5 Best Methods: MySQL Export to CSV Conveniently

• June 16th, 2020

MySQL export to CSV


Do you want to export tables from your MySQL database to a CSV format? You have landed at just the right post. We give you an easy, stepwise guide for 5 different methods to do just that.
MySQL is the most popular open-source relational database. It stores data in the form of tables. 
It is offered under two different editions:

  • The open-source MySQL community server 
  • The proprietary Enterprise server

However, the raw format of MySQL tables is supported by a limited number of applications. Therefore, it is often beneficial to convert MySQL data into CSV format.

In this article we will look into the following:


  • Basic knowledge of MySQL
  • Using MySQL shell
  • Using a terminal/command line
  • Write permission for the intended output file
  • Read permission for the input MySQL table
  • Pre-configured phpMyAdmin account (optional)

Why CSV?

CSV is a standard format with several benefits.
Features of CSV are as follows:

  • CSV stands for comma-separated value and is a widely accepted format.
  • CSV files have the added advantage of being human-readable.
  • Being plain-text, they can easily be imported into any application.
  • Better at organizing large data.

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Methods of Exporting MySQL Table to CSV

You will learn the following 5 methods to export your tables from MySQL to CSV:

1. Using Command Line

It is extremely easy to use the command line to export a MySQL table to CSV. You do not need to download any additional software. We have written an in-depth article also on MySQL export database command line.

You will also learn how to export to CSV using the command line under the following conditions:

To export to CSV, do as follows:

Step 1

  • Navigate to the database which has the table you want to export using the following command:
USE dbName

Here, dbName must be replaced with the name of your database.

SHOW VARIABLES LIKE "secure_file_priv"  

This command will show you the directory that has been configured. You can only store your output file in this directory.

Step 2

  • Select all the data from the table and specify the location of the output file.
TABLE tableName 
INTO OUTFILE 'path/outputFile.csv'
  • Make sure to use the .csv extension for your output file.
  • The ORDER clause can be used to arrange the data according to a particular attribute.
  • The LIMIT clause is used to restrict the number of rows to be copied into the output file.
MySQL Export to CSV - Command Line

a. Exporting Selected Columns of a Table

  • To do this you can use the SELECT statement to specify the columns you want to export.
  • You may additionally use the WHERE clause to use specific conditions and filter the results.
SELECT columnName, ….
FROM tableName
WHERE columnName = 'value';

b. Exporting Tables with a Timestamp

You may want to add a timestamp to the exported file, to do that you must use a MySQL prepared statement.

Use the following command to export to a CSV file, and add a timestamp for the time the file was created:

SET @TS = DATE_FORMAT(NOW(),'_%Y_%m_%d_%H_%i_%s');
SET @FOLDER = '/var/lib/sql-files/';
SET @PREFIX = 'employees';
SET @EXT    = '.csv';
PREPARE statement FROM @CMD;
EXECUTE statement;

c. Export with Column Headers

It is often convenient to add column headers to the output file to better identify and analyze the data. To do this, you must use the UNION statement.
Use the following command to add column headers:

(SELECT 'columnHeading', ...)
(SELECT column, ...
FROM tableName
INTO OUTFILE 'path-to-file/outputFile.csv’'

d. Handling NULL Values

If your results contain NULL values, they will appear as ‘N’ in the exported file instead of NULL. This may lead to confusion and thus, you may want to replace this ‘N’ string with a string like NA (not applicable) that makes more sense.
Use the following command to do it:

SELECT column, column, IFNULL(column, 'NA')
FROM tableName INTO OUTFILE 'path-to-file/outputFile.csv'

2. Using mysqldump

mysqldump is a utility tool provided by MySQL server that enables users to export tables, databases, and entire servers. Moreover, it is also used for backup and recovery.
Here, we will discuss how mysqldump can be used to export a MySQL table to CSV.

  • Use the following command in a command prompt/terminal:
mysqldump -u [username] -p -t -T/path/to/directory [database] [tableName] --fields-terminated-by=,
  • The given command will create a copy of the table specified by tableName at the location you define using the -T option.
  • The name of the file will be the same as that of the table and will have a .txt extension.

3. Using MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench provides an Import/Export Wizard which allows you to export our database/ tables to a specified format using a graphical user interface. The wizard supports JSON and CSV formats.

To download MySQL Workbench, click here

You can follow the given steps to export your MySQL table using MySQL Workbench:

Step 1

  • Use the left bar “schemas” tab to locate the table you want to export.

In this example, we will be exporting the employee’s table in the classic model’s database.

MySQL Workbench- Locating Table

Step 2

  • Right-click using your mouse on the table and select “Table Data Export Wizard” to get the following screen.
  • Select the columns you want to export.
MySQL Workbench- Selecting Columns to Export

Step 3

  • Click on Next.
  • Browse to the directory where you want to save the output file.
  • Choose the CSV format option.
MySQL Export to CSV Format- MySQL Workbench

Step 4

  • Click on Next.
  • Your data will start exporting.
  • You can track the process through the logs.

 4. Using phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin provides a graphical user interface to export your MySQL table in different formats. Apart from CSV, it supports other formats such as XML, JSON, YAML, and many others.

To download phpMyAdmin, click here.

To use phpMyAdmin to export data, follow these steps:

Step 1

  • Log in to phpMyAdmin using a user that has required permissions.
  • Navigate to the database which contains the source table as shown.
phpMyAdmin- Navigate to Source Database

Step 2

  • Choose the table from the database.
  • Click on Export in the top bar.
phpMyAdmin- Select table from database

Step 3

  • Choose the CSV format from the format dropdown menu.
MySQL export to CSV - phpMyAdmin
  • Click on Go.
  • Select the save file option when prompted.

5. Using CSV Engine

The CSV storage engine stores data in text files using comma-separated values format and is always compiled into the MySQL server.
It is important to note that this method can only be used if the table does not have an index or an AUTO_INCREMENT constraint.


This command changes the format of the database to CSV. It can then directly be copied to another system easily.


You now have 5 methods to export your MySQL table to CSV in your arsenal. If you are comfortable with writing queries using the command-line or mysqldump utility tool will prove to be the simplest way. However, if you are not confident with your querying skills, MySQL Workbench and phpMyAdmin will be your best bet. Extracting complex data from a diverse set of data sources such as MySQL can be a challenging task and this is where Hevo saves the day!

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Have you used any of these methods? Have any further queries? Reach out to us in the comments section below.

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