You can use the COPY TO statement to export table data to a file.

Table of contents


COPY table_ident [ PARTITION ( partition_column = value [ , ... ] ) ]
                 [ ( column [ , ...] ) ]
                 [ WHERE condition ]
                 TO DIRECTORY output_uri
                 [ WITH ( copy_parameter [= value] [, ... ] ) ]


The COPY TO command exports the contents of a table to one or more files into a given directory with unique filenames. Each node with at least one shard of the table will export its contents onto their local disk.

The created files are JSON formatted and contain one table row per line and, due to the distributed nature of CrateDB, will remain on the same nodes where the shards are.

Here’s an example:

cr> COPY quotes TO DIRECTORY '/tmp/' with (compression='gzip');
COPY OK, 3 rows affected ...


Currently only user tables can be exported. System tables like sys.nodes and blob tables don’t work with the COPY TO statement.

The COPY statements use Overload Protection to ensure other queries can still perform. Please change these settings during large inserts if needed.



The name (optionally schema-qualified) of the table to be exported.


(optional) A list of column expressions that should be exported. E.g.

cr> COPY quotes (quote, author) TO DIRECTORY '/tmp/';
COPY OK, 3 rows affected ...


When declaring columns, this changes the output to JSON list format, which is currently not supported by the COPY FROM statement.



If the table is partitioned, the optional PARTITION clause can be used to export data from a one partition exclusively.

[ PARTITION ( partition_column = value [ , ... ] ) ]

One of the column names used for table partitioning.


The respective column value.

All partition columns (specified by the PARTITIONED BY clause) must be listed inside the parentheses along with their respective values using the partition_column = value syntax (separated by commas).

Because each partition corresponds to a unique set of partition column row values, this clause uniquely identifies a single partition to export.


The SHOW CREATE TABLE statement will show you the complete list of partition columns specified by the PARTITIONED BY clause.


The exported data doesn’t contain the partition columns or the corresponding values because they are not part of the partitioned tables.

If COPY TO is used on a partitioned table without the PARTITION clause, the partition columns and values will be included in the rows of the exported files. If a partition column is a generated column, it will not be included even if the PARTITION clause is missing.


The WHERE clauses use the same syntax as SELECT statements, allowing partial exports. (see WHERE clause for more information).

Example of using WHERE clause with comparison operators for partial export:

cr> COPY quotes WHERE category = 'philosophy' TO DIRECTORY '/tmp/';
COPY OK, 3 rows affected ...


The TO clause allows you to specify an output location.

TO DIRECTORY output_uri



An expression must evaluate to a string literal that is a well-formed URI. URIs must use one of the supported URI schemes.


If the URI scheme is missing, CrateDB assumes the value is a pathname and will prepend the file URI scheme (i.e., file://). So, for example, CrateDB will convert /tmp/file.json to file:///tmp/file.json.

URI schemes

CrateDB supports the following URI schemes:


You can use the file:// scheme to specify an absolute path to an output location on the local file system.

For example:



If you are running CrateDB inside a container, the location must be inside the container. If you are using Docker, you may have to configure a Docker volume to accomplish this.


If you are using Microsoft Windows, you must include the drive letter in the file URI.

For example:


Consult the Windows documentation for more information.


You can use the s3:// scheme to access buckets on the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

For example:


S3 compatible storage providers can be specified by the optional pair of host and port, which defaults to Amazon S3 if not provided.

Here is a more concrete example:

COPY t TO DIRECTORY 's3://' with (protocol = 'http')

If no credentials are set the s3 client will operate in anonymous mode. See AWS Java Documentation.


A secretkey provided by Amazon Web Services can contain characters such as ‘/’, ‘+’ or ‘=’. These characters must be URL encoded. For a detailed explanation read the official AWS documentation.

To escape a secret key, you can use a snippet like this:

sh$ python -c "from getpass import getpass; from urllib.parse import quote_plus; print(quote_plus(getpass('secret_key: ')))"

This will prompt for the secret key and print the encoded variant.

Additionally, versions prior to 0.51.x use HTTP for connections to S3. Since 0.51.x these connections are using the HTTPS protocol. Please make sure you update your firewall rules to allow outgoing connections on port 443.


You can use the optional WITH clause to specify copy parameter values.

[ WITH ( copy_parameter [= value] [, ... ] ) ]

The WITH clause supports the following copy parameters:


Define if and how the exported data should be compressed.

By default the output is not compressed.

Possible values for the compression setting are:


Use gzip to compress the data output.


Used for s3 scheme only. It is set to HTTPS by default.


Optional parameter to override default output behavior.

Possible values for the format settings are:


Each row in the result set is serialized as JSON object and written to an output file where one line contains one object. This is the default behavior if no columns are defined. Use this format to import with COPY FROM.


Each row in the result set is serialized as JSON array, storing one array per line in an output file. This is the default behavior if columns are defined.


A boolean value indicating if the COPY TO should wait for the copy operation to complete. If set to false the request returns at once and the copy operation runs in the background. Defaults to true.