David Radcliffe

Importing csv data to rails using rake

Often part of building a website is being able to import static data into the database. Usually the data is in csv format. Here’s a quick example of how to make this work.


  • db/teams.csv - I like to drop my data here. If its a huge file, you might want to add it to your .gitignore file to keep it out of git.

  • lib/tasks/import.rake - This is where we will define our rake task.


require 'csv'

desc "Import teams from csv file"
task :import => [:environment] do

  file = "db/teams.csv"
  CSV.foreach(file, :headers => true) do |row|
    Team.create {
      :name => row[1],
      :league => row[2],
      :some_other_data => row[4]



Make sure you carefully match up the rows. Remember the array is base 0. If your file doesn’t have a header row, remove set :headers to false in the foreach.


From the terminal, change to the app directory and run rake import or bundle exec rake import.


CSV library docs - http://ruby-doc.org/stdlib-1.9.2/libdoc/csv/rdoc/CSV.html

Rake docs - http://rake.rubyforge.org/