Export to Cypher Script

The export to Cypher procedures export data as Cypher statements that can then be used to import the data into another Neo4j instance.

When exporting nodes, if a node label does not contain a unique constraint the exporter will add a UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL label and UNIQUE IMPORT ID property to those nodes to ensure uniqueness of nodes when the export script is executed on a new database. The final step of the export script removes the UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL label and UNIQUE IMPORT ID, so they won’t exist in the new database once the script has finished executing.

If a node label does have a unique constraint, the property on which the unique constraint is defined will be used to ensure uniqueness.

Available Procedures

The table below describes the available procedures:

type qualified name signature description

procedure

apoc.export.cypher.all

apoc.export.cypher.all(file = :: STRING?, config = {} :: MAP?) :: (file :: STRING?, batches :: INTEGER?, source :: STRING?, format :: STRING?, nodes :: INTEGER?, relationships :: INTEGER?, properties :: INTEGER?, time :: INTEGER?, rows :: INTEGER?, batchSize :: INTEGER?, cypherStatements :: STRING?, nodeStatements :: STRING?, relationshipStatements :: STRING?, schemaStatements :: STRING?, cleanupStatements :: STRING?)

apoc.export.cypher.all(file,config) - exports whole database incl. indexes as cypher statements to the provided file

procedure

apoc.export.cypher.data

apoc.export.cypher.data(nodes :: LIST? OF NODE?, rels :: LIST? OF RELATIONSHIP?, file = :: STRING?, config = {} :: MAP?) :: (file :: STRING?, batches :: INTEGER?, source :: STRING?, format :: STRING?, nodes :: INTEGER?, relationships :: INTEGER?, properties :: INTEGER?, time :: INTEGER?, rows :: INTEGER?, batchSize :: INTEGER?, cypherStatements :: STRING?, nodeStatements :: STRING?, relationshipStatements :: STRING?, schemaStatements :: STRING?, cleanupStatements :: STRING?)

apoc.export.cypher.data(nodes,rels,file,config) - exports given nodes and relationships incl. indexes as cypher statements to the provided file

procedure

apoc.export.cypher.graph

apoc.export.cypher.graph(graph :: MAP?, file = :: STRING?, config = {} :: MAP?) :: (file :: STRING?, batches :: INTEGER?, source :: STRING?, format :: STRING?, nodes :: INTEGER?, relationships :: INTEGER?, properties :: INTEGER?, time :: INTEGER?, rows :: INTEGER?, batchSize :: INTEGER?, cypherStatements :: STRING?, nodeStatements :: STRING?, relationshipStatements :: STRING?, schemaStatements :: STRING?, cleanupStatements :: STRING?)

apoc.export.cypher.graph(graph,file,config) - exports given graph object incl. indexes as cypher statements to the provided file

procedure

apoc.export.cypher.query

apoc.export.cypher.query(query :: STRING?, file = :: STRING?, config = {} :: MAP?) :: (file :: STRING?, batches :: INTEGER?, source :: STRING?, format :: STRING?, nodes :: INTEGER?, relationships :: INTEGER?, properties :: INTEGER?, time :: INTEGER?, rows :: INTEGER?, batchSize :: INTEGER?, cypherStatements :: STRING?, nodeStatements :: STRING?, relationshipStatements :: STRING?, schemaStatements :: STRING?, cleanupStatements :: STRING?)

apoc.export.cypher.query(query,file,config) - exports nodes and relationships from the cypher statement incl. indexes as cypher statements to the provided file

procedure

apoc.export.cypher.schema

apoc.export.cypher.schema(file = :: STRING?, config = {} :: MAP?) :: (file :: STRING?, batches :: INTEGER?, source :: STRING?, format :: STRING?, nodes :: INTEGER?, relationships :: INTEGER?, properties :: INTEGER?, time :: INTEGER?, rows :: INTEGER?, batchSize :: INTEGER?, cypherStatements :: STRING?, nodeStatements :: STRING?, relationshipStatements :: STRING?, schemaStatements :: STRING?, cleanupStatements :: STRING?)

apoc.export.cypher.schema(file,config) - exports all schema indexes and constraints to cypher

The labels exported are ordered alphabetically. The output of labels() function is not sorted, use it in combination with apoc.coll.sort().

Configuration parameters

The procedures support the following config parameters:

Table 1. Config parameters
name type default description

format

String

cypher-shell

Export format. The following values are supported:

  • cypher-shell - for import with Cypher Shell

  • neo4j-shell - for import with Neo4j Shell and partly the apoc.cypher.runFile procedure

  • plain - exports plain Cypher without begin, commit, or await commands. For import with Neo4j Browser

cypherFormat

String

create

Cypher update operation type. The following values are supported:

  • create - only uses the CREATE clause

  • updateAll - uses MERGE instead of CREATE

  • addStructure - uses MATCH for nodes and MERGE for relationships

  • updateStructure - uses MERGE and MATCH for nodes and relationships

separateFiles

boolean

false

Export to separate files? This is useful for later use with the apoc.cypher.runFiles and apoc.cypher.runSchemaFiles procedures.

useOptimizations

Map

{type: "UNWIND_BATCH", unwindBatchSize: 20}

Optimizations to use for Cypher statement generation. type supports the following values:

  • NONE - exports the file with CREATE statement

  • UNWIND_BATCH - exports the file by batching the entities with the UNWIND method as explained in Michael Hunger’s article on fast batched writes.

  • UNWIND_BATCH_PARAMS - similar to UNWIND_BATCH, but also uses parameters where appropriate

awaitForIndexes

Long

300

Timeout to use for db.awaitIndexes when using format: "cypher-shell"

Exporting to a file

By default exporting to the file system is disabled. We can enable it by setting the following property in apoc.conf:

apoc.conf
apoc.export.file.enabled=true

If we try to use any of the export procedures without having first set this property, we’ll get the following error message:

Failed to invoke procedure: Caused by: java.lang.RuntimeException: Export to files not enabled, please set apoc.export.file.enabled=true in your neo4j.conf

Export files are written to the import directory, which is defined by the dbms.directories.import property. This means that any file path that we provide is relative to this directory. If we try to write to an absolute path, such as /tmp/filename, we’ll get an error message similar to the following one:

Failed to invoke procedure: Caused by: java.io.FileNotFoundException: /path/to/neo4j/import/tmp/fileName (No such file or directory)

We can enable writing to anywhere on the file system by setting the following property in apoc.conf:

apoc.conf
apoc.import.file.use_neo4j_config=false

Neo4j will now be able to write anywhere on the file system, so be sure that this is your intention before setting this property.

Exporting a stream

If we don’t want to export to a file, we can stream results back by providing a file name of null.

By default all Cypher statements will be returned in a single row in the cypherStatements column.

The following exports the whole database as a single row
CALL apoc.export.cypher.all(null);

If we’re exporting a large database, we can batch these statements across multiple rows by providing the streamStatements:true config and configuring the batchSize config.

The following exports the whole database across multiple rows based on batch size
CALL apoc.export.cypher.all(null, {
    streamStatements: true,
    batchSize: 100
});

Examples

This section includes examples showing how to use the export to Cypher procedures. These examples are based on a movies dataset, which can be imported by running the following Cypher query:

CREATE (TheMatrix:Movie {title:'The Matrix', released:1999, tagline:'Welcome to the Real World'})
CREATE (Keanu:Person {name:'Keanu Reeves', born:1964})
CREATE (Carrie:Person {name:'Carrie-Anne Moss', born:1967})
CREATE (Laurence:Person {name:'Laurence Fishburne', born:1961})
CREATE (Hugo:Person {name:'Hugo Weaving', born:1960})
CREATE (LillyW:Person {name:'Lilly Wachowski', born:1967})
CREATE (LanaW:Person {name:'Lana Wachowski', born:1965})
CREATE (JoelS:Person {name:'Joel Silver', born:1952})
CREATE
(Keanu)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Neo']}]->(TheMatrix),
(Carrie)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Trinity']}]->(TheMatrix),
(Laurence)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Morpheus']}]->(TheMatrix),
(Hugo)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Agent Smith']}]->(TheMatrix),
(LillyW)-[:DIRECTED]->(TheMatrix),
(LanaW)-[:DIRECTED]->(TheMatrix),
(JoelS)-[:PRODUCED]->(TheMatrix);

The Neo4j Browser visualization below shows the imported graph:

Export to Cypher Shell format

By default, the Cypher statements generated by the export to Cypher procedures are in the Cypher Shell format.

The following query exports the whole database to all.cypher in the default cypher-shell format using the default UNWIND_BATCH optimization
// default config populated for illustration
CALL apoc.export.cypher.all("all.cypher", {
    format: "cypher-shell",
    useOptimizations: {type: "UNWIND_BATCH", unwindBatchSize: 20}
})
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 2. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"all.cypher"

1

"database: nodes(8), rels(7)"

"cypher"

8

7

21

10

15

20000

The contents of all.cypher, with extra lines added for readability, are shown below:

all.cypher
:begin
CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
:commit

:begin
UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;

UNWIND [{_id:1, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}}, {_id:2, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}}, {_id:3, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}, {_id:4, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}}, {_id:5, properties:{born:1967, name:"Lilly Wachowski"}}, {_id:6, properties:{born:1965, name:"Lana Wachowski"}}, {_id:7, properties:{born:1952, name:"Joel Silver"}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;
:commit

:begin
UNWIND [{start: {_id:1}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}}, {start: {_id:2}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}}, {start: {_id:3}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}}, {start: {_id:4}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:PRODUCED]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:5}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:6}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:DIRECTED]->(end) SET r += row.properties;
:commit

:begin
MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`)  WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`;
:commit

:begin
DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
:commit

This Cypher script executes 5 transactions, each surrounded by :begin and :commit commands. The transactions do the following:

  1. Create a unique constraint on the UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL label and UNIQUE IMPORT ID property

  2. Import the Person and Movie nodes

  3. Create ACTED_IN, PRODUCED, and DIRECTED relationships between these nodes

  4. Remove the UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL label and UNIQUE IMPORT ID property from the nodes

  5. Drop the unique constraint on the UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL label and UNIQUE IMPORT ID property

This script can be executed using the Cypher Shell command line tool.

For example, we could import the contents of all.cypher into a Neo4j Aura database by running the following command:

cat all.cypher | ./bin/cypher-shell -a <bolt-url> -u neo4j -p <password> --format verbose

Don’t forget to replace <bolt-url> and <password> with the appropriate credentials.

If we run this command against an empty database, we’ll see the following output:

0 rows available after 70 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Added 1 constraints
0 rows available after 16 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Added 2 nodes, Set 8 properties, Added 4 labels
0 rows available after 40 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Added 14 nodes, Set 42 properties, Added 28 labels
0 rows available after 51 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Created 8 relationships, Set 8 properties
0 rows available after 38 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Created 2 relationships
0 rows available after 38 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Created 4 relationships
0 rows available after 20 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Set 16 properties, Removed 16 labels
0 rows available after 3 ms, consumed after another 0 ms
Removed 1 constraints
Troubleshooting

If you are experimenting with imports that are failing you can add the --debug command line parameter, to see which statement was executed last and caused the failure.

Also check the memory configuration of your Neo4j instance, you might want to increase the HEAP size to 2–4GB using the dbms.memory.heap.max_size=2G setting in neo4j.conf.

We can also provide more memory to cypher-shell itself by prefixing the command with: JAVA_OPTS=-Xmx4G bin/cypher-shell …

If we don’t have file system access, or don’t want to write to a file for another reason, we can stream back the export statements.

The following query streams back the whole database in the cypherStatements column
CALL apoc.export.cypher.all(null, {
    batchSize: 5,
    streamStatements: true,
    format: "cypher-shell",
    useOptimizations: {type: "UNWIND_BATCH", unwindBatchSize: 5}
})
YIELD nodes, relationships, properties, cypherStatements
RETURN nodes, relationships, properties, cypherStatements;
Table 3. Results
nodes relationships properties cypherStatements

16

0

34

":begin CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.UNIQUE IMPORT ID) IS UNIQUE; :commit :begin UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:\"Welcome to the Real World\", title:\"The Matrix\", released:1999}}, {_id:1, properties:{tagline:\"Welcome to the Real World\", title:\"The Matrix\", released:1999}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie; UNWIND [{_id:35, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Carrie-Anne Moss\"}}, {_id:36, properties:{born:1961, name:\"Laurence Fishburne\"}}, {_id:37, properties:{born:1965, name:\"Lana Wachowski\"}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person; :commit :begin UNWIND [{_id:38, properties:{born:1964, name:\"Keanu Reeves\"}}, {_id:39, properties:{born:1952, name:\"Joel Silver\"}}, {_id:40, properties:{born:1960, name:\"Hugo Weaving\"}}, {_id:41, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Lilly Wachowski\"}}, {_id:42, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Carrie-Anne Moss\"}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person; :commit :begin UNWIND [{_id:43, properties:{born:1965, name:\"Lana Wachowski\"}}, {_id:50, properties:{born:1960, name:\"Hugo Weaving\"}}, {_id:51, properties:{born:1964, name:\"Keanu Reeves\"}}, {_id:57, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Lilly Wachowski\"}}, {_id:58, properties:{born:1961, name:\"Laurence Fishburne\"}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person; :commit :begin UNWIND [{_id:59, properties:{born:1952, name:\"Joel Silver\"}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person; :commit "

16

14

42

":begin UNWIND [{start: {_id:35}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:[\"Trinity\"]}}, {start: {_id:36}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:[\"Morpheus\"]}}, {start: {_id:50}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{roles:[\"Agent Smith\"]}}, {start: {_id:40}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:[\"Agent Smith\"]}}, {start: {_id:51}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{roles:[\"Neo\"]}}] AS row MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.start._id}) MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.end._id}) CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]→(end) SET r += row.properties; :commit :begin UNWIND [{start: {_id:42}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{roles:[\"Trinity\"]}}, {start: {_id:38}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:[\"Neo\"]}}, {start: {_id:58}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{roles:[\"Morpheus\"]}}] AS row MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.start._id}) MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.end._id}) CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]→(end) SET r += row.properties; UNWIND [{start: {_id:59}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:39}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}] AS row MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.start._id}) MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.end._id}) CREATE (start)-[r:PRODUCED]→(end) SET r += row.properties; :commit :begin UNWIND [{start: {_id:37}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:57}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:43}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:41}, end: {_id:1}, properties:{}}] AS row MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.start._id}) MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.end._id}) CREATE (start)-[r:DIRECTED]→(end) SET r += row.properties; :commit "

16

14

42

":begin MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) WITH n LIMIT 5 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.UNIQUE IMPORT ID; :commit :begin MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) WITH n LIMIT 5 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.UNIQUE IMPORT ID; :commit :begin MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) WITH n LIMIT 5 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.UNIQUE IMPORT ID; :commit :begin MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) WITH n LIMIT 5 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.UNIQUE IMPORT ID; :commit :begin DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.UNIQUE IMPORT ID) IS UNIQUE; :commit "

We can then copy/paste the content of the cypherStatements column (excluding the double quotes) into a Cypher Shell session, or into a local file that we stream into a Cypher Shell session.

Export to Neo4j Browser friendly format

The export to Cypher procedures support the config format: "plain", which is useful for later import using the Neo4j Browser.

The following query exports the whole database to all-plain.cypher
CALL apoc.export.cypher.all("all-plain.cypher", {
    format: "plain",
    useOptimizations: {type: "UNWIND_BATCH", unwindBatchSize: 20}
})
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 4. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"all-plain.cypher"

1

"database: nodes(8), rels(7)"

"cypher"

8

7

21

9

15

20000

The contents of all-plain.cypher, with extra lines added for readability, are shown below:

all-plain.cypher
CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;

UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;

UNWIND [{_id:1, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}}, {_id:2, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}}, {_id:3, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}, {_id:4, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}}, {_id:5, properties:{born:1967, name:"Lilly Wachowski"}}, {_id:6, properties:{born:1965, name:"Lana Wachowski"}}, {_id:7, properties:{born:1952, name:"Joel Silver"}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:1}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}}, {start: {_id:2}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}}, {start: {_id:3}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}}, {start: {_id:4}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:PRODUCED]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:5}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}, {start: {_id:6}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:DIRECTED]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`)  WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`;

DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;

We can then take the all-plain.cypher file and drag it onto the Neo4j Browser window. We should then see the following prompt:

export cypher plain drag
Figure 1. Neo4j Browser prompt when we drag a file onto it

And if we click Paste in editor, the contents of the file will appear in the query editor:

export cypher plain editor
Figure 2. Neo4j Browser query editor with the contents of all-plain.cypher

We can then press the play button next in the editor and the data will be imported.

Export using different Cypher update formats

The export to Cypher procedures generate Cypher statements using the CREATE, MATCH and MERGE clauses. The format is configured by the cypherFormat parameter. The following values are supported:

  • create - only uses the CREATE clause (default)

  • updateAll - uses MERGE instead of CREATE

  • addStructure - uses MATCH for nodes and MERGE for relationships

  • updateStructure - uses MERGE and MATCH for nodes and relationships

If we’re exporting a database for the first time we should use the default create format, but for subsequent exports the other formats may be more suitable.

The following exports the ACTED_IN relationships and surrounding nodes to export-cypher-format-create.cypher using the create format
MATCH (person)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(movie)
WITH collect(DISTINCT person) + collect(DISTINCT  movie) AS importNodes, collect(r) AS importRels
CALL apoc.export.cypher.data(importNodes, importRels,
  "export-cypher-format-create.cypher",
  { format: "plain", cypherFormat: "create" })
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 5. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"export-cypher-format-create.cypher"

1

"data: nodes(5), rels(4)"

"cypher"

5

4

15

2

9

20000

export-cypher-format-create.cypher
CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;

UNWIND [{_id:7, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}},
        {_id:80, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}},
        {_id:27, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}},
        {_id:44, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:27}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}},
        {start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}},
        {start: {_id:44}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}},
        {start: {_id:80}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`)  WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`;
DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;

The creation of all graph entities uses the Cypher CREATE clause. If those entities may already exist in the destination database, we may choose to use another format. Using cypherFormat: "updateAll" means that the MERGE clause will be used instead of CREATE when creating entities.

The following exports the ACTED_IN relationships and surrounding nodes to export-cypher-format-create.cypher using the updateAll format
MATCH (person)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(movie)
WITH collect(DISTINCT person) + collect(DISTINCT  movie) AS importNodes, collect(r) AS importRels
CALL apoc.export.cypher.data(importNodes, importRels,
  "export-cypher-format-updateAll.cypher",
  { format: "plain", cypherFormat: "updateAll" })
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 6. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"export-cypher-format-updateAll.cypher"

1

"data: nodes(5), rels(4)"

"cypher"

5

4

15

8

9

20000

export-cypher-format-updateAll.cypher
CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
MERGE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;

UNWIND [{_id:80, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}},
        {_id:7, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}},
        {_id:44, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}},
        {_id:27, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}}] AS row
MERGE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:27}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}},
        {start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}},
        {start: {_id:44}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}},
        {start: {_id:80}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
MERGE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`)  WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`;
DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;

If we already have the nodes in our destination database, we can use cypherFormat: "addStructure" to create Cypher CREATE statements for just the relationships.

The following exports the ACTED_IN relationships and surrounding nodes to export-cypher-format-addStructure.cypher using the addStructure format
MATCH (person)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(movie)
WITH collect(DISTINCT person) + collect(DISTINCT  movie) AS importNodes, collect(r) AS importRels
CALL apoc.export.cypher.data(importNodes, importRels,
  "export-cypher-format-addStructure.cypher",
  { format: "plain", cypherFormat: "addStructure" })
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 7. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"export-cypher-format-addStructure.cypher"

1

"data: nodes(5), rels(4)"

"cypher"

5

4

15

4

9

20000

export-cypher-format-addStructure.cypher
UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
MERGE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) ON CREATE SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;

UNWIND [{_id:7, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}},
        {_id:27, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}},
        {_id:80, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}},
        {_id:44, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}] AS row
MERGE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) ON CREATE SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;

UNWIND [{start: {_id:27}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}},
        {start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}},
        {start: {_id:44}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}},
        {start: {_id:80}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end)  SET r += row.properties;

In this example we’re using the MERGE clause to create a node if it doesn’t already exist, and are only creating properties if the node doesn’t already exist. In this example, relationships don’t exist in the destination database and need to be created.

If those relationships do exist but have properties that need to be updated, we can use cypherFormat: "updateStructure" to create our import script.

The following exports the ACTED_IN relationships and surrounding nodes to export-cypher-format-updateStructure.cypher using the updateStructure format
MATCH (person)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(movie)
WITH collect(DISTINCT person) + collect(DISTINCT  movie) AS importNodes, collect(r) AS importRels
CALL apoc.export.cypher.data(importNodes, importRels,
  "export-cypher-format-updateStructure.cypher",
  { format: "plain", cypherFormat: "updateStructure" })
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, properties, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 8. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships properties time rows batchSize

"export-cypher-format-updateStructure.cypher"

1

"data: nodes(5), rels(4)"

"cypher"

0

4

4

2

4

20000

export-cypher-format-updateStructure.cypher
UNWIND [{start: {_id:27}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}},
        {start: {_id:7}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}},
        {start: {_id:44}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}},
        {start: {_id:80}, end: {_id:0}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
MERGE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;

Export to multiple files or columns

The export to Cypher procedures all support writing to multiple files or multiple columns. We can enable this mode by passing in the config separateFiles: true

The following query exports all the ACTED_IN relationships and corresponding nodes into files with an actedIn prefix
CALL apoc.export.cypher.query(
  "MATCH ()-[r:ACTED_IN]->()
   RETURN *",
  "actedIn.cypher",
  { format: "cypher-shell", separateFiles: true })
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 9. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships time rows batchSize

"actedIn.cypher"

1

"statement: nodes(10), rels(8)"

"cypher"

10

8

3

18

20000

This will result in the following files being created:

Table 10. Results
Name Size in bytes Number of lines

actedIn.cleanup.cypher

234

6

actedIn.nodes.cypher

893

6

actedIn.relationships.cypher

757

6

actedIn.schema.cypher

109

3

Each of those files contains one particular part of the graph. Let’s have a look at their content:

actedIn.cleanup.cypher
:begin
MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`)  WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`;
:commit
:begin
DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
:commit
actedIn.nodes.cypher
:begin
UNWIND [{_id:28, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}, {_id:37, properties:{tagline:"Welcome to the Real World", title:"The Matrix", released:1999}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie;
UNWIND [{_id:31, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}, {_id:30, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}}, {_id:42, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}}, {_id:0, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}}, {_id:29, properties:{born:1964, name:"Keanu Reeves"}}, {_id:38, properties:{born:1960, name:"Hugo Weaving"}}, {_id:43, properties:{born:1967, name:"Carrie-Anne Moss"}}, {_id:57, properties:{born:1961, name:"Laurence Fishburne"}}] AS row
CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person;
:commit
actedIn.relationships.cypher
:begin
UNWIND [{start: {_id:31}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}}, {start: {_id:42}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}}, {start: {_id:38}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}, {start: {_id:0}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:["Agent Smith"]}}, {start: {_id:29}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:["Neo"]}}, {start: {_id:43}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}}, {start: {_id:30}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:["Trinity"]}}, {start: {_id:57}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:["Morpheus"]}}] AS row
MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.start._id})
MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`: row.end._id})
CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]->(end) SET r += row.properties;
:commit
actedIn.schema.cypher
:begin
CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.`UNIQUE IMPORT ID`) IS UNIQUE;
:commit

We can then apply these files to our destination Neo4j instance, either by streaming their contents into Cypher Shell or by using the procedures described in Running Cypher fragments.

We can also use the separateFiles when returning a stream of export statements. The results will appear in columns named nodeStatements, relationshipStatements, cleanupStatements, and schemaStatements rather than cypherStatements.

The following query returns a stream all the ACTED_IN relationships and corresponding nodes
CALL apoc.export.cypher.query(
  "MATCH ()-[r:ACTED_IN]->()
   RETURN *",
  null,
  { format: "cypher-shell", separateFiles: true })
YIELD nodes, relationships, properties, nodeStatements, relationshipStatements, cleanupStatements, schemaStatements
RETURN nodes, relationships, properties, nodeStatements, relationshipStatements, cleanupStatements, schemaStatements;
Table 11. Results
nodes relationships properties nodeStatements relationshipStatements cleanupStatements schemaStatements

10

8

30

":begin UNWIND [{_id:28, properties:{tagline:\"Welcome to the Real World\", title:\"The Matrix\", released:1999}}, {_id:37, properties:{tagline:\"Welcome to the Real World\", title:\"The Matrix\", released:1999}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Movie; UNWIND [{_id:0, properties:{born:1960, name:\"Hugo Weaving\"}}, {_id:42, properties:{born:1964, name:\"Keanu Reeves\"}}, {_id:31, properties:{born:1961, name:\"Laurence Fishburne\"}}, {_id:29, properties:{born:1964, name:\"Keanu Reeves\"}}, {_id:30, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Carrie-Anne Moss\"}}, {_id:43, properties:{born:1967, name:\"Carrie-Anne Moss\"}}, {_id:38, properties:{born:1960, name:\"Hugo Weaving\"}}, {_id:57, properties:{born:1961, name:\"Laurence Fishburne\"}}] AS row CREATE (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row._id}) SET n += row.properties SET n:Person; :commit "

":begin UNWIND [{start: {_id:31}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:[\"Morpheus\"]}}, {start: {_id:38}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:[\"Agent Smith\"]}}, {start: {_id:0}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:[\"Agent Smith\"]}}, {start: {_id:30}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:[\"Trinity\"]}}, {start: {_id:29}, end: {_id:28}, properties:{roles:[\"Neo\"]}}, {start: {_id:43}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:[\"Trinity\"]}}, {start: {_id:42}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:[\"Neo\"]}}, {start: {_id:57}, end: {_id:37}, properties:{roles:[\"Morpheus\"]}}] AS row MATCH (start:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.start._id}) MATCH (end:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`{UNIQUE IMPORT ID: row.end._id}) CREATE (start)-[r:ACTED_IN]→(end) SET r += row.properties; :commit "

":begin MATCH (n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) WITH n LIMIT 20000 REMOVE n:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL` REMOVE n.UNIQUE IMPORT ID; :commit :begin DROP CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.UNIQUE IMPORT ID) IS UNIQUE; :commit "

":begin CREATE CONSTRAINT ON (node:`UNIQUE IMPORT LABEL`) ASSERT (node.UNIQUE IMPORT ID) IS UNIQUE; :commit "

We can then copy/paste the content of each of these columns (excluding the double quotes) into a Cypher Shell session, or into a local file that we stream into a Cypher Shell session. If we want to export Cypher statements that can be pasted into the Neo4j Browser query editor, we need to use the config format: "plain", as described in Export to Neo4j Browser friendly format.

Round trip

This example shows how to export data from one Neo4j instance (the source database) and import it into another one (the destination database).

The following exports 100 nodes and relationships from the source database in plain format into multiple files
CALL apoc.export.cypher.query(
    "match (n)-[r]->(n2) return * limit 100",
    "/tmp/mysubset.cypher",
    {format:'plain',separateFiles:true}
)
YIELD file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, time, rows, batchSize
RETURN file, batches, source, format, nodes, relationships, time, rows, batchSize;
Table 12. Results
file batches source format nodes relationships time rows batchSize

"/tmp/mysubset.cypher"

1

"statement: nodes(16), rels(14)"

"cypher"

16

14

9

30

20000

This should result in 4 files in your directory.

ls -1 /tmp/mysubset.*
/tmp/mysubset.cleanup.cypher
/tmp/mysubset.nodes.cypher
/tmp/mysubset.relationships.cypher
/tmp/mysubset.schema.cypher

Now let’s copy those files so they’re accessible from our destination database. We’ll need to first add the following property to apoc.conf:

apoc.conf
apoc.import.file.enabled=true

And now we’re going to use procedures from Running Cypher fragments to import the data.

The following imports the schema
CALL apoc.cypher.runSchemaFile('/tmp/mysubset.schema.cypher');
Table 13. Results
row result

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 0, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, r elationshipsCreated: 0, time: 0}

The following imports the nodes and relationships
CALL apoc.cypher.runFiles(['/tmp/mysubset.nodes.cypher','/tmp/mysubset.relationships.cypher']);
Table 14. Results
row result

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 2, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 8, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 4, r elationshipsCreated: 0, time: 0}

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 14, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 42, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 28 , relationshipsCreated: 0, time: 0}

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 8, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, r elationshipsCreated: 8, time: 0}

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 0, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, r elationshipsCreated: 2, time: 0}

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 0, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, r elationshipsCreated: 4, time: 0}

The following removes temporary node labels and properties
CALL apoc.cypher.runFile('/tmp/mysubset.cleanup.cypher');
Table 15. Results
row result

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 0, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 16, labelsRemoved: 16, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, relationshipsCreated: 0, time: 0}

The following drops the import specific constraint
CALL apoc.cypher.runSchemaFile('/tmp/mysubset.cleanup.cypher');
Table 16. Results
row result

-1

{constraintsRemoved: 1, indexesRemoved: 0, nodesCreated: 0, rows: 0, propertiesSet: 0, labelsRemoved: 0, relationshipsDeleted: 0, constraintsAdded: 0, nodesDeleted: 0, indexesAdded: 0, labelsAdded: 0, r elationshipsCreated: 0, time: 0}

The apoc.cypher.run* procedures have some optional config:

  • {statistics:true/false} to output a row of update-stats per statement, default is true

  • {timeout:1 or 10} for how long the stream waits for new data, default is 10

Make sure to set the config options in your neo4j.conf