Easy Ways to Extract Column Names from Your SQLite Tables

sqlite Retrieving Column Names in SQLite: A Beginner's Guide 1. Using pragma_table_info:**

This built-in function provides detailed information about each column in a table. Replace "your_table_name" with your actual table name.

PRAGMA table_info("your_table_name");

This returns a table with columns like name (column name), type (data type), and notnull (nullable or not). Extract the name column for a list of column names.


PRAGMA table_info("customers");

Output (assuming a table named "customers"):

cid           name        type         notnull  dflt_value  pk
-------------- -------------- ----------- -------- ----------- --------
0             id            INTEGER      0         ""          1
1             name          TEXT         0         ""          0
2             email         TEXT         0         ""          0

Here, the column names are id, name, and email.

2. Using SELECT * (Limited Approach):

Executing SELECT * FROM your_table_name directly displays data, but the first row represents column names. However, this only works if you know the table beforehand and might not be ideal for large tables.


SELECT * FROM products;

Output (assuming a table named "products"):

product_id      name        price
----------- -------------- --------
1            Apple         2.99
2            Orange        1.50
3            Banana        0.75

Here, the column names are product_id, name, and price.

3. Using Programming Languages:**

When working with SQLite through programming languages like Python, you can access column names using library functions:


import sqlite3

conn = sqlite3.connect("database.db")
cursor = conn.cursor()
cursor.execute("SELECT * FROM your_table_name")

# Get column names:
column_names = [description[0] for description in cursor.description]



import java.sql.Connection;
import java.sql.DriverManager;
import java.sql.ResultSet;
import java.sql.ResultSetMetaData;

// ... (connection setup)

Statement stmt = conn.createStatement();
ResultSet rs = stmt.executeQuery("SELECT * FROM your_table_name");

// Get column names:
ResultSetMetaData rsmd = rs.getMetaData();
int colCount = rsmd.getColumnCount();
String[] columnNames = new String[colCount];

for (int i = 1; i <= colCount; i++) {
    columnNames[i - 1] = rsmd.getColumnName(i);


These examples demonstrate how to extract column names in different scenarios.

Related Issues and Solutions:
  • Case sensitivity: SQLite is case-sensitive. Ensure you use the exact column names when referencing them in queries.
  • Large tables: Using SELECT * for large tables can be slow and inefficient. Prefer pragma_table_info or programming language methods.
  • Dynamic table names: If table names are dynamic, use string formatting or variables within your queries or code.

I hope this comprehensive explanation, along with examples, helps you retrieve column names in SQLite effectively!