Produces a data.frame that describes the output of a query. The data.frame should have as many rows as there are output fields in the result set, and each column in the data.frame describes an aspect of the result set field (field name, type, etc.)

dbColumnInfo(res, ...)



An object inheriting from DBIResult.


Other arguments passed on to methods.



returns a data frame with at least two columns "name" and "type" (in that order) (and optional columns that start with a dot). The "name" and "type" columns contain the names and types of the R columns of the data frame that is returned from dbFetch(). The "type" column is of type character and only for information. Do not compute on the "type" column, instead use dbFetch(res, n = 0)

to create a zero-row data frame initialized with the correct data types.

The data retrieval flow

This section gives a complete overview over the flow for the execution of queries that return tabular data.

Most of this flow, except calling dbBind(), is implemented by dbGetQuery(), which should be sufficient unless you want to access the results in a paged way or you have a parameterized query. This flow requires an active connection established by dbConnect(). See also vignette("dbi-advanced") for a walkthrough.

  1. Use dbSendQuery() to create a result set object of class DBIResult.

  2. Optionally, bind query parameters with dbBind(). This is required only if the query contains placeholders such as ? or $1, depending on the database backend.

  3. Optionally, use dbColumnInfo() to retrieve the structure of the result set without retrieving actual data.

  4. Use dbFetch() to get the entire result set, a page of results, or the remaining rows. Fetching zero rows is also possible to retrieeve the structure of the result set as a data frame. This step can be called multiple times. Only forward paging is supported, you need to cache previous pages if you need to navigate backwards.

  5. Use dbHasCompleted() to tell when you're done. This method returns TRUE if no more rows are available for fetching.

  6. Use dbClearResult() to clean up the result set object. This step is mandatory even if no rows have been fetched or if an error has occured during the processing. It is good practice to use on.exit() or withr::defer() to ensure that this step is always executed.

Failure modes

An attempt to query columns for a closed result set raises an error.


A column named row_names is treated like any other column.

The column names are always consistent with the data returned by dbFetch().

If the query returns unnamed columns, non-empty and non-NA names are assigned.

Column names that correspond to SQL or R keywords are left unchanged.


con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT 1 AS a, 2 AS b")
#>   name    type
#> 1    a integer
#> 2    b integer
#>   a b
#> 1 1 2