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How we style our dbt models

Fields and model names

  • 👥 Models should be pluralized, for example, customers, orders, products.
  • 🔑 Each model should have a primary key.
  • 🔑 The primary key of a model should be named <object>_id, for example, account_id. This makes it easier to know what id is being referenced in downstream joined models.
  • Use underscores for naming dbt models; avoid dots.
    • models_without_dots
    • models.with.dots
    • Most data platforms use dots to separate database.schema.object, so using underscores instead of dots reduces your need for quoting as well as the risk of issues in certain parts of dbt Cloud. For more background, refer to this GitHub issue.
  • 🔑 Keys should be string data types.
  • 🔑 Consistency is key! Use the same field names across models where possible. For example, a key to the customers table should be named customer_id rather than user_id or 'id'.
  • ❌ Do not use abbreviations or aliases. Emphasize readability over brevity. For example, do not use cust for customer or o for orders.
  • ❌ Avoid reserved words as column names.
  • ➕ Booleans should be prefixed with is_ or has_.
  • 🕰️ Timestamp columns should be named <event>_at(for example, created_at) and should be in UTC. If a different timezone is used, this should be indicated with a suffix (created_at_pt).
  • 📆 Dates should be named <event>_date. For example, created_date.
  • 🔙 Events dates and times should be past tense created, updated, or deleted.
  • 💱 Price/revenue fields should be in decimal currency (19.99 for $19.99; many app databases store prices as integers in cents). If a non-decimal currency is used, indicate this with a suffix (price_in_cents).
  • 🐍 Schema, table and column names should be in snake_case.
  • 🏦 Use names based on the business terminology, rather than the source terminology. For example, if the source database uses user_id but the business calls them customer_id, use customer_id in the model.
  • 🔢 Versions of models should use the suffix _v1, _v2, etc for consistency (customers_v1 and customers_v2).
  • 🗄️ Use a consistent ordering of data types and consider grouping and labeling columns by type, as in the example below. This will minimize join errors and make it easier to read the model, as well as help downstream consumers of the data understand the data types and scan models for the columns they need. We prefer to use the following order: ids, strings, numerics, booleans, dates, and timestamps.

Example model


source as (

select * from {{ source('ecom', 'raw_orders') }}


renamed as (


---------- ids
id as order_id,
store_id as location_id,
customer as customer_id,

---------- strings
status as order_status,

---------- numerics
(order_total / 100.0)::float as order_total,
(tax_paid / 100.0)::float as tax_paid,

---------- booleans

---------- dates
date(order_date) as ordered_date,

---------- timestamps

from source


select * from renamed