Inserts an entire row or upserts data into existing rows.

Inserts an entire row or upserts data into an existing row, using the full primary key. Requires a value for each component of the primary key, but not for any other columns. Missing values are set to null.

INSERT returns no results unless IF NOT EXISTS is used.
  • Insert does not support counter columns use UPDATE instead.
  • A PRIMARY KEY consists of a the partition key followed by the clustering columns. You can only insert values smaller than 64 kB into a clustering column.


INSERT INTO [keyspace_name.] table_name (column_list) 
VALUES (column_values) 
[USING TTL seconds | TIMESTAMP epoch_in_microseconds] 
Table 1. Legend
Syntax conventions Description
UPPERCASE Literal keyword.
Lowercase Not literal.
Italics Variable value. Replace with a user-defined value.
[] Optional. Square brackets ( [] ) surround optional command arguments. Do not type the square brackets.
( ) Group. Parentheses ( ( ) ) identify a group to choose from. Do not type the parentheses.
| Or. A vertical bar ( | ) separates alternative elements. Type any one of the elements. Do not type the vertical bar.
... Repeatable. An ellipsis ( ... ) indicates that you can repeat the syntax element as often as required.
'Literal string' Single quotation ( ' ) marks must surround literal strings in CQL statements. Use single quotation marks to preserve upper case.
{ key : value } Map collection. Braces ( { } ) enclose map collections or key value pairs. A colon separates the key and the value.
<datatype1,datatype2> Set, list, map, or tuple. Angle brackets ( < > ) enclose data types in a set, list, map, or tuple. Separate the data types with a comma.
cql_statement; End CQL statement. A semicolon ( ; ) terminates all CQL statements.
[--] Separate the command line options from the command arguments with two hyphens ( -- ). This syntax is useful when arguments might be mistaken for command line options.
' <schema> ... </schema> ' Search CQL only: Single quotation marks ( ' ) surround an entire XML schema declaration.
@xml_entity='xml_entity_type' Search CQL only: Identify the entity and literal value to overwrite the XML element in the schema and solrConfig files.
Comma separated list of columns. All PRIMARY KEY fields are required. Nulls are inserted into any static columns that are excluded.

For each column, enter the corresponding list of values. Use the same order as the column_list.

Enter data using the following syntax:
  • a literal
  • a collection:
    Type Description
    set Enter values between curly braces:
    { literal [, ...] }
    list Enter values between square brackets:
    [literal [, ...]]
    map Enter values between curly braces:
    { key : value [, ...] }
TTL seconds

Set TTL in seconds. After TTL expires, inserted data is automatically marked as deleted (with a tombstone). The TTL settings applies only to the inserted data, not the entire column. Any subsequent updates to the column resets the TTL. By default, values never expire.

You can set a default TTL for an entire table by setting the table's default_time_to_live property. Setting TTL on a column using the INSERT or UPDATE command overrides the table TTL.

Inserts a new row of data if no rows match the PRIMARY KEY values.
TIMESTAMP epoch_in_microseconds
Marks inserted data (write time) with TIMESTAMP. Enter the time since epoch (January 1, 1970) in microseconds. By default, Cassandra uses the actual time of write.
Restriction: INSERT does not support IF NOT EXISTS and USING TIMESTAMP in the same statement.


Specifying TTL and TIMESTAMP

Insert a cyclist name using both a TTL and timestamp.

INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_name (id, lastname, firstname)
  VALUES (6ab09bec-e68e-48d9-a5f8-97e6fb4c9b47, 'KRUIKSWIJK','Steven')
  USING TTL 86400 AND TIMESTAMP 123456789;
  • Time-to-live (TTL) in seconds
  • Timestamp in microseconds since epoch

Inserting values into a collection (set and map)

To insert data into a collection, enclose values in curly brackets. Set values must be unique. Example: insert a list of categories for a cyclist.
INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_categories (id,lastname,categories)
    {'GC', 'Time-trial', 'Sprint'});
Insert a map named teams that lists two recent team memberships for the user VOS.
INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_teams (id,lastname,teams)
    { 2015 : 'Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team', 
      2014 : 'Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team' });

The size of one item in a collection is limited to 64K.

To insert data into a collection column of a user-defined type, enclose components of the type in parentheses within the curly brackets, as shown in "Using a user-defined type."

Inserting a row only if it does not already exist

Add IF NOT EXISTS to the command to ensure that the operation is not performed if a row with the same primary key already exists:

INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_name (id, lastname, firstname) 
   VALUES (c4b65263-fe58-4846-83e8-f0e1c13d518f, 'RATTO', 'Rissella') 
Without IF NOT EXISTS, the command proceeds with no standard output. If IF NOT EXISTS returns true (if there is no row with this primary key), standard output displays a table like the following:
If, however, the row does already exist, the command fails, and standard out displays a table with the value false in the [applied] column, and the values that were not inserted, as in the following example:
 [applied] | id                                   | firstname | lastname
     False | c4b65263-fe58-4846-83e8-f0e1c13d518f |  Rissella |    RATTO
Note: Using IF NOT EXISTS incurs a performance hit associated with using Paxos internally. For information about Paxos, see Cassandra 3.0 documentation.