How to Import Data?

Memgraph comes with tools for importing data into the database. Currently, only import of CSV format is supported. We plan to support more formats in the future. Furthermore, cypher queries saved in a file can be imported with mg_client running in non-interactive mode.

CSV Import Tool

CSV data should be in Neo4j CSV compatible format. Detailed format specification can be found here.

As you can see from the link above, the header mostly consists of <name>:<field_type> pairs. If the <field_type> is absent, the import tool will default to string.

How to Use the CSV Import Tool?

The import tool is run from the console, using the mg_import_csv command.

If you installed Memgraph using Docker, you will need to run the importer using the following command:

docker run -v mg_lib:/var/lib/memgraph -v mg_etc:/etc/memgraph -v mg_import:/import-data \
  --entrypoint=mg_import_csv memgraph

You can pass CSV files containing node data using the --nodes option. Multiple files can be specified by repeating the --nodes option. At least one node file should be specified. Similarly, graph edges (also known as relationships) are passed via the --relationships option. Multiple relationship files are imported by repeating the option. Unlike nodes, relationships are not required.

Internally, the CSV import tool creates a database snapshot from the CSV files. By default, the tool will search for the installed Memgraph configuration and will store the snapshot inside its configured durability directory. If the configuration isn't found, you will need to use the --out option to specify the output file. Naturally, you can use the same option to override the default behaviour.

Memgraph will recover the imported data on the next startup by looking in the durability directory. It is important to note that your durability directory should not contain any WAL files when using the CSV import tool. If it does, Memgraph will try to recover from those files as well and they are most likely not compatible with the contents of the newly created snapshot. For more details on Memgraph's durability and data recovery features, please check out the appropriate article.

It is also important to note that importing CSV data using the mg_import_csv command should be a one-time operation before running Memgraph. In other words, this tool should not be used to import data into an already running Memgraph instance.

For information on other options, run:

mg_import_csv --help

When using Docker, this translates to:

docker run --entrypoint=mg_import_csv memgraph --help


Let's import a simple dataset.

Store the following in comment_nodes.csv.

1,United Kingdom,Chrome,thanks,Message;Comment
3,France,Firefox,I see,Message;Comment
4,Italy,Internet Explorer,fine,Message;Comment

Now, let's add forum_nodes.csv.


And finally, set relationships between comments and forums in relationships.csv.


Now, you can import the dataset in Memgraph.

WARNING: Your existing snapshot will be considered obsolete, and Memgraph will load the new dataset.

Use the following command:

mg_import_csv --overwrite --nodes=comment_nodes.csv --nodes=forum_nodes.csv --relationships=relationships.csv

If using Docker, things are a bit more complicated. First you need to move the CSV files where the Docker image can see them:

mkdir -p /var/lib/docker/volumes/mg_import/_data
cp comment_nodes.csv forum_nodes.csv relationships.csv /var/lib/docker/volumes/mg_import/_data

Then, run the importer with the following:

docker run -v mg_lib:/var/lib/memgraph -v mg_etc:/etc/memgraph -v mg_import:/import-data \
  --entrypoint=mg_import_csv memgraph \
  --overwrite \
  --nodes=/import-data/comment_nodes.csv --nodes=/import-data/forum_nodes.csv \

Next time you run Memgraph, the dataset will be loaded.

Importing Cypher Queries

When Memgraph is running, cypher queries are imported by running mg_client in non-interactive mode. The user can import queries saved in e.g. queries.txt by issuing the following shell command:

mg_client < queries.txt

If you installed Memgraph using Docker, you will need to run the client using the following command:

docker run -i --entrypoint=mg_client memgraph --host HOST < queries.txt`

Remember to replace HOST with valid IP of the container (see Note for OS X/macOS Users).

For more information about mg_client options run:

mg_client --help

Have a Question?

Reach out to us over Slack or email, we're always happy to help with code or other questions you might have.