BigQuery Database Cheatsheet

BigQuery, Google’s fully managed, serverless data warehouse, is a powerhouse for analytics and business intelligence. Whether you’re a seasoned data analyst or just getting started with BigQuery, having a cheatsheet handy can save you time and effort. This cheatsheet will guide you through some essential commands and tips to make the most out of BigQuery.

1. Getting Started

1.1 Accessing BigQuery

To access BigQuery, you can use the Google Cloud Console, command line tool (bq), or various client libraries.

# Command Line Tool
bq query --nouse_legacy_sql 'SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`'

# Python Client
from import bigquery
client = bigquery.Client()
query = 'SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`'
query_job = client.query(query)

2. Query Basics

2.1 Standard SQL vs. Legacy SQL

BigQuery supports both Standard SQL and Legacy SQL. It’s recommended to use Standard SQL for new projects.

-- Standard SQL
SELECT column1, column2 FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table` WHERE condition;

-- Legacy SQL
SELECT column1, column2 FROM [your_project_id:dataset.table] WHERE condition;

2.2 Wildcards and Alias

Use * as a wildcard to select all columns and alias columns for clarity.

SELECT *, column1 AS alias_name FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`;

3. Table Operations

3.1 Creating a Table

Create a table from a query result or an external data source.

-- Create from Query
CREATE TABLE `your_project_id.dataset.new_table` AS SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`;

-- Create from External Data Source
CREATE TABLE `your_project_id.dataset.new_table` OPTIONS(
  format = 'CSV',
  uris = ['gs://your_bucket/your_file.csv']

3.2 Updating and Deleting Rows

Update and delete specific rows based on a condition.

-- Update
UPDATE `your_project_id.dataset.table` SET column1 = 'new_value' WHERE condition;

-- Delete
DELETE FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table` WHERE condition;

4. Optimizing Queries

4.1 Partitioned Tables

Use partitioned tables for improved query performance.

-- Create Partitioned Table
CREATE TABLE `your_project_id.dataset.partitioned_table`
AS SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`;

4.2 Clustering

Cluster tables to group related data together, improving query performance.

-- Create Clustered Table
CREATE TABLE `your_project_id.dataset.clustered_table`
CLUSTER BY column1
AS SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`;

5. Export and Import Data

5.1 Exporting Data

Export query results to Cloud Storage or a local file.

-- Export to Cloud Storage
) AS SELECT * FROM `your_project_id.dataset.table`;

5.2 Importing Data

Load data into BigQuery from Cloud Storage or a local file.

-- Load from Cloud Storage
bq load --autodetect --source_format=CSV your_project_id:dataset.new_table gs://your_bucket/your_file.csv

This cheatsheet is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to BigQuery capabilities. As you delve deeper into the world of big data analytics, mastering these commands will empower you to extract valuable insights efficiently. Keep exploring the documentation for more advanced features and optimizations to elevate your data analysis game with BigQuery.


1. What is BigQuery, and how does it differ from traditional databases?

BigQuery is a fully managed, serverless data warehouse by Google Cloud. Unlike traditional databases, it allows users to analyze massive datasets in real-time using SQL-like queries without the need for infrastructure management. It’s designed for high-performance analytics and scalability.

2. How can I access BigQuery, and what tools are available?

You can access BigQuery through the Google Cloud Console, command line tool (bq), and various client libraries. The Cloud Console provides a user-friendly interface, while the command line and client libraries offer programmatic access for automation.

3. What’s the difference between Standard SQL and Legacy SQL in BigQuery?

Standard SQL is the recommended querying language for BigQuery. It follows the SQL-92 standard and provides enhanced features. Legacy SQL, while still supported, is an older version that uses a different syntax. It’s advisable to use Standard SQL for new projects due to its improved functionality.

4. How can I optimize query performance in BigQuery?

To optimize query performance, consider using partitioned tables and clustered tables. Partitioning helps by organizing data based on date or other criteria, while clustering groups similar data together, reducing the amount of data scanned during queries and improving speed.

5. Can I export and import data easily in BigQuery?

Yes, you can export data using the EXPORT DATA command to Cloud Storage or a local file. For importing data, you can use the bq load command to load data from Cloud Storage or a local file into BigQuery. These features facilitate seamless data transfer between BigQuery and other storage solutions.