Sql-server – the best way to auto-generate INSERT statements for a SQL Server table


We are writing a new application, and while testing, we will need a bunch of dummy data. I've added that data by using MS Access to dump excel files into the relevant tables.

Every so often, we want to "refresh" the relevant tables, which means dropping them all, re-creating them, and running a saved MS Access append query.

The first part (dropping & re-creating) is an easy sql script, but the last part makes me cringe. I want a single setup script that has a bunch of INSERTs to regenerate the dummy data.

I have the data in the tables now. What is the best way to automatically generate a big list of INSERT statements from that dataset?

The only way I can think of doing it is to save the table to an excel sheet and then write an excel formula to create an INSERT for every row, which is surely not the best way.

I'm using the 2008 Management Studio to connect to a SQL Server 2005 database.

Best Solution

Microsoft should advertise this functionality of SSMS 2008. The feature you are looking for is built into the Generate Script utility, but the functionality is turned off by default and must be enabled when scripting a table.

This is a quick run through to generate the INSERT statements for all of the data in your table, using no scripts or add-ins to SQL Management Studio 2008:

  1. Right-click on the database and go to Tasks > Generate Scripts.
  2. Select the tables (or objects) that you want to generate the script against.
  3. Go to Set scripting options tab and click on the Advanced button.
  4. In the General category, go to Type of data to script
  5. There are 3 options: Schema Only, Data Only, and Schema and Data. Select the appropriate option and click on OK. SqlDataOptions

You will then get the CREATE TABLE statement and all of the INSERT statements for the data straight out of SSMS.