You want to run a query or two against an Oracle database.

You want to get the data back into a user-friendly and consumable format, such as a comma separated values file.

You can do this in SQL Developer, VERY easily.

You can watch the movie…

…or read on – your choice!

Quick ResultSet Exports as Script Output

I’m too lazy to hit execute > SaveAs > Open File. I just want to get my delimited text output RIGHT NOW!

The ‘old’ way –

Our old friend, the Export Dialog

And the ‘new’ way (well, new to me!) –

Have the query results pre-formatted in the format of your choice!

The Code

SELECT /*csv*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*xml*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*html*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*delimited*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*insert*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*loader*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*fixed*/ * FROM scott.emp;
SELECT /*text*/ * FROM scott.emp;

You need to execute your statement(s) as a script using F5 or the 2nd execution button on the worksheet toolbar. You’ll notice the hint name matches the available output types on the Export wizard.

NEW FOR 4.1!!!

You don’t HAVE to add the comment to your code anymore. You can JUST use this instead – and ALL of your script output will be formatted by default.


When you want it back to normal, run


Also, in 4.1, we added JSON, so

SELECT /*json*/ * from blah…will come back formatted as JSON.

…OK, back to the story.

Here’s the raw output from the previous examples in case you’re not sitting at your work desk when you read this (click to expand):

SET sqlformat csv
SELECT * FROM scott.emp;
7369,"SMITH","CLERK",7902,17-DEC-1980 00:00:00,800,,20
7499,"ALLEN","SALESMAN",7698,20-FEB-1981 00:00:00,1600,300,30
7521,"WARD","SALESMAN",7698,22-FEB-1981 00:00:00,1250,500,30
7566,"JONES","MANAGER",7839,02-APR-1981 00:00:00,2975,,20
7654,"MARTIN","SALESMAN",7698,28-SEP-1981 00:00:00,1250,1400,30
7698,"BLAKE","MANAGER",7839,01-MAY-1981 00:00:00,2850,,30
7782,"CLARK","MANAGER",7839,09-JUN-1981 00:00:00,2450,,10
7788,"SCOTT","ANALYST",7566,19-APR-1987 00:00:00,3000,,20
7839,"KING","PRESIDENT",,17-NOV-1981 00:00:00,5000,,10
7844,"TURNER","SALESMAN",7698,08-SEP-1981 00:00:00,1500,0,30
7876,"ADAMS","CLERK",7788,23-MAY-1987 00:00:00,1100,,20
7900,"JAMES","CLERK",7698,03-DEC-1981 00:00:00,950,,30
7902,"FORD","ANALYST",7566,03-DEC-1981 00:00:00,3000,,20
7934,"MILLER","CLERK",7782,23-JAN-1982 00:00:00,1300,,10
 14 ROWS selected. 
SET sqlformat xml
SELECT * FROM scott.emp fetch FIRST 2 ROWS ONLY;<?xml version='1.0'  encoding='UTF8' ?>
		<COLUMN NAME="HIREDATE"><![CDATA[17-DEC-1980 00:00:00]]></COLUMN>
		<COLUMN NAME="HIREDATE"><![CDATA[20-FEB-1981 00:00:00]]></COLUMN>

So that was kind of a ‘trick’ – I’m not sure it’s a documented feature, although Kris did talk about it WAAAAAAAY back in 2007.

Now you can just Run > Copy > Paste!


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Avatar

    I am using the latest version ( build MAIN-13.80) on a Win7 64bit machine, with jdk1.7.0_45.

    I am trying to spool output to a csv file using SELECT /*csv*/ * FROM table.

    The table has 230 records. Only the first 50 lines appear, then there is an Error in the script output. When I click on the ScriptRunner Task (failed) I see “Java heap space” then more details:

    java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
    at java.lang.reflect.Array.newArray(Native Method)
    at java.lang.reflect.Array.newInstance(

    I’ve tried changing Preferences…Database…Advanced…SQL Array Fetch size from 50 to 200 (I get 200 lines out).
    I’ve tried changing JVM settings in product.conf to increase memory from 880M to 1250M. No change.

    Can you suggest anything to try?

    • thatjeffsmith

      I’ve noticed you posted the same question on the forums – I’d suggest we continue the conversation there, but…

      1. how wide is this table?
      2. does this work for other tables or queries?
      3. 200 is too high – that will require MORE memory, take it back down to 50 or 100
    • Avatar

      Hi Jeff,

      Yes, I only kept array size at 200 to test. Back down to 50.

      Yes, this is a wide table. 200 columns.

      It does work for other tables and queries. I’d thought it also worked for a different table that had a similar large number of columns- but I cannot reproduce that now.

  2. Avatar

    Jeff, is this support extensible at all? Could someone write their own formatter that output something different such as c# or java objects?

    • thatjeffsmith

      No, but give me an example of how this would format for ‘java’ and maybe we can add it for you πŸ™‚

    • thatjeffsmith

      Yes, we actually had it in the EA for a few months, but a bug pushed it out for the final. I think it would help if you could provide a use case or 3 to help justify adding it back πŸ™‚

    • Avatar

      For me I have a large web project I’m working on, it would be an awesome way to be able to mock api results so the front end isn’t held up by building the rest layer.

    • thatjeffsmith

      Gotcha. You now about our APEX Listener, yes? It will auto-serve up JSON for your SQL queries assuming you set your RESTful services.

    • Avatar

      I do, haven’t had a good chance to dig in yet. Sometimes you just need some quick sample data. Personally I’d rather keep my API separate from the database.

  3. Avatar

    In the latest version ( build MAIN-13.30) special format of
    SELECT /*CSV*/* FROM DUAL is not working. Is this has been disabled in latest version of SQL Developer? Please help

    • thatjeffsmith

      Feature hasn’t been disabled, it’s a bug. The bug has been fixed for the production release.

  4. Avatar

    Hi. Great info. Thanks. I have two questions:

    1. I am spooling to a .csv on my local hard drive and it works wonderfully except for one thing–the command is included in the output. For me to use the output as a table in the future (which I plan to do) I would need to remove the first line for each file–a pain. I have tried the SET command for FEEDBACK, ECHO and VERIFY but no luck. Any suggestions?

    2. Running as a script works great–once! For it to work again I need to shut down SQL dev and re-invoke. Is there a way around this?

    Thanks for any assistance

    • thatjeffsmith

      1. That’s the same behavior you’ll see in SQL*Plus, regardless of set echo setting, the statement will be included in the SPOOL file – and our goal is to emulate SQL*Plus, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense.
      2. What version of SQL Developer are you using? And is it just this particular script, or any script that refuses to run more than once?


  5. Avatar

    Unfortunately this no longer works for me since upgrading to 3.2.2.
    Any idea how to get it to work again?

    • thatjeffsmith

      Does it work with the other formats like XML or HTML? I’ve seen this ‘quit working’ for me as well from time to time, but an application restart always fixes that.

      I’ve also seen it quit working on a very specific table – so if it’s not working for your query, try it against SCOTT.EMP or similar to see if it’s also broken there.

    • Avatar

      Hmmm….yes, they all work except for /*csv*/ and /*text*/.
      /*delimited*/ works so I can use that instead of the csv. Thanks for your help.

  6. Avatar

    The /*csv*/ trick does not seem to work with queries that start with the WITH clause.
    Is there a way to achieve the same effect for long running queries (10 mins) without having to do a 2 step operations which seems to re-run the query to export the results.

    • thatjeffsmith

      Actually that works for me. Just put the hint in the SELECT, not the WITH

      WITH q AS
      (SELECT owner,
      sysdate – NVL(last_analyzed,sysdate-1000) last_analyzed
      FROM all_tables
      WHERE owner IN (USER, ‘HR’, ‘SCOTT’, ‘SH’)
      SELECT /*csv*/ ‘SQLDEV:GAUGE:0:’
      || MAX(last_analyzed) over ()
      || last_analyzed last_stats_chart,
      ROUND(last_analyzed) days_since_last_stats
      FROM q;

  7. Avatar

    Thank you for this post.
    I use html output most often for Oracle Apps. The output looks great for multiple queries’ output saved to one single html file.
    I notice a Search box for each of the query output though. Any idea?

    • thatjeffsmith

      That code is assuming there’s only one query set, hence the multiple search forms. I think you’ll have to manually edit out the additional search forms from the resulting HTML code.

  8. Avatar

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for this post, it’s great.
    My script works great when I run it in SQL Developer and outputs the results as desired (csv format etc).
    I have one problem, however, which has been bothering me. I have been trying to set up a scheduled task in windows to run a bat file which has the command (sqlplus -S username/[email protected] @C:\mydirectory\myscript.sql).
    The problem is that the output is not in ‘csv’ format in that what should be on one row is being put in multiple rows (some columns on one row) without commas and between each record I am getting line breaks.
    Can you/anyone else help with this?


    • thatjeffsmith

      The hints mentioned in this post are SQL Developer specific, so if you use out in sqlplus, it will be ignored.

    • Avatar

      Sorry, not sure I understand what you mean.
      I should have mentioned, this is my script- which works find in sql developer:

      set feedback off
      set pagesize 0
      set termout off

      column dt new_val dateAdded
      select to_char(sysdate,’yyyymmdd’) dt from dual;

      spool C:\mydirectory\myfile_&dateAdded..csv

      SELECT /*csv*/ field1
      (SELECT ‘field1’ …FROM…)
      order by field2, field3;
      Spool off

    • Avatar

      OK, I think I understand…so /*csv*/ does not work with SQLPlus?
      What would be the way to get the output from sqlplus?

      Or if there is a way I can schedule my script to run from SQL Developer it would be fine too. I need to produce a daily file which I’m having to run manually at the moment.


    • thatjeffsmith


      So you would need to write your script using SQL*Plus formatting commands to get the same desired effect. I’m pretty sure Tom Kyte has a solution posted on his AskTom site.

      We have a command-line interface for SQL Developer, but it doesn’t have a plug for the worksheet and issuing scripts…YET.

    • Avatar

      Thank you for your help Jeff, I will look into Tom Kyte’s solution.

  9. Avatar

    Hi Jeff, I’m using this code to import data into folder using sql developer
    spool c:\spool_text_hint.csv
    select /*csv*/ * from cdm where subject like %abc%xyz;
    but every time i need to change the subject like there any macro we can use in sqlo developer…


    • Avatar

      Thank you very much for reply. I have seen it, but what i am trying to do in below code is
      spool c:\spool_ABC.csv
      select /*csv*/ * from cdm where subject like ‘%ABC’;
      i have mentioned ABC in spool and select statements, which every time i need to change.Instead of 2 changes if i made 1 change which will automatically apply to the second one.

    • Avatar

      Hi Jeff, my query has been resolved, i have used ‘&’ to change the code.
      I’m having one more query is it possible to create a BAT file to execute all my .sql scripts using sql developer?

  10. Avatar

    Way cool, and I totally agree with your assessment of developers who use their own tools. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction here.

  11. Avatar

    Hi Jeff, when I use the /*insert*/ in my SELECT statement, my table name is returned in double quotes like this:

    Insert into “table” (id, name) values (100, ‘Bill’);

    This requires me to perform an extra step to remove the quotes as Developer throws an error if I try to run the statement as is. Any suggestions?

    • thatjeffsmith

      I just tried this and got something different…

      select /*insert*/ * from scott.emp;

      REM INSERTING into scott.emp
      Insert into scott.emp (EMPNO, …

      You could try changing your table name in your select to UPPERCASE so it wouldn’t fail on the insert, e.g.
      select * FROM SCOTT.EMP –> insert into “SCOTT.EMP” …

    • Avatar
      Peter Voss

      Thanks very much, that did the trick! Is it because Oracle is casting identifiers?

  12. Avatar
    Carla Bertinelli Reply

    Hi Jeff, I have started to use sqldeveloper (3.1.07, Italian localization) just today and I was so lucky to come across your blog πŸ™‚
    Something odd happens with the “delimited” format: I set up “;” as a delimiter in the preferences (which is BTW the default delimiter for Excel in my case), but it gets ignored and the default delimiter (comma) is used.
    Thanks a lot for sharing all these tips!

    • thatjeffsmith

      The hinted queries don’t follow the preferences – I’d call it a bug, but this is technically an undocumented feature. I’ve been bugging the developer to make it a full-featured workflow, and then I could log a bug on this πŸ™‚

      That being said, we’re working on the next version of SQL Developer now and maybe we can work something in for you!

  13. Avatar

    Indeed. An unexpected gotcha since I am a local administrator at my corporate workstation. There’s obviously more to Windows 7’s permissions model than I thought. Thanks for your help Jeff.

  14. Avatar

    Thanks Jeff. That’s no different from the advice at the OTN site, but what I have since discovered after a bit more work was that I didn’t have sufficient privileges to create a file in the places I tested, eg, C:\

    Bottom line: it works (in places where you have sufficient privileges to read/write files).

  15. Avatar

    Thank you so much for this time saver. Consider my behaviour happily changed.

    I’d like to simplify my life further though: How do I go straight from F5 to output file, i.e., bypass the copy-paste required when using the Script Output window. I ask a similar question in the OTN forums where you mentioned using SPOOL. My thanks.

    • thatjeffsmith

      Yes, the SPOOL should work.

      set echo on
      spool c:\spool_text_hint.log

      select /*csv*/ * from scott.emp;

      Contents of the .log file
      > select /*csv*/ * from scott.emp
      9999,”ADAMS”,”CLERK”,7788,23-MAY-87 12.00.00,1100,,20
      7369,”SMITH”,”CLERK”,7902,17-DEC-80 12.00.00,800,,20
      7499,”ALLEN”,”SALESMAN”,7698,20-FEB-81 12.00.00,1600,300,30
      7521,”WARD”,”SALESMAN”,7698,22-FEB-81 12.00.00,1250,500,30
      7566,”JONES”,”MANAGER”,7839,02-APR-81 12.00.00,2975,,20
      7654,”MARTIN”,”SALESMAN”,7698,28-SEP-81 12.00.00,1250,1400,30
      7698,”BLAKE”,”MANAGER”,7839,01-MAY-81 12.00.00,2850,,30
      7782,”CLARK”,”MANAGER”,7839,09-JUN-81 12.00.00,2450,,10
      7788,”SCOTT”,”ANALYST”,7566,19-APR-87 12.00.00,3000,,20
      7839,”KING”,”PRESIDENT”,,17-NOV-81 12.00.00,5000,,10
      7844,”TURNER”,”SALESMAN”,7698,08-SEP-81 12.00.00,1500,0,30
      7876,”ADAMS”,”CLERK”,7788,23-MAY-87 12.00.00,1100,,20
      7900,”JAMES”,”CLERK”,7698,03-DEC-81 12.00.00,950,,30
      7902,”FORD”,”ANALYST”,7566,03-DEC-81 12.00.00,3000,,20
      7934,”MILLER”,”CLERK”,7782,23-JAN-82 12.00.00,1300,,10

    • Avatar

      Great tip Jeff! I was exporting the results from the graphic grid, but that does not work for really big result sets.

      When I try SPOOL, I’m only getting the SQL in the output file, not the results. Any ideas?

      Thank you!

    • thatjeffsmith

      You’re probably running out of memory when you’re doing the Excel export. Switch the method to CSV – will run much, much faster.

      For SPOOL, I ran this in as worksheet using v3.2.2

      spool c:\demo_spool.txt

      SELECT *
      FROM scott.emp
      WHERE 1=1 AND
      empno > 256;

      And here’s the output of the file –

      > SELECT *
      FROM scott.emp
      WHERE 1=1 AND
      empno > 256
      ———- ———- ——— ———- ——————– ———- ———- ———-
      7369 SMITH CLERK 7902 17-DEC-1980 12.00.00 800 20
      7499 ALLEN SALESMAN 7698 20-FEB-1981 12.00.00 1600 300 30
      7521 WARD SALESMAN 7698 22-FEB-1981 12.00.00 1250 500 30
      7566 JONES MANAGER 7839 02-APR-1981 12.00.00 2975 20
      7654 MARTIN SALESMAN 7698 28-SEP-1981 12.00.00 1250 1400 30
      7698 BLAKE MANAGER 7839 01-MAY-1981 12.00.00 2850 30
      7782 CLARK MANAGER 7839 09-JUN-1981 12.00.00 2450 10
      7788 SCOTT ANALYST 7566 19-APR-1987 12.00.00 3000 20

  16. Avatar
    Vitor Santos Reply

    Hi Jeff,

    I dont know if you can help me, but I am new using Oracle Developer (using Version 3.1.06)

    My baby have pressed some keys and now I have all the char’s visible like the CR and line feed, tabs, spaces, etc…

    can you please help me out to remove this?

    thanks in advanced!!!

    • thatjeffsmith

      First of all, that’s pretty awesome. I think your baby has a strong future in IT in front of them πŸ™‚

      There’s an option in the Preferences dialog to show these characters. Check:

      Preferences > Code Editor > Display > Show Whitespace

    • thatjeffsmith

      I’ve seen it act up before, but an application restart always fixed it. Can you confirm you’re executing the statement using F5 (script execution)?

    • Avatar

      Yes I am.I’m only able to get the export menu when I create a report based on the initial query,and then execute that report.By simply running the query using F5 doesn’t bring up the “spreadsheet like” workbook from which you can do the export.

    • thatjeffsmith

      I’m confused. If you want to use the /*csv*/ trick – there is no Export menu. It just spits the results out in a comma delimited format. You then use copy and paste to get the records out of SQL Developer. So saying this doesn’t work and then mentioning the export or ‘spreadsheet like’ workbook is confusing me on exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.

      Maybe if you provided a screenshot or an exact list of 1..2..3..n steps, I could give you better advice?

  17. Avatar

    I’m new at Oracle SQL developer. I can get the above to work using the F5. Data is just how I need it, but I’m not sure how to save that output. I want to save it as a .csv.
    I’m using Oracle SQL Developer v3.0.04.

    • thatjeffsmith

      You could hit the ‘Save’ button in the script output toolbar, or just copy and paste the output to the editor/program of your choice.

      If you want a more user friendly method to handle saving your query output, just run the query without the hint, then right-click in a the results grid, and choose ‘Export.’ Although in your version if may say ‘Unload.’ Either way, you’ll get a wizard to setup your output for the format of your choice.

  18. Avatar
    Sarah Kelly Reply

    No way!! This is great. Is there a way to do it without the quotation marks? This is done in the wizard by changing the Left Enclosure (and Right Enclosure).

    • Avatar

      Is there any progress on that? Quotation marks in /*text*/ export is the only thing preventing me from auto-generating half of my routine PL/SQL code. It would actually be enough if those hints used the default preferences under Database->Utilities->Export instead of overriding them.

    • thatjeffsmith

      I think that’s where the feature needs to go, but for now it remains ‘undocumented.’ You could submit a request to the Exchanage and try to get it fast-tracked.

    • Avatar
      Cyrus Bharda

      Sorry to dig up an old post, but I’ve just run into this same issue. I am on Build MAIN-12.84 and when I use this awesome feature, the text output still has double quotes (“) in it. Has this been resolved in later versions?

    • thatjeffsmith

      Hmmm. Resolved infers that there is an actual issue or bug, yes?

      This is just the default behavior. The formatter hints take the defaults, and the default is to quote strings. You can turn that off, but it won’t affect the /*csv*/ hint – but the grid > export > CSV will honor it.

    • Avatar

      Use /*TEXT*/ over /*text*/ and the surrounding double quotes disappear. I know it seems trivial, but it worked for me.

    • JeffS

      Wow, thanks Ian! Btw, Ian also happens to be my son’s name πŸ™‚

    • JeffS

      Thanks for sharing that Kent! I consider this the highest form of praise a software user can offer – change in behavior. I’ll let @krisrice know you approve πŸ™‚ BTW, we’ll have to meet proper in San Antonio next month!

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