Further query mechanisms

Implicit (or auto-commit) transactions

This is the most basic and limited form with which to run a Cypher query. The driver will not automatically retry implicit transactions, as it does instead for queries run with .executableQuery() and with managed transactions. Implicit transactions should only be used when the other driver query interfaces do not fit the purpose, or for quick prototyping.

You run an implicit transaction with the method Session.run(). It returns a Result object that needs to be processed accordingly.

// import java.util.Map
// import org.neo4j.driver.SessionConfig

try (var session = driver.session(SessionConfig.builder().withDatabase("neo4j").build())) {
    session.run("CREATE (a:Person {name: $name})", Map.of("name", "Licia"));

An implicit transaction gets committed at the latest when the session is destroyed, or before another transaction is executed within the same session. Other than that, there is no clear guarantee on when exactly an implicit transaction will be committed during the lifetime of a session. To ensure an implicit transaction is committed, you can call the .consume() method on its result.

Since the driver cannot figure out whether the query in a Session.run() call requires a read or write session with the database, it defaults to write. If your implicit transaction contains read queries only, there is a performance gain in making the driver aware through the config method .withRouting(RoutingControl.READ) when creating the session.

Implicit transactions are the only ones that can be used for CALL { …​ } IN TRANSACTIONS queries.

Import CSV files

The most common use case for using Session.run() is for importing large CSV files into the database with the LOAD CSV Cypher clause, and preventing timeout errors due to the size of the transaction.

Import CSV data into a Neo4j database
// import java.util.Map
// import org.neo4j.driver.SessionConfig

try (var session = driver.session(SessionConfig.builder().withDatabase("neo4j").build())) {
    var result = session.run("""
        LOAD CSV FROM 'https://data.neo4j.com/bands/artists.csv' AS line
        CALL {
            WITH line
            MERGE (:Artist {name: line[1], age: toInteger(line[2])})
    var summary = result.consume();
While LOAD CSV can be a convenience, there is nothing wrong in deferring the parsing of the CSV file to your Java application and avoiding LOAD CSV. In fact, moving the parsing logic to the application can give you more control over the importing process. For efficient bulk data insertion, see Performance → Batch data creation.

For more information, see Cypher → Clauses → LOAD CSV.

Transaction configuration

You can exert further control on implicit transactions by providing a TransactionConfig object as optional last parameter to Session.run() calls. The configuration callbacks allow to specify a query timeout and to attach metadata to the transaction. For more information, see Transactions → Transaction configuration.

// import java.util.Map
// import java.time.Duration
// import org.neo4j.driver.SessionConfig
// import org.neo4j.driver.TransactionConfig

try (var session = driver.session(SessionConfig.builder().withDatabase("neo4j").build())) {
    var result = session.run("CREATE (a:Person {name: $name})", Map.of("name", "John"),
        TransactionConfig.builder()  // mark-line
            .withMetadata(Map.of("appName", "peopleTracker"))

Dynamic values in property keys, relationship types, and labels

In general, you should not concatenate parameters directly into a query, but rather use query parameters. There can however be circumstances where your query structure prevents the usage of parameters in all its parts. In fact, although parameters can be used for literals and expressions as well as node and relationship ids, they cannot be used for the following constructs:

  • property keys, so MATCH (n) WHERE n.$param = 'something' is invalid;

  • relationship types, so MATCH (n)-[:$param]→(m) is invalid;

  • labels, so MATCH (n:$param) is invalid.

For those queries, you are forced to use string concatenation. To protect against Cypher injections you should enclose the dynamic values in backticks and escape them yourself. Notice that Cypher processes Unicode, so take care of the Unicode literal \u0060 as well.

Manually escaping dynamic labels before concatenation.
// import org.neo4j.driver.QueryConfig;

var label = "Person\\u0060n";
// convert \u0060 to literal backtick and then escape backticks
var escapedLabel = label.replace("\\u0060", "`").replace("`", "``");

var result = driver.executableQuery("MATCH (p:`" + escapedLabel + "` {name: $name}) RETURN p.name")
    .withParameters(Map.of("name", "Alice"))

Another workaround, which avoids string concatenation, is using APOC procedures, such as apoc.merge.node, which supports dynamic labels and property keys.

Using apoc.merge.node to create a node with dynamic labels/property keys.
// import org.neo4j.driver.QueryConfig;

String propertyKey = "name";
String label = "Person";

var result = driver.executableQuery("CALL apoc.merge.node($labels, $properties)")
    .withParameters(Map.of("labels", List.of(label), "properties", Map.of(propertyKey, "Alice")))
If you are running Neo4j in Docker, APOC needs to be enabled when starting the container. See APOC → Installation → Docker.



A Long Term Support release is one guaranteed to be supported for a number of years. Neo4j 4.4 is LTS, and Neo4j 5 will also have an LTS version.


Aura is Neo4j’s fully managed cloud service. It comes with both free and paid plans.


Cypher is Neo4j’s graph query language that lets you retrieve data from the database. It is like SQL, but for graphs.


Awesome Procedures On Cypher (APOC) is a library of (many) functions that can not be easily expressed in Cypher itself.


Bolt is the protocol used for interaction between Neo4j instances and drivers. It listens on port 7687 by default.


Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability (ACID) are properties guaranteeing that database transactions are processed reliably. An ACID-compliant DBMS ensures that the data in the database remains accurate and consistent despite failures.

eventual consistency

A database is eventually consistent if it provides the guarantee that all cluster members will, at some point in time, store the latest version of the data.

causal consistency

A database is causally consistent if read and write queries are seen by every member of the cluster in the same order. This is stronger than eventual consistency.


The null marker is not a type but a placeholder for absence of value. For more information, see Cypher → Working with null.


A transaction is a unit of work that is either committed in its entirety or rolled back on failure. An example is a bank transfer: it involves multiple steps, but they must all succeed or be reverted, to avoid money being subtracted from one account but not added to the other.


Backpressure is a force opposing the flow of data. It ensures that the client is not being overwhelmed by data faster than it can handle.

transaction function

A transaction function is a callback executed by an executeRead or executeWrite call. The driver automatically re-executes the callback in case of server failure.


A Driver object holds the details required to establish connections with a Neo4j database.