Inserts an entire row or upserts data into an existing row; statement must include the full Primary_key. Requires a value for each component of the primary key, but not for any other columns. Missing columns are unset by default and do not create tombstones in the database. Returns no results unless IF NOT EXISTS is used.



INSERT [ JSON ] INTO [<keyspace_name>.]<table_name>
  [ <column_list> VALUES <column_values> ]
  [ USING [ TTL <seconds> ] [ [ AND ] TIMESTAMP <epoch_in_microseconds> ] ] ;

INSERT also supports JSON syntax to provide manual testing and troubleshooting from the command line, see Inserting JSON formatted values.

To modify a base table that has a materialized view (MV) using an INSERT or UPDATE command if access permissions are enabled, a user must be granted MODIFY or ALL PERMISSIONS on the base table.

Syntax legend
Syntax conventions Description


Literal keyword.


Not literal.

< >

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.


Set, list, map, or tuple. Angle brackets ( < > ) enclose data types in a set, list, map, or tuple. Separate the data types with a comma.


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.


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 a literal or the following syntax for collections:

  • 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.

The database storage engine can only encode TTL timestamps through January 19 2038 03:14:07 UTC due to the Year 2038 problem. The TTL date overflow policy determines whether requests with expiration timestamps later than the maximum date are rejected or inserted. See -Dcassandra.expiration_date_overflow_policy.


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, the actual time of write is used.

Restriction: INSERT does not support IF NOT EXISTS and USING TIMESTAMP in the same statement.


Specifying time-to-live (TTL) and timestamp

Insert a cyclist name using both a TTL and timestamp.

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

  • Timestamp in microseconds since epoch

Specifying time-to-live (TTL) and timestamp in collections.

Insert a cyclist name using both a TTL and timestamp for a sponsorship set collection.

INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_sponsors_expire (
  cyclist_name, sponsorship
  'PRIETO, Marcela',
  { 'Castrelli', 'Alfa Romeo' }
AND TTL 10000;
  • 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. Insert a list of teams as a set for the cyclist <VOS>. The set is defined in the table as teams set<text>.

INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_career_teams (
  id, lastname, teams
    'Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team',
    'Rabobank-Liv Giant',
    'Rabobank Women Team',
    'Nederland bloeit'

Insert data into a map named teams that lists two recent team memberships for the cyclist <VOS>. The map is defined in the table as teams map<int, text>.

INSERT INTO cycling.cyclist_teams (
  id, firstname, 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
  c4b65263-fe58-4846-83e8-f0e1c13d518f, 'RATTO', 'Rissella'

Without IF NOT EXISTS, the command proceeds with no standard output. If IF NOT EXISTS is included and there is no row with the same primary key, the command is performed and returns true in the [applied] column of the results. For example:


With IF NOT EXISTS, if the row already exists, the command returns false in the [applied] column and returns the values for the existing row. For example:

 [applied] | id                                   | firstname | lastname
     False | c4b65263-fe58-4846-83e8-f0e1c13d518f |  Rissella |    RATTO

Using IF NOT EXISTS incurs a performance hit associated with using Paxos internally. Linearizable consistency.

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