Resolving MySQL Error 1261 (ER_WARN_TOO_FEW_RECORDS): Ensuring Rows Contain Data for All Columns

Encountering Error 1261 with SQLSTATE code 01000 in MySQL can be a stumbling block when importing or loading data into your database. This error message, “Row %ld doesn’t contain data for all columns,” indicates that during the data import process, one or more rows do not have enough data to fill all the columns in the table. Let’s delve into how to identify and rectify this issue with practical examples and sample code.

Understanding Error 1261

MySQL Error 1261 is a warning that typically arises during the execution of the LOAD DATA INFILE statement. It means that the data file being imported has rows with fewer fields than the target table expects. This can happen due to various reasons such as missing data, incorrect field terminators, or improper file format.

Diagnosing the Issue

To diagnose the problem, you should:

  1. Check the structure of your table to confirm the number of columns and their order.
  2. Review the data file to ensure that each row has the correct number of fields, and that the fields are properly delimited.

You can use the following SQL statement to inspect your table’s structure:

DESCRIBE your_table_name;

Fixing Error 1261

Here are some examples of how you can address this warning:

Example 1: Correcting Data File Format

Ensure that your data file matches the format expected by your table. If a column is missing, you may need to add the missing data or adjust the table structure to align with your data file.

Example 2: Specifying Columns During Import

When using LOAD DATA INFILE, you can specify which columns you are importing data into, which is useful if your data file does not contain values for all columns:

LOAD DATA INFILE 'path/to/your/datafile.csv'
INTO TABLE your_table_name
(column1, column2, column3);

Replace column1, column2, etc., with the names of the columns that correspond to the data in your file.

Example 3: Handling Missing Data

If your data file intentionally has missing fields, you can use the SET clause to provide default values for certain columns:

LOAD DATA INFILE 'path/to/your/datafile.csv'
INTO TABLE your_table_name
(column1, column2)

Replace DEFAULT_VALUE with the default value you want to set for the missing column.

Example 4: Adjusting Field and Line Terminators

Make sure the field terminators and line terminators in your LOAD DATA INFILE statement match those in your data file:

LOAD DATA INFILE 'path/to/your/datafile.csv'
INTO TABLE your_table_name

Adjust the terminators as needed based on your file’s format.


If your fields are enclosed by quotation marks or another character, use the OPTIONALLY ENCLOSED BY clause:

LOAD DATA INFILE 'path/to/your/datafile.csv'
INTO TABLE your_table_name

By carefully examining your table structure and data file, and making the necessary adjustments to the LOAD DATA INFILE statement, you can overcome Error 1261 and successfully import your data into MySQL. Remember to always back up your data before performing import operations to prevent data loss. With these tips, you should be able to understand and resolve the issue at hand, ensuring a smooth data import process.

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