is not portable or readable.

-r row_term

The row terminator for a character file. May be more than one character. Default is newline ('\n'). Cf. -c, above.

-t field_term

The field terminator for character file. Also known as a column delimiter. May be more than one character. Default is tab ('\t'). Cf. -c, above.


Print the version information and exit.

-i inputfile

Read input data from file specified.

-o outputfile

Write output data to file specified.

-C charset

Specify character set to use to talk to server.


DSQUERY default servername


When connecting to a Sybase database server, it is required that the TDS 5.0 protocol be used. When connecting to a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database server, the TDS 7 (or later) protocol is required.

Sybase and Microsoft define different versions of the bcp portion of TDS 4.2. Because FreeTDS has no way of knowing which type of server it's connected to, freebcp does not support version 4.2 of the TDS protocol.


freebcp first appeared in FreeTDS 0.60


The freebcp utility was written by Bill Thompson ⟨thompbil@exchange.uk.ml.com⟩


Currently, there is no support for text data types in freebcp, when SQL Server 2000 is the target server.

Referenced By


March 25, 2015