SQLite insert multiple rows

When dealing with data management in SQLite, inserting multiple rows efficiently is a critical skill. This process not only saves time but also enhances the overall performance of your database operations. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a beginner, understanding and applying best practices for inserting multiple rows into SQLite can significantly optimize your data handling.

To insert multiple rows into an SQLite database, you can use the INSERT INTO statement with a single SQL query. This can be done in several ways, depending on your specific requirements and the data you want to insert. Here, I’ll provide examples using two common methods: using multiple VALUES clauses and using a SELECT statement.

Using Multiple VALUES Clauses

You can insert multiple rows using the INSERT INTO statement with multiple VALUES clauses in a single SQL query. Each VALUES clause represents a set of values to be inserted into the table.

INSERT INTO your_table_name (column1, column2, column3)
VALUES (value1_1, value1_2, value1_3),
       (value2_1, value2_2, value2_3),
       (value3_1, value3_2, value3_3);


INSERT INTO employees (first_name, last_name, department)
VALUES ('John', 'Doe', 'Sales'),
       ('Jane', 'Smith', 'Marketing'),
       ('Bob', 'Johnson', 'Finance');

This query will insert three rows into the employees table with the specified values.

Using a SELECT Statement

Another way to insert multiple rows is by using a SELECT statement with UNION operator. You can select data from another table or create a temporary result set and insert the selected data into your target table.

INSERT INTO your_table_name (column1, column2, column3)
SELECT value1_1, value1_2, value1_3 FROM your_source_table WHERE condition,
SELECT value2_1, value2_2, value2_3 FROM your_source_table WHERE condition,
SELECT value3_1, value3_2, value3_3 FROM your_source_table WHERE condition;


INSERT INTO orders (product_id, customer_id, quantity)
SELECT product_id, customer_id, 5 FROM shopping_cart WHERE status = 'pending'
SELECT product_id, customer_id, 3 FROM shopping_cart WHERE status = 'processing';

In this example, we are inserting rows into the orders table based on data retrieved from the shopping_cart table.

Remember to replace your_table_name, column1, column2, etc., and the actual values or the SELECT statement according to your specific database schema and data requirements. Additionally, make sure that your table’s structure and data types match the values you are inserting to avoid any data integrity issues.

Efficiency in Bulk Inserts

When inserting a large number of rows, efficiency becomes key. SQLite handles bulk inserts more efficiently than executing multiple single-row insert statements, particularly when wrapped in a transaction. By default, each SQL statement in SQLite is treated as a single transaction. However, when inserting many rows, it’s more efficient to explicitly start a transaction, perform all the inserts, and then commit the transaction. This method greatly reduces the time the database spends in writing data to the disk.

Here’s an example of using a transaction for bulk inserts:

INSERT INTO students (name, age, grade) VALUES ('Dave', 15, 'C');
INSERT INTO students (name, age, grade) VALUES ('Eve', 16, 'B');
-- more insert statements

This method is particularly useful when you need to insert hundreds or thousands of rows. The transaction ensures that all insertions are treated as a single unit of work, thus enhancing performance.


Inserting multiple rows in SQLite is a common yet essential operation in database management. By following these best practices and tips, you can ensure efficient and error-free bulk inserts. Always remember to prepare your data, use transactions wisely, optimize your INSERT statements, manage your batch sizes, and validate your data post-insertion. With these strategies, you can significantly enhance the performance and reliability of your SQLite database operations.