sq inspect inspects metadata (schema/structure, tables, columns) for a source, or for an individual table. When used with --json, the output of sq inspect can be fed into other tools such as jq to enable complex data pipelines.

Let’s start off with a single source, a Postgres Sakila database:

# Start the Postgres container
$ docker run -d -p 5432:5432 sakiladb/postgres:12

# Add the source
$ sq add postgres://sakila:p_ssW0rd@localhost/sakila --handle @sakila_pg
@sakila_pg  postgres  sakila@localhost/sakila

Inspect source

Use sq inspect @sakila_pg to inspect the source.

This output includes the source metadata, and the schema structure (tables, columns, etc.).

--text (default)

$ sq inspect @sakila_pg

sq inspect source text


To see more detail, use the --verbose (-v) flag with the --text format.

sq inspect source verbose


To see the full output, use the --yaml (-y) flag. YAML has the advantage of being reasonably human-readable.

sq inspect source yaml


The --json (-j) format renders the same content as --yaml, but is more suited for use with other tools, such as jq.

sq_inspect_source json

Here’s an example of using sq with jq to list all table names:

$ sq inspect -j | jq -r '.tables[] | .name'


See more examples in the cookbook.

Source overview

Sometimes you don’t need the full schema, but still want to view the source metadata. Use the --overview (-O) mode to see just the top-level metadata. This excludes the schema structure, and is also much faster to complete.

sq inspect overview text

Well, that’s not a lot of detail. The --yaml output is more useful:


The --json format produces similar output.

Database properties

The --dbprops mode displays the underlying database’s properties, server config, and the like.

$ sq inspect @sakila_pg --dbprops


Use --dbprops with --yaml or --json to get the properties in machine-readable format. Note that while the returned structure is generally a set of key-value pairs, the specifics can vary significantly from one driver type to another. Here’s --dbprops from a SQLite database (in --yaml format):

sq inspect source dbprops sqlite yaml


The --catalogs mode lists the catalogs (databases) available in the source.

sq inspect source catalogs pg yaml


Like --catalogs, the --schemata mode lists the schemas available in the source.

sq inspect source schemata pg yaml

To list the schemas in a specific catalog, supply CATALOG. to the --src.schema flag:

# List the schemas in the "inventory" catalog.
$ sq inspect @sakila/pg12 --schemata --src.schema inventory.

Inspect table

In additional to inspecting a source, you can drill down on a specific table.

$ sq inspect

sq inspect table text

Use --verbose mode for more detail:

sq inspect table text verbose

And, as you might expect, you can also see the output in --json and --yaml formats.

sq inspect table json

Override active schema

By default, sq inspect uses the active schema for the source. You can override the active schema (and catalog) using the --src.schema flag. See the sources section for a fuller explanation of --src.schema, but here’s a quick example of inspecting Postgres’s information_schema schema:

$ sq inspect @sakila/pg12 --src.schema sakila.information_schema
SOURCE        DRIVER    NAME    FQ NAME                    SIZE    TABLES  VIEWS  LOCATION
@sakila/pg12  postgres  sakila  sakila.information_schema  16.6MB  7       61     postgres://sakila:xxxxx@

NAME                                   TYPE   ROWS   COLS
sql_features                           table  716    feature_id, feature_name, sub_feature_id, sub_feature_name, is_supported, is_verified_by, comments
sql_implementation_info                table  12     implementation_info_id, implementation_info_name, integer_value, character_value, comments
sql_languages                          table  4      sql_language_source, sql_language_year, sql_language_conformance, sql_language_integrity, sql_language_implementation, sql_language_binding_style, sql_language_programming_language
sql_packages                           table  10     feature_id, feature_name, is_supported, is_verified_by, comments
sql_parts                              table  9      feature_id, feature_name, is_supported, is_verified_by, comments
sql_sizing                             table  23     sizing_id, sizing_name, supported_value, comments
sql_sizing_profiles                    table  0      sizing_id, sizing_name, profile_id, required_value, comments
_pg_foreign_data_wrappers              view   0      oid, fdwowner, fdwoptions, foreign_data_wrapper_catalog, foreign_da