Spark isin() & IS NOT IN Operator Example

Question: In Spark how to use isin() & IS NOT IN operators that are similar to IN & NOT IN functions available in SQL that check DataFrame column value exists/contains in a list of string values, when I tried to use isin(list_param) from the Column class, I am getting an error java.lang.RuntimeException: Unsupported literal type class scala.collection.immutable.$colon$colon

spark isin contains string

1. Solution: Using isin() & NOT isin() Operator

In Spark use isin() function of Column class to check if a column value of DataFrame exists/contains in a list of string values. Let’s see with an example. Below example filter the rows language column value present in ‘Java‘ & ‘Scala‘.

val data = Seq(("James","Java"),("Michael","Spark"),("Robert","Python"))
import spark.implicits._
val df = data.toDF("name","language")

// Using isin() function to check value in list of values
val listValues = Seq("Java","Scala")

// +-----+--------+
// | name|language|
// +-----+--------+
// |James|    Java|
// +-----+--------+

2. How to check NOT isin() in Spark?

Spark DataFrame API doesn’t have a function to check value not exists in a list of values however you can use NOT operator(!) in conjunction with isin() function to negate the result.

// USE NOT operator '!' to check value NOT IN list of values

// +-------+--------+
// |   name|language|
// +-------+--------+
// |Michael|   Spark|
// | Robert|  Python|
// +-------+--------+

Alternatively, you can also use IN & NOT IN operators

df.filter("language IN ('Java','Scala')").show()
df.filter("language NOT IN ('Java','Scala')").show()

3. Spark SQL Using IN and NOT IN Operators

In Spark SQL, isin() function doesn’t work instead you should use IN and NOT IN operators to check values present and not present in a list of values. In order to use SQL, make sure you create a temporary view using createOrReplaceTempView().

// Spark SQL IN - check value in a list of values
spark.sql("SELECT * FROM TAB WHERE " +
    "language IN ('Java','Scala')").show()

// Spark SQL NOT IN - Check value not in a list of values
spark.sql("SELECT * FROM TAB where " +
    "language NOT IN ('Java','Scala')").show()

These results same output as above.


In Spark isin() function is used to check if the DataFrame column value exists in a list/array of values. To use IS NOT IN, use the NOT operator to negate the result of the isin() function.

Happy Learning !!


Naveen (NNK)

I am Naveen (NNK) working as a Principal Engineer. I am a seasoned Apache Spark Engineer with a passion for harnessing the power of big data and distributed computing to drive innovation and deliver data-driven insights. I love to design, optimize, and managing Apache Spark-based solutions that transform raw data into actionable intelligence. I am also passion about sharing my knowledge in Apache Spark, Hive, PySpark, R etc.

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