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INSERT -- create new rows in a table


INSERT INTO table [ ( column [, ...] ) ]
    { DEFAULT VALUES | VALUES ( { expression | DEFAULT } [, ...] ) | query }


INSERT inserts new rows into a table. One can insert a single row specified by value expressions, or several rows as a result of a query.

The target column names may be listed in any order. If no list of column names is given at all, the default is all the columns of the table in their declared order; or the first N column names, if there are only N columns supplied by the VALUES clause or query. The values supplied by the VALUES clause or query are associated with the explicit or implicit column list left-to-right.

Each column not present in the explicit or implicit column list will be filled with a default value, either its declared default value or null if there is none.

If the expression for any column is not of the correct data type, automatic type conversion will be attempted.

You must have INSERT privilege to a table in order to insert into it. If you use the query clause to insert rows from a query, you also need to have SELECT privilege on any table used in the query.



The name (optionally schema-qualified) of an existing table.


The name of a column in table. The column name can be qualified with a subfield name or array subscript, if needed. (Inserting into only some fields of a composite column leaves the other fields null.)


All columns will be filled with their default values.


An expression or value to assign to the corresponding column.


The corresponding column will be filled with its default value.


A query (SELECT statement) that supplies the rows to be inserted. Refer to the SELECT statement for a description of the syntax.


On successful completion, an INSERT command returns a command tag of the form

INSERT oid count

The count is the number of rows inserted. If count is exactly one, and the target table has OIDs, then oid is the OID assigned to the inserted row. Otherwise oid is zero.


Insert a single row into table films:

    ('UA502', 'Bananas', 105, '1971-07-13', 'Comedy', '82 minutes');

In this example, the len column is omitted and therefore it will have the default value:

INSERT INTO films (code, title, did, date_prod, kind)
    VALUES ('T_601', 'Yojimbo', 106, '1961-06-16', 'Drama');

This example uses the DEFAULT clause for the date columns rather than specifying a value:

    ('UA502', 'Bananas', 105, DEFAULT, 'Comedy', '82 minutes');
INSERT INTO films (code, title, did, date_prod, kind)
    VALUES ('T_601', 'Yojimbo', 106, DEFAULT, 'Drama');

To insert a row consisting entirely of default values:


This example inserts some rows into table films from a table tmp_films with the same column layout as films:

INSERT INTO films SELECT * FROM tmp_films WHERE date_prod < '2004-05-07';

This example inserts into array columns:

-- Create an empty 3x3 gameboard for noughts-and-crosses
-- (these commands create the same board)
INSERT INTO tictactoe (game, board[1:3][1:3])
    VALUES (1,'{{"","",""},{"","",""},{"","",""}}');
INSERT INTO tictactoe (game, board)
    VALUES (2,'{{,,},{,,},{,,}}');


INSERT conforms to the SQL standard. The case in which a column name list is omitted, but not all the columns are filled from the VALUES clause or query, is disallowed by the standard.

Possible limitations of the query clause are documented under SELECT.


Nov. 21, 2005, 7:23 p.m.

Be weary, putting parens around your select statement yeilds a very silly error.

If you have insert into ... select ( col1,col2,col3 ) from foo;
ERROR: column "fips_state" is of type numeric but expression is of type record.

Jan. 24, 2006, 11:12 a.m.

If you want to insert from a table_b values into a table_a, that has not the same column structure, I successfully used that undocumented syntax :

INSERT INTO table_a (col_c,col_d,col_f) (SELECT col_a,col_b,col_c FROM table_b)

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