SQLite is a lightweight and self-contained database engine used by many applications for basic local data storage needs. The simplicity of SQLite makes it easy to get started creating databases.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk through how to create a SQLite database from scratch using the command line. Let’s get started!
Pre-requisites for Creating a SQLite Database
SQLite is readily available on most modern operating systems. Here’s what you’ll need:
- SQLite 3 – The base SQLite library is available through your package manager or as a download from sqlite.org
- Command Line Access – Usually the Terminal app on Mac/Linux, or Command Prompt on Windows
- Optional SQLite Tools – User-friendly GUI tools like DB Browser for SQLite
That’s it! The bare essentials to start working with SQLite.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a SQLite Database
The main SQLite command line tool is called sqlite3. We’ll use it to create a new database file.
Opening the Command Prompt or Terminal
First, find the Terminal (Mac/Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows) app. Navigate to the directory where you want to create the SQLite database.
For example, to create a database in your user’s home folder:
Basic Syntax for Creating a Database
The basic sqlite3 syntax for creating a new SQLite database is:
database_name.db is replaced with your desired database name and file extension. Common extensions are
This will create a new empty database called
mydatabase.db in the current directory.
Also read: SQLite Syntax: A Complete Beginner’s Guide
Creating a Database in a Specific Directory
You can also specify a full path when creating the SQLite database. This allows you to organize in a custom folder structure.
For example, to create a database in a
# Mac/Linux sqlite3 ~/data/mydatabase.db # Windows sqlite3 %HOMEPATH%\data\mydatabase.db
Executing the Create Command
After typing the
sqlite3 create statement, you need to execute it.
On Linux/Mac provide the command and press Enter.
On Windows type the command and terminate it with a semicolon ; then press Enter.
# Mac/Linux sqlite3 mydatabase.db # Windows sqlite3 mydatabase.db;
That semicolon is easy to forget on Windows! But it’s required for sqlite3 commands to run.
Also read: SQLite Data Types: An In-Depth Guide
Verifying Database Creation
To confirm your new database was created, exit sqlite3 and run:
# Show all sqlite3 databases in current directory sqlite3 .databases
You should see your new database name listed!
Advanced SQLite Database Creation
sqlite3 command makes a great starting point. But SQLite offers other powerful options for creating and managing databases.
Using ATTACH DATABASE Command
.attach command attaches an additional database file to the current sqlite3 connection. This allows accessing multiple databases through one sqlite3 session.
sqlite> .open my_main.db sqlite> .databases main: my_main.db sqlite> .attach 'path/to/other.db' as 'other' sqlite> .databases main: my_main.db other: path/to/other.db
Now you can reference tables across both databases by prefixing them with
Creating a Database Using Programming Languages
While the sqlite3 CLI provides full control, most SQLite usage comes from within an application. All major programming languages have SQLite libraries available allowing you to create and manage SQLite databases entirely through code.
For example, here’s how to create a SQLite database called
mydatabase.db using Python and Node.js.
# Python import sqlite3 connection = sqlite3.connect('mydatabase.db') connection.close()
// Node.js const sqlite3 = require('sqlite3').verbose(); let db = new sqlite3.Database('mydatabase.db'); db.close();
This opens up many possibilities like creating tables, inserting data, and running queries all from within your own application!
Common Errors and Troubleshooting
When creating your first SQLite database, you might run into some speed bumps. Here are some common errors and fixes:
unable to open database file
Check that the database file name was entered correctly. SQLite is case sensitive.
database is locked
A sqlite3 connection to the database is still open. Exit any other programs using that database.
Windows – command does not run
Make sure to terminate sqlite3 commands with
; semicolon before pressing ENTER.
The user running sqlite3 may not have write permission to the database file location. Adjust permissions accordingly.
If you run into any other issues, don’t hesitate to search online SQLite communities and documentation for answers!
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s review some common FAQs about creating SQLite databases:
How do I create a new database in SQLite?
sqlite3 new_db.db command! SQLite will create the database file automatically.
How do I create a .DB file?
.db file extension is just convention. You can name SQLite databases whatever you want like
Where is DB created in SQLite?
SQLite databases are stored as single disk files. They’ll be created in the directory path you specify.
How to create a SQLite database with DB Browser?
DB Browser for SQLite provides an easy visual interface. Just click “New Database” and save the file.
And with that, you’ve got the basics for creating your first SQLite database! We walked through using the sqlite3 CLI, executed simple commands, and saw examples building databases inside applications.
SQLite’s lightweight and self-contained nature makes spinning up databases a breeze. Whether it’s for a desktop app, mobile app, web app, or just your own local data – SQLite can fit the need. I encourage you to start building SQLite databases for your next project and see how they enable your application ideas!