Introduction to datasets

This page provides an overview of datasets in BigQuery.


A dataset is contained within a specific project. Datasets are top-level containers that are used to organize and control access to your tables and views. A table or view must belong to a dataset, so you need to create at least one dataset before loading data into BigQuery.

Dataset limitations

BigQuery datasets are subject to the following limitations:

  • You can set the geographic location at creation time only. After a dataset has been created, the location becomes immutable and can't be changed in the Cloud Console, the classic BigQuery web UI, the bq command-line tool, or by calling the patch or update API methods.
  • All tables referenced in a query must be stored in datasets in the same location.

  • When copying a table, the datasets containing the source table and destination table must reside in the same location.

  • Dataset names must be unique per project.

  • As you approach thousands of datasets in a project, classic UI performance begins to degrade, and listing datasets becomes slower.

Dataset quotas

For more information on dataset quotas and limits, see Quotas and limits.

Dataset pricing

You are not charged for creating, updating, or deleting a dataset.

For more information on BigQuery pricing, see Pricing.

Next steps