SSIS: Conditional File Processing in a ForEach Loop

I’ve fielded a number of requests recently asking how to interrogate a file within SSIS and change the processing rules based on the metadata of said file.  A recent forum poster specifically asked about using the foreach loop to iterate through the files in a directory and, on a per-file basis, either process the file or skip the file if it was updated after a specific date.  I’ll use that most recent request to illustrate one method to implement conditional processing in a foreach loop container in SSIS.

Conditional Processing in a Foreach Loop Container

For this demonstration, our SSIS package will require the following:

  • A foreach loop to process each file in a given directory
  • A script task to interrogate each file and, based on the timestamp, mark it to be either processed or skipped.
  • Four SSIS variables:
    • @SourceDirectory (String) – stores the directory to loop through
    • @MinDateStamp (DateTime) – indicates the earliest date to process
    • @Filename (String) – stores the current filename for each cycle of the foreach loop
    • @ProcessFile (Boolean) – a flag to indicate whether the current file should be processed
  • A precedence constraint which will be configured to validate an expression and task outcome.
  • A data flow task to process the validated files.

Set Up the Loop

Nothing groundbreaking here: after adding the foreach loop to the control flow pane, set it to work as a Foreach File Enumerator, and use an expression to set the source directory to be derived from the value of the @SourceDirectory variable:

Conditional Processing in a Foreach Loop Container

Script Task

Since there is no native SSIS task designed to interrogate file metadata, we’re going to need to use a script task to do this.  After dropping a script task from the toolbox into the foreach loop container, we’ll edit the script to create a FileInfo object as a logical hook to the file.  After confirming that the file exists, we’ll compare its LastWriteTime property to the earliest acceptable cut-off date (defined by the @MinDateStamp variable value) to determine if the timestamp meets the criteria for processing.  Based on the results of that comparison, we will set the @ProcessFile value to either True or False.  You can see the resulting code logic in the snippet below:

So with each iteration of the foreach loop, the @ProcessFile value will indicate whether the current file should be processed or skipped.  After adding a data flow task containing the necessary components to process the flat file, our next step would be to add a precedence constraint connecting the script task to the new data flow task.  This precedence constraint will be configured to use an expression and a constraint, and will confirm that the current file is to be processed by interrogating the value of the @ProcessFile variable.  If that value is true, then program flow continues to the data flow task; otherwise the loop starts again with the next file in turn.  The precedence constraint would be configured as such:


After configuring all of the necessary tasks for this operation, the data flow pane should look similar to the following:


Now, when the SSIS package is executed, the timestamp of each file in the specified directory will be checked, and only those that meet the date criteria will be processed in the data flow task.  Note that you could replace the timestamp in our example to some other file criteria; for example, you could check the file size, type, attributes, or other settings to determine if the file should be processed.


Although SSIS does not include a native component to conditionally process files, you can see from this example that a simple script can easily solve this ETL challenge.  You can download the sample package used in this example here.

About the Author

Tim Mitchell
Tim Mitchell is a data architect and consultant who specializes in getting rid of data pain points. Need help with data warehousing, ETL, reporting, or training? If so, contact Tim for a no-obligation 30-minute chat.

2 Comments on "SSIS: Conditional File Processing in a ForEach Loop"

  1. Steven Neumersky | December 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Reply

    I thought you could write a WQL query using the WMI Task/Component? Maybe I am mistaken?

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