Define a new table.

Define a new table.


CREATE TABLE keyspace_name.table_name 
( column_definition, column_definition, ...)
WITH property AND property ...

column_definition is:

column_name cql_type
| column_name cql_type PRIMARY KEY
| PRIMARY KEY ( partition_key )
| column_name collection_type

cql_type is a type, other than a collection or a counter type. CQL data types lists the types. Exceptions: ADD supports a collection type and also, if the table is a counter, a counter type.

partition_key is:

| ( column_name1
        , column_name2, column_name3 ... )
| ((column_name1*, column_name2*), column3*, column4* . . . )

column_name1 is the partition key.

column_name2, column_name3 ... are clustering columns.

column_name1*, column_name2* are partitioning keys.

column_name3*, column_name4* ... are clustering columns.

collection_type is:

LIST <cql_type>
| SET <cql_type>
| MAP <cql_type, cql_type>

property is a one of the CQL table property, enclosed in single quotation marks in the case of strings, or one of these directives:

  • CLUSTERING ORDER followed by the clustering order specification.

Synopsis legend 

  • Uppercase means literal
  • Lowercase means not literal
  • Italics mean optional
  • The pipe (|) symbol means OR or AND/OR
  • Ellipsis (...) means repeatable
  • Orange ( and ) means not literal, indicates scope

A semicolon that terminates CQL statements is not included in the synopsis.


CREATE TABLE creates a new table under the current keyspace. You can also use the alias CREATE COLUMNFAMILY. Valid table names are strings of alphanumeric characters and underscores, which begin with a letter. If you add the keyspace name followed by a period to the name of the table, Cassandra creates the table in the specified keyspace, but does not change the current keyspace; otherwise, if you do not use a keyspace name, Cassandra creates the table within the current keyspace.  

Defining a primary key column 

The only schema information that must be defined for a table is the primary key and its associated data type. Unlike earlier versions, CQL 3 does not require a column in the table that is not part of the primary key. A primary key can have any number (1 or more) of component columns.

If the primary key consists of only one column, you can use the keywords, PRIMARY KEY, after the column definition:

  user_name varchar PRIMARY KEY,
  password varchar,
  gender varchar,
  session_token varchar,
  state varchar,
  birth_year bigint

Alternatively, you can declare the primary key consisting of only one column in the same way as you declare a compound primary key. Do not use a counter column for a key.

Using a compound primary key 

A compound primary key consists of more than one column. Cassandra treats the first column declared in a definition as the partition key. To create a compound primary key, use the keywords, PRIMARY KEY, followed by the comma-separated list of column names enclosed in parentheses.

  empID int,
  deptID int,
  first_name varchar,
  last_name varchar,
  PRIMARY KEY (empID, deptID)


Using a composite partition key 

A composite partition key is a partition key consisting of multiple columns. You use an extra set of parentheses to enclose columns that make up the composite partition key. The columns within the primary key definition but outside the nested parentheses are clustering columns. These columns form logical sets inside a partition to facilitate retrieval. 

  block_id uuid,
  breed text,
  color text,
  short_hair boolean,
  PRIMARY KEY ((block_id, breed), color, short_hair)

For example, the composite partition key consists of block_id and breed. The clustering columns, color and short_hair, determine the clustering order of the data. Generally, Cassandra will store columns having the same block_id but a different breed on different nodes, and columns having the same block_id and breed on the same node.

Defining a column 

You assign columns a type during table creation. Column types, other than collection-type columns, are specified as a parenthesized, comma-separated list of column name and type pairs.

This example shows how to create a table that includes collection-type columns: map, set, and list.

  userid text PRIMARY KEY,
  first_name text,
  last_name text,
  emails set<text>,
  top_scores list<int>,
  todo map<timestamp, text>

Setting a table property 

Using the optional WITH clause and keyword arguments, you can configure caching, compaction, and a number of other operations that Cassandra performs on new table. You can use the WITH clause to specify the properties of tables listed in CQL table properties. Enclose a string property in single quotation marks. For example:

CREATE TABLE MonkeyTypes (
  block_id uuid,
  species text,
  alias text,
  population varint,
  PRIMARY KEY (block_id)
WITH comment='Important biological records'
AND read_repair_chance = 1.0;

  block_id uuid,
  species text,
  alias text,
  population varint,
  PRIMARY KEY (block_id)
) WITH compression =
    { 'sstable_compression' : 'DeflateCompressor', 'chunk_length_kb' : 64 }
  AND compaction =
    { 'class' : 'SizeTieredCompactionStrategy', 'min_threshold' : 6 };

You can specify using compact storage or clustering order using the WITH clause. 

Using compact storage 

The compact storage directive is used for backward compatibility of CQL 2 applications and data in the legacy (Thrift) storage engine format. To take advantage of CQL 3 capabilities, do not use this directive in new applications. When you create a table using compound primary keys, for every piece of data stored, the column name needs to be stored along with it. Instead of each non-primary key column being stored such that each column corresponds to one column on disk, an entire row is stored in a single column on disk, hence the name compact storage.

CREATE TABLE sblocks (
  block_id uuid,
  subblock_id uuid,
  data blob,
  PRIMARY KEY (block_id, subblock_id)

Using the compact storage directive prevents you from defining more than one column that is not part of a compound primary key. A compact table using a primary key that is not compound can have multiple columns that are not part of the primary key.

A compact table that uses a compound primary key must define at least one clustering column. Columns cannot be added nor removed after creation of a compact table. Unless you specify WITH COMPACT STORAGE, CQL creates a table with non-compact storage.

Using clustering order 

You can order query results to make use of the on-disk sorting of columns. You can order results in ascending or descending order. The ascending order will be more efficient than descending. If you need results in descending order, you can specify a clustering order to store columns on disk in the reverse order of the default. Descending queries will then be faster than ascending ones.

The following example shows a table definition that changes the clustering order to descending by insertion time.

CREATE TABLE timeseries (
  event_type text,
  insertion_time timestamp,
  event blob,
  PRIMARY KEY (event_type, insertion_time)