I need to be able to do this via command line in one step:

lab-1:/etc/scripts# sqlite3 test.db
SQLite version 2015-05-20 18:17:19
Enter ".help" for usage hints.
sqlite> .mode csv ;
sqlite> .import /tmp/test.csv users
sqlite> select * from users;
sqlite> .quit

I've tried the following:

 lab-1:/etc/scripts# sqlite3 test.db ".mode csv ; .import /tmp/deleteme.csv users"


 lab-1:/etc/scripts# sqlite3 test.db ".mode csv .import /tmp/deleteme.csv users"

I don't get errors but I also don't end up with any data in the users table.

Any tips would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


SQLite meta commands are not terminated by ; but by newline. Therefore, you will have to provide the commands in some other way so that newlines are inserted in the correct places.

Here's a few examples, of which I would probably use the first one (because it's readable).

  1. Use a here-document:

    sqlite3 testdb <<END_COMMANDS
    .mode csv
    .import /tmp/deleteme.csv users
  2. Format the commands with printf:

    printf '.mode csv\n.import /tmp/deleteme.csv users\n' | sqlite3 test.db
  3. Use a here-string with C-escapes (in shells that supports it):

    sqlite3 test.db <<<$'.mode csv\n.import /tmp/deleteme.csv users\n'

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