MySQL Insert into Select in One Command

We are all familiar with the basic MySQL INSERT INTO clause that allows us to insert values into a table.

In this tutorial, we will defer from that and look at the INSERT INTO — SELECT statement that we can use to insert values in a table where the values are from the result of a SELECT statement.

Basic Usage

If you can recall the basic INSERT INTO clause in MySQL, we can add data as:

INSERT INTO tbl_name VALUES (values1…valuesN);

However, we can use the SELECT statement instead of the VALUES clause.

The general syntax is:

INSERT INTO tbl_name(cols) SELECT cols_list FROM tbl_name WHERE condition;

The query above uses the SELECT clause to select specified values from other tables and insert them into the set table.

In most cases, we use the INSERT INTO — SELECT clause when copying values from another table or only sections of the values from a table.

Example Use Case

Let me illustrate how we can use the INSERT INTO with the SELECT statement using a real-world database.

NOTE: For this example, I will be using the Sakila database for illustrations. Feel free to use any other database or download a copy of the Sakila sample database from the resource provided below:

Let us start by creating a table that will contain the data as shown in the queries below:

USE sakila;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS currated_info;
CREATE TABLE currated_info(
    title VARCHAR(100),
    rating VARCHAR(50),
    film_length INT

Finally, we can use INSERT INTO statement for the table above as shown in the query below:

INSERT INTO currated_info (title, rating, film_length) SELECT title, rating, length FROM film;

Once the query has executed successfully, we can query the curated_table and see the data as shown below:

mysql> USE sakila;
Database changed
mysql> select * FROM currated_info LIMIT 5;
| id | title            | rating | film_length |
|  1 | ACADEMY DINOSAUR | PG     |          86 |
|  2 | ACE GOLDFINGER   | G      |          48 |
|  3 | ADAPTATION HOLES | NC-17  |          50 |
|  4 | AFFAIR PREJUDICE | G      |         117 |
|  5 | AFRICAN EGG      | G      |         130 |
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

As you can see, we can use the select statement instead of the values clause to add values to a table.

NOTE: Be careful when using the select statement on a large database as it might slow down the database or cause a crash.


In this tutorial, we quickly learned how to use the MySQL INSERT INTO clause with the SELECT statement to add data from the result of a select query.

About the author

John Otieno

My name is John and am a fellow geek like you. I am passionate about all things computers from Hardware, Operating systems to Programming. My dream is to share my knowledge with the world and help out fellow geeks. Follow my content by subscribing to LinuxHint mailing list