Amazon Athena
User Guide


Creates a table with the name and the parameters that you specify.


CREATE [EXTERNAL] TABLE [IF NOT EXISTS] [db_name.]table_name [(col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment] [, ...] )] [COMMENT table_comment] [PARTITIONED BY (col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment], ...)] [ROW FORMAT row_format] [STORED AS file_format] [WITH SERDEPROPERTIES (...)] ] [LOCATION 's3_loc'] [TBLPROPERTIES ( ['has_encrypted_data'='true | false',] ['classification'='aws_glue_classification',] property_name=property_value [, ...] ) ]



Specifies that the table is based on an underlying data file that exists in Amazon S3, in the LOCATION that you specify. When you create an external table, the data referenced must comply with the default format or the format that you specify with the ROW FORMAT, STORED AS, and WITH SERDEPROPERTIES clauses.


Causes the error message to be suppressed if a table named table_name already exists.


Specifies a name for the table to be created. The optional db_name parameter specifies the database where the table exists. If omitted, the current database is assumed. If the table name includes numbers, enclose table_name in quotation marks, for example "table123". If table_name begins with an underscore, use backticks, for example, `_mytable`. Special characters (other than underscore) are not supported.

Athena table names are case-insensitive; however, if you work with Apache Spark, Spark requires lowercase table names.

[ ( col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment] [, ...] ) ]

Specifies the name for each column to be created, along with the column's data type. Column names do not allow special characters other than underscore (_). If col_name begins with an underscore, enclose the column name in backticks, for example `_mycolumn`. The data_type value can be any of the following:

  • primitive_type


    • INT

    • BIGINT


    • DOUBLE

    • FLOAT

    • STRING


    • DECIMAL [ (precision, scale) ]

    • DATE (not supported for PARQUET file_format)

    • CHAR. Fixed length character data, with a specified length between 1 and 255, such as char(10). For more information, see CHAR Hive Data Type.

    • VARCHAR. Variable length character data, with a specified length between 1 and 65535, such as varchar(10). For more information, see VARCHAR Hive Data Type.

  • array_type
    • ARRAY < data_type >

  • map_type
    • MAP < primitive_type, data_type >

  • struct_type
    • STRUCT < col_name : data_type [COMMENT col_comment] [, ...] >

[COMMENT table_comment]

Creates the comment table property and populates it with the table_comment you specify.

[PARTITIONED BY (col_name data_type [ COMMENT col_comment ], ... ) ]

Creates a partitioned table with one or more partition columns that have the col_name, data_type and col_comment specified. A table can have one or more partitions, which consist of a distinct column name and value combination. A separate data directory is created for each specified combination, which can improve query performance in some circumstances. Partitioned columns don't exist within the table data itself. If you use a value for col_name that is the same as a table column, you get an error. For more information, see Partitioning Data.


After you create a table with partitions, run a subsequent query that consists of the MSCK REPAIR TABLE clause to refresh partition metadata, for example, MSCK REPAIR TABLE cloudfront_logs;.

[ROW FORMAT row_format]

Specifies the row format of the table and its underlying source data if applicable. For row_format, you can specify one or more delimiters with the DELIMITED clause or, alternatively, use the SERDE clause as described below. If ROW FORMAT is omitted or ROW FORMAT DELIMITED is specified, a native SerDe is used.





  • [NULL DEFINED AS char] -- (Note: Available in Hive 0.13 and later)


  • SERDE 'serde_name' [WITH SERDEPROPERTIES ("property_name" = "property_value", "property_name" = "property_value" [, ...] )]

    The serde_name indicates the SerDe to use. The WITH SERDEPROPERTIES clause allows you to provide one or more custom properties allowed by the SerDe.

[STORED AS file_format]

Specifies the file format for table data. If omitted, TEXTFILE is the default. Options for file_format are:




  • ORC


  • AVRO

  • INPUTFORMAT input_format_classname OUTPUTFORMAT output_format_classname

[LOCATION 'S3_loc']

Specifies the location of the underlying data in Amazon S3 from which the table is created, for example, `s3://mystorage/`. For more information about considerations such as data format and permissions, see Requirements for Tables in Athena and Data in Amazon S3.

Use a trailing slash for your folder or bucket. Do not use file names or glob characters.

Use: s3://mybucket/myfolder/

Don't use: s3://path_to_bucket s3://path_to_bucket/* s3://path_to-bucket/mydatafile.dat

[TBLPROPERTIES ( ['has_encrypted_data'='true | false',] ['classification'='aws_glue_classification',] property_name=property_value [, ...] ) ]

Specifies custom metadata key-value pairs for the table definition in addition to predefined table properties, such as "comment".

Athena has a built-in property, has_encrypted_data. Set this property to true to indicate that the underlying dataset specified by LOCATION is encrypted. If omitted, false is assumed. If omitted or set to false when underlying data is encrypted, the query results in an error. For more information, see Configuring Encryption Options.

To run ETL jobs, AWS Glue requires that you create a table with the classification property to indicate the data type for AWS Glue as csv, parquet, orc, avro, or json. For example, 'classification'='csv'. ETL jobs will fail if you do not specify this property. You can subsequently specify it using the AWS Glue console, API, or CLI. For more information, see Using AWS Glue Jobs for ETL with Athena and Authoring Jobs in Glue in the AWS Glue Developer Guide.


CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE IF NOT EXISTS mydatabase.cloudfront_logs ( Date DATE, Time STRING, Location STRING, Bytes INT, RequestIP STRING, Method STRING, Host STRING, Uri STRING, Status INT, Referrer STRING, os STRING, Browser STRING, BrowserVersion STRING ) ROW FORMAT SERDE 'org.apache.hadoop.hive.serde2.RegexSerDe' WITH SERDEPROPERTIES ( "input.regex" = "^(?!#)([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+([^ ]+)\\s+[^\(]+[\(]([^\;]+).*\%20([^\/]+)[\/](.*)$" ) LOCATION 's3://athena-examples/cloudfront/plaintext/';

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