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Working with Format Files

When you bulk import data into a SQL Server table or bulk export data from a table, you can use a format file to store format information for each field in a data file relative to that table. A format file provides a flexible system for writing data files that requires little or no editing to comply with other data formats or to read data files from other software. SQL Server 2005 supports two types of format files: XML formats and non-XML format files.

The topics in this section describe how to create format files. The section also presents examples of format files modified for use in bulk-import operations when the fields in the data file do not correspond exactly to the columns in the table.

Topic Description

Creating a Format File

Contains information about using the bcp utility to create a default format file for a table.

Using a Format File to Bulk Import Data

Contains information about using a format file in bulk-import operations.

Using a Format File to Map Fields to Columns During Bulk Import

Contains information about using format files for several typical bulk-import scenarios in which the fields of the data file have a different number or order than the columns of the table.

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