Sql-server – SQL Server Bulk insert of CSV file with inconsistent quotes


Is it possible to BULK INSERT (SQL Server) a CSV file in which the fields are only OCCASSIONALLY surrounded by quotes? Specifically, quotes only surround those fields that contain a ",".

In other words, I have data that looks like this (the first row contain headers):

id, company, rep, employees
729216,INGRAM MICRO INC.,"Stuart, Becky",523
729235,"GREAT PLAINS ENERGY, INC.","Nelson, Beena",114
721177,GEORGE WESTON BAKERIES INC,"Hogan, Meg",253

Because the quotes aren't consistent, I can't use '","' as a delimiter, and I don't know how to create a format file that accounts for this.

I tried using ',' as a delimter and loading it into a temporary table where every column is a varchar, then using some kludgy processing to strip out the quotes, but that doesn't work either, because the fields that contain ',' are split into multiple columns.

Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to manipulate the CSV file beforehand.

Is this hopeless?

Many thanks in advance for any advice.

By the way, i saw this post SQL bulk import from csv, but in that case, EVERY field was consistently wrapped in quotes. So, in that case, he could use ',' as a delimiter, then strip out the quotes afterwards.

Best Solution

It isn't possible to do a bulk insert for this file, from MSDN:

To be usable as a data file for bulk import, a CSV file must comply with the following restrictions:

  • Data fields never contain the field terminator.
  • Either none or all of the values in a data field are enclosed in quotation marks ("").


Some simple text processing should be all that's required to get the file ready for import. Alternatively your users could be required to either format the file according to the se guidelines or use something other than a comma as a delimiter (e.g |)