Tutorial: Create your first table and grant privileges

This article provides a quick walkthrough of creating a table and granting privileges in Databricks using the Unity Catalog data governance model. As of March 6, 2024, workspaces in new accounts are automatically enabled for Unity Catalog and include the permissions required for all users to complete this tutorial.

If you are unsure if your workspace is enabled for Unity Catalog, see Set up and manage Unity Catalog. If you would like to familiarize yourself with Unity Catalog data objects, see What is Unity Catalog?.

This article is intended for users but may also be of interest to admins who are newly responsible for workspace management.

Before you begin

In order to perform the tasks described in this article, you must have:

  • A Databricks workspace that was enabled for Unity Catalog automatically.

  • Permissions to attach to a compute resource. See Use compute.

Create your first table

Unity Catalog includes a three-level namespace for data objects: catalog.schema.table. In this example, you’ll run a notebook that creates a table named department in the workspace catalog and default schema (database).


The workspace catalog is the default catalog created with your workspace that all users have access to. It shares a name with your workspace.

You can define access to tables declaratively using SQL or the Databricks Explorer UI:

  1. In the sidebar, click +New > Notebook.

  2. Select SQL as your notebook language.

  3. Click Connect and attach the notebook to a compute resource.

  4. Add the following commands to the notebook and run them (replace <workspace-catalog> with the name of your workspace catalog):

    USE CATALOG <workspace-catalog>
    CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS default.department
       deptcode   INT,
       deptname  STRING,
       location  STRING
    INSERT INTO default.department VALUES
       (10, 'FINANCE', 'EDINBURGH'),
       (20, 'SOFTWARE', 'PADDINGTON');
  5. In the sidebar, click Catalog icon Catalog and then search for the workspace catalog (<workspace-name>) and the default schema, where you’ll find your new department table.

Use Catalog Explorer to find a table in workspace catalog

Manage permissions on your table

As the original table creator, you’re the table owner, and you can grant other users permission to read or write to the table. You can even transfer ownership, but we won’t do that here. For more information about the Unity Catalog privileges and permissions model, see Manage privileges in Unity Catalog.

Grant permissions using the UI

To give users permissions on your table using the UI:

  1. Click the table name in Catalog Explorer to open the table details page, and go to the Permissions tab.

  2. Click Grant.

  3. On the Grant on dialog:

    1. Select the users and groups you want to give permission to.

    2. Select the privileges you want to grant. For this example, assign the SELECT (read) privilege and click Grant.

Grant permissions using SQL statements

You can also grant those permissions using the following SQL statement in a Databricks notebook or the SQL query editor. In this example, you give a group called data-consumers permissions on your table:

GRANT SELECT ON default.department TO `data-consumers`;