SQLAlchemy: print the actual query


I"d really like to be able to print out valid SQL for my application, including values, rather than bind parameters, but it"s not obvious how to do this in SQLAlchemy (by design, I"m fairly sure).

Has anyone solved this problem in a general way?

Answer rating: 201

In the vast majority of cases, the "stringification" of a SQLAlchemy statement or query is as simple as:


This applies both to an ORM Query as well as any select() or other statement.

Note: the following detailed answer is being maintained on the sqlalchemy documentation.

To get the statement as compiled to a specific dialect or engine, if the statement itself is not already bound to one you can pass this in to compile():


or without an engine:

from sqlalchemy.dialects import postgresql

When given an ORM Query object, in order to get at the compile() method we only need access the .statement accessor first:

statement = query.statement

with regards to the original stipulation that bound parameters are to be "inlined" into the final string, the challenge here is that SQLAlchemy normally is not tasked with this, as this is handled appropriately by the Python DBAPI, not to mention bypassing bound parameters is probably the most widely exploited security holes in modern web applications. SQLAlchemy has limited ability to do this stringification in certain circumstances such as that of emitting DDL. In order to access this functionality one can use the "literal_binds" flag, passed to compile_kwargs:

from sqlalchemy.sql import table, column, select

t = table("t", column("x"))

s = select([t]).where(t.c.x == 5)

print(s.compile(compile_kwargs={"literal_binds": True}))

the above approach has the caveats that it is only supported for basic types, such as ints and strings, and furthermore if a bindparam without a pre-set value is used directly, it won"t be able to stringify that either.

To support inline literal rendering for types not supported, implement a TypeDecorator for the target type which includes a TypeDecorator.process_literal_param method:

from sqlalchemy import TypeDecorator, Integer

class MyFancyType(TypeDecorator):
    impl = Integer

    def process_literal_param(self, value, dialect):
        return "my_fancy_formatting(%s)" % value

from sqlalchemy import Table, Column, MetaData

tab = Table("mytable", MetaData(), Column("x", MyFancyType()))

    tab.select().where(tab.c.x > 5).compile(
        compile_kwargs={"literal_binds": True})

producing output like:

SELECT mytable.x
FROM mytable
WHERE mytable.x > my_fancy_formatting(5)

Answer rating: 92

Given that what you want makes sense only when debugging, you could start SQLAlchemy with echo=True, to log all SQL queries. For example:

engine = create_engine(
    "mysql://scott:[email protected]/dbname",

This can also be modified for just a single request:

echo=False – if True, the Engine will log all statements as well as a repr() of their parameter lists to the engines logger, which defaults to sys.stdout. The echo attribute of Engine can be modified at any time to turn logging on and off. If set to the string "debug", result rows will be printed to the standard output as well. This flag ultimately controls a Python logger; see Configuring Logging for information on how to configure logging directly.

Source: SQLAlchemy Engine Configuration

If used with Flask, you can simply set

app.config["SQLALCHEMY_ECHO"] = True

to get the same behaviour.