DESCRIBE TABLE

Applies to: check marked yes Databricks SQL check marked yes Databricks Runtime

Returns the basic metadata information of a table. The metadata information includes column name, column type and column comment. Optionally you can specify a partition spec or column name to return the metadata pertaining to a partition or column respectively.

Syntax

{ DESC | DESCRIBE } [ TABLE ] [ EXTENDED | FORMATTED ] table_name { [ PARTITION clause ] | [ column_name ] }

Parameters

  • EXTENDED or FORMATTED

    If specified display detailed information about the specified columns, including the column statistics collected by the command, and additional metadata information (such as schema qualifier, owner, and access time).

  • table_name

    Identifies the table to be described. The name may not use a temporal specification. If the table cannot be found Databricks raises a TABLE_OR_VIEW_NOT_FOUND error.

  • PARTITION clause

    An optional parameter directing Databricks SQL to return addition metadata for the named partitions.

  • column_name

    An optional parameter with the column name that needs to be described. Currently nested columns are not allowed to be specified.

Parameters partition_spec and column_name are mutually exclusive and cannot be specified together.

Examples

-- Creates a table `customer`. Assumes current schema is `salesdb`.
> CREATE TABLE customer(
        cust_id INT,
        state VARCHAR(20),
        name STRING COMMENT 'Short name'
    )
    USING parquet
    PARTITIONED BY (state);

> INSERT INTO customer PARTITION (state = 'AR') VALUES (100, 'Mike');

-- Returns basic metadata information for unqualified table `customer`
> DESCRIBE TABLE customer;
                col_name data_type    comment
 ----------------------- --------- ----------
                 cust_id       int       null
                    name    string Short name
                   state    string       null
 # Partition Information
              # col_name data_type    comment
                   state    string       null

-- Returns basic metadata information for qualified table `customer`
> DESCRIBE TABLE salesdb.customer;
                col_name data_type    comment
 ----------------------- --------- ----------
                 cust_id       int       null
                    name    string Short name
                   state    string       null
 # Partition Information
              # col_name data_type    comment
                   state    string       null

-- Returns additional metadata such as parent schema, owner, access time etc.
> DESCRIBE TABLE EXTENDED customer;
                     col_name                      data_type    comment
 ---------------------------- ------------------------------ ----------
                      cust_id                            int       null
                         name                         string Short name
                        state                         string       null
      # Partition Information
                   # col_name                      data_type    comment
                        state                         string       null

 # Detailed Table Information
                     Database                        default
                        Table                       customer
                        Owner                  <TABLE OWNER>
                 Created Time   Tue Apr 07 22:56:34 JST 2020
                  Last Access                        UNKNOWN
                   Created By                <SPARK VERSION>
                         Type                        MANAGED
                     Provider                        parquet
                     Location file:/tmp/salesdb.db/custom...
                Serde Library org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                  InputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                 OutputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
           Partition Provider                        Catalog

-- Returns partition metadata such as partitioning column name, column type and comment.
> DESCRIBE TABLE EXTENDED customer PARTITION (state = 'AR');
                       col_name                      data_type    comment
 ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ----------
                         cust_id                            int       null
                           name                         string Short name
                          state                         string       null
        # Partition Information
                     # col_name                      data_type    comment
                          state                         string       null

 # Detailed Partition Inform...
                       Database                        default
                          Table                       customer
               Partition Values                     [state=AR]
                       Location file:/tmp/salesdb.db/custom...
                  Serde Library org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                    InputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                   OutputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
             Storage Properties [serialization.format=1, pa...
           Partition Parameters {transient_lastDdlTime=1586...
                   Created Time   Tue Apr 07 23:05:43 JST 2020
                    Last Access                        UNKNOWN
           Partition Statistics                      659 bytes

          # Storage Information
                       Location file:/tmp/salesdb.db/custom...
                  Serde Library org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                    InputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
                   OutputFormat org.apache.hadoop.hive.ql.i...
 ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ----------

-- Returns the metadata for `name` column.
-- Optional `TABLE` clause is omitted and column is fully qualified.
> DESCRIBE customer salesdb.customer.name;
 info_name info_value
 --------- ----------
  col_name       name
 data_type     string
   comment Short name

DESCRIBE DETAIL

DESCRIBE DETAIL [schema_name.]table_name

DESCRIBE DETAIL delta.`<path-to-table>`

Return information about schema, partitioning, table size, and so on. For example, for Delta tables, you can see the current reader and writer versions of a table. See Review Delta Lake table details with describe detail for the detail schema.