SQLite PRAGMA table_xinfo

The PRAGMA table_xinfo is a useful and versatile SQLite command that provides detailed information about the columns or indexes of a table in an SQLite database. This command is particularly helpful when you need to access metadata about your database schema, understand the structure of your tables, or gather information to assist in database management and querying.

Here’s an overview of how the PRAGMA table_xinfo command works and what kind of information it can provide:


PRAGMA table_xinfo(table-name);

table-name: The name of the table you want to gather information about.


The primary purpose of PRAGMA table_xinfo is to retrieve information about the columns and indexes within a specified table.

Information Returned

When you execute PRAGMA table_xinfo for a specific table, it returns a result set with the following columns:

cid: The column ID, which is a unique identifier for each column in the table, starting from 0.
name: The name of the column.
type: The declared data type of the column.
notnull: A flag indicating whether the column allows NULL values (0 for no, 1 for yes).
dflt_value: The default value associated with the column, if any.
pk: A flag indicating whether the column is part of the primary key (0 for no, 1 for yes).

This information can be invaluable for understanding the structure of a table and the constraints associated with its columns.

Use Cases

The PRAGMA table_xinfo command can be used in various scenarios, including:

Database Schema Exploration: It helps you explore the structure of a database, making it easier to understand the tables and their columns.

Data Validation: You can use it to validate data types, default values, and NULL constraints in your tables.

Query Optimization: Understanding column types and constraints can aid in writing efficient SQL queries.

Database Migration: When migrating data between databases or performing schema changes, you can use this pragma to ensure compatibility.

Here’s an example of how you might use PRAGMA table_xinfo:

PRAGMA table_xinfo('employees');

This command will return detailed information about the columns of the ’employees’ table, including their names, data types, NULL constraints, default values, and whether they are part of the primary key.

In conclusion, PRAGMA table_xinfo is a valuable SQLite command for gaining insight into the structure of your database tables. It provides essential metadata that can be instrumental in various database-related tasks, from schema exploration to data validation and query optimization.