Import a BACPAC File to Create a New User Database

Applies to: SQL Server Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance

Import a data-tier application (DAC) file - a .bacpac file - to create a copy of the original database, with the data, on a new instance of the Database Engine, or to Azure SQL Database. Export-import operations can be combined to migrate a DAC or database between instances, or to create a logical backup, such as creating an on-premises copy of a database deployed in SQL Database.

Before You Begin

The import process builds a new DAC in two stages.

  1. The import creates a new DAC and associated database using the DAC definition stored in the export file, the same way a DAC deploy creates a new DAC from the definition in a DAC package file.

  2. The import bulk copies in the data from the export file.

Database Options and Settings

By default, the database created during the import will have all of the default settings from the CREATE DATABASE statement, except that the database collation and compatibility level are set to the values defined in the DAC export file. A DAC export file uses the values from the original database.

Some database options, such as TRUSTWORTHY, DB_CHAINING, and HONOR_BROKER_PRIORITY, can't be adjusted as part of the import process. Physical properties, such as the number of filegroups, or the numbers and sizes of files can't be altered as part of the import process. After the import completes, you can use the ALTER DATABASE statement, SQL Server Management Studio, or SQL Server PowerShell to tailor the database. For more information, see Databases.

Limitations and restrictions

A DAC can be imported to SQL Database, or an instance of the Database Engine running SQL Server 2005 (9.x) Service Pack 4 (SP4) or later. If you export a DAC from a higher version, the DAC may contain objects not supported by SQL Server 2005 (9.x). You can't deploy those DACs to instances of SQL Server 2005 (9.x).


We recommend that you don't import a DAC export file from unknown or untrusted sources. Such files could contain malicious code that might execute unintended Transact-SQL code or cause errors by modifying the schema. Before you use an export file from an unknown or untrusted source, unpack the DAC and examine the code, like stored procedures and other user-defined code. For more information about how to perform these checks, see Validate a DAC Package.


To improve security, SQL Server Authentication logins are stored in a DAC export file without a password. When the file is imported, the login is created as a disabled login with a generated password. To enable the logins, sign in using a login that has ALTER ANY LOGIN permission and use ALTER LOGIN to enable the login and assign a new password that can be communicated to the user. This isn't needed for Windows Authentication logins because their passwords aren't managed by SQL Server.


A DAC can only be imported by members of the sysadmin or serveradmin fixed server roles, or by logins that are in the dbcreator fixed server role and have ALTER ANY LOGIN permissions. The built-in SQL Server system administrator account named sa can also import a DAC. Importing a DAC with logins to SQL Database requires membership in the loginmanager or serveradmin roles. Importing a DAC without logins to SQL Database requires membership in the dbmanager or serveradmin roles.

Use the Import Data-tier Application Wizard

To launch the wizard, use the following steps:

  1. Connect to the instance of SQL Server, whether on-premises or in SQL Database.

  2. In Object Explorer, right-click on Databases, and then select the Import Data-tier Application menu item to launch the wizard.

  3. Complete the wizard dialogs:

Introduction Page

This page describes the steps for the Data-tier Application Import Wizard.


  • Do not show this page again. - Select the check box to stop the Introduction page from being displayed in the future.

  • Next - Proceeds to the Import Settings page.

  • Cancel - Cancels the operation and closes the wizard.

Import Settings Page

Use this page to specify the location of the .bacpac file to import.

  • Import from local disk - Select Browse... to navigate the local computer, or specify the path in the space provided. The path name must include a file name and the .bacpac extension.

  • Import from Azure - Imports a BACPAC file from a Microsoft Azure container. You must connect to a Microsoft Azure container to validate this option. Note that the Import from Azure option also requires that you specify a local directory for the temporary file. The temporary file will be created at the specified location and will remain there after the operation completes.

    When browsing Azure, you'll be able to switch between containers within a single account. You must specify a single .bacpac file to continue the import operation. You can sort columns by Name, Size, or Date Modified.

    To continue, specify the .bacpac file to import, and then select Open.

Database Settings Page

Use this page to specify details for the database that will be created.

For a local instance of SQL Server:

  • New database name - Provide a name for the imported database.

  • Data file path - Provide a local directory for data files. Select Browse... to navigate the local computer, or specify the path in the space provided.

  • Log file path - Provide a local directory for log files. Select Browse... to navigate the local computer, or specify the path in the space provided.

To continue, select Next.

For an Azure SQL Database:

Validation Page

Use this page to review any issues that block the operation. To continue, resolve blocking issues and then select Re-run Validation to ensure that validation is successful.

To continue, select Next.

Summary Page

Use this page to review the specified source and target settings for the operation. To complete the import operation using the specified settings, select Finish. To cancel the import operation and exit the wizard, select Cancel.

Progress Page

This page displays a progress bar that indicates the status of the operation. To view detailed status, select the View details option.

To continue, select Next.

Results Page

This page reports the success or failure of the import and creates database operations, showing the success or failure of each action. Any action that encountered an error will have a link in the Result column. Select the link to view a report of the error for that action.

Select Close to close the wizard.

See also