SQL Server BulkCopy with C# using System.Data.SqlClient (Part 2)

Last week, we got an introduction to Efficient Data Transfer with SQL Server BulkCopy and C# using System.Data.SqlClient. If you haven’t read that yet, check it out here. There, we looked at how we can pump large amounts of data into a SQL Server database in an efficient manner by using BulkCopy. As an example, we made some dummy data in a DataTable and passed that construct off to the System.Data.SqlClient library to transfer that data into SQL Server. Today, we’ll look at a common, related use case in this space — having to parse large text-based files (TSV, CSV, etc.) and input that data into tables in SQL Server.

Enter LumenWorksCsvReader

You can of course write some C# code to open your CSV/TSV/TXT data files manually, read through the text contents and parse those out and covert the data into a type that implements IDataReader for sending them to System.Data.SqlClient for a BulkCopy but all that drudgery is already taken care of by LumenWorksCsvReader, a library built just for that.

You can install LumenWorksCsvReader through NuGet:

dotnet add package LumenWorksCsvReader 

This library gives you access to a CsvReader class which is a type that implements IDataReader, a compatible data type for the System.Data.SqlClient’s BulkCopy method. An example of the basic usage is shown below.

Example Code

using (var csv = new CsvReader(new StreamReader(File.Open("yourData.csv", FileMode.Open,
 FileAccess.Read, FileShare.ReadWrite)), true))

    // Specify the columns that are in your CSV file
    csv.Columns = new List<Column>
        new Column { Name = "EmployeeId", Type = typeof(string), },
        new Column { Name = "FirstName", Type = typeof(string) },
        new Column { Name = "LastName", Type = typeof(string) },
        new Column { Name = "FavoriteColor", Type = typeof(string) },

    // Now use SQL Bulk Copy to move the data
    using SqlConnection con = new(sqlServerConnectionString);
    using var sbc = new SqlBulkCopy(con, SqlBulkCopyOptions.UseInternalTransaction, null);
    sbc.DestinationTableName = "Employees";
    sbc.BatchSize = 1000;
    sbc.EnableStreaming = true;
    sbc.BulkCopyTimeout = 0;

    // Add mappings to correlate your CSV columns to your database table colum 
    sbc.AddColumnMapping("EmployeeId", "EmployeeId");
    sbc.AddColumnMapping("FirstName", "FirstName");
    sbc.AddColumnMapping("LastName", "LastName");
    sbc.AddColumnMapping("FavoriteColor", "FavoriteColor");

    // Can create an event handler to get updates on the progress of the data transer
    // Can be useful for handling very large files with lots of rows
    sbc.NotifyAfter = 1000;
    sbc.SqlRowsCopied += new SqlRowsCopiedEventHandler(SqlRowsCopiedNotifier.OnSqlRowsCopied);
    await sbc.WriteToServerAsync(csv);

    // When done, close out the connection
    if (con.State == ConnectionState.Open)

In the example above, we are specifying the columns that exist in the CSV file; open a connection to SQL Server; specify settings for the bulk transfer; map CSV columns to database columns; initiate the transfer; close connection after done.


Loading data from CSV files to insert into RDBMS systems is a common use case in the enterprise and these libraries make that tasks a little less arduous. Check these out to see if it will fit your particular use case.

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