How do I output the results of a HiveQL query to CSV?

Although it is possible to use INSERT OVERWRITE to get data out of Hive, it might not be the best method for your particular case. First let me explain what INSERT OVERWRITE does, then I’ll describe the method I use to get tsv files from Hive tables.

According to the manual, your query will store the data in a directory in HDFS. The format will not be csv.

Data written to the filesystem is serialized as text with columns separated by ^A and rows separated by newlines. If any of the columns are not of primitive type, then those columns are serialized to JSON format.

A slight modification (adding the LOCAL keyword) will store the data in a local directory.

INSERT OVERWRITE LOCAL DIRECTORY '/home/lvermeer/temp' select books from table;

When I run a similar query, here’s what the output looks like.

[lvermeer@hadoop temp]$ ll
total 4
-rwxr-xr-x 1 lvermeer users 811 Aug  9 09:21 000000_0
[lvermeer@hadoop temp]$ head 000000_0 

Personally, I usually run my query directly through Hive on the command line for this kind of thing, and pipe it into the local file like so:

hive -e 'select books from table' > /home/lvermeer/temp.tsv

That gives me a tab-separated file that I can use. Hope that is useful for you as well.

Based on this patch-3682, I suspect a better solution is available when using Hive 0.11, but I am unable to test this myself. The new syntax should allow the following.

select books from table;

Hope that helps.

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