Unsupported versions: 7.0 / 6.5 / 6.4
This documentation is for an unsupported version of PostgreSQL.
You may want to view the same page for the current version, or one of the other supported versions listed above instead.



SELECT — Retrieve rows from a table or view.
    expression [ AS name ] [, ...]
    [ INTO [TABLE] new_table ]
    [ FROM table [alias ] [, ...] ]
    [ WHERE condition ]
    [ GROUP BY column [, ...] ]
    [ HAVING condition [, ...] ]
    [ UNION [ALL] select ]
    [ ORDER BY column [ ASC | DESC ] [, ...] ]



The name of a table's column or an expression.


Specifies another name for a column or an expression using the AS clause. name cannot be used in the WHERE condition. It can, however, be referenced in associated ORDER BY or GROUP BY clauses.


If the INTO TABLE clause is specified, the result of the query will be stored in another table with the indicated name. If new_table does not exist, it will be created automatically. Refer to SELECT INTO for more information.

Note: The CREATE TABLE AS statement will also create a new table from a select query.


The name of an existing table referenced by the FROM clause.


An alternate name for the preceding table. It is used for brevity or to eliminate ambiguity for joins within a single table.


A boolean expression giving a result of true or false. See the WHERE clause.


The name of a table's column.


A select statement with all features except the ORDER BY clause.



The complete set of rows resulting from the query specification.


The count of rows returned by the query.


SELECT will get all rows which satisfy the WHERE condition or all rows of a table if WHERE is omitted.

The GROUP BY clause allows a user to divide a table conceptually into groups. (See GROUP BY clause).

The HAVING clause specifies a grouped table derived by the elimination of groups from the result of the previously specified clause. (See HAVING clause).

The ORDER BY clause allows a user to specify that he/she wishes the rows sorted according to the ASCending or DESCending mode operator. (See ORDER BY clause)

The UNION clause specifies a table derived from a Cartesian product union join. (See UNION clause).

You must have SELECT privilege to a table to read its values (See GRANT/REVOKE statements).

WHERE Clause

The optional WHERE condition has the general form:

WHERE expr cond_op expr [ log_op ... ]
where cond_op can be one of: =, <, <=, >, >=, <> or a conditional operator like ALL, ANY, IN, LIKE, et cetera and log_op can be one of: AND, OR, NOT. The comparison returns either TRUE or FALSE and all instances will be discarded if the expression evaluates to FALSE.


GROUP BY specifies a grouped table derived by the application of the this clause:

GROUP BY column [, ...]


The optional HAVING condition has the general form:

HAVING cond_expr
where cond_expr is the same as specified for the WHERE clause.

HAVING specifies a grouped table derived by the elimination of groups from the result of the previously specified clause that do not meet the cond_expr.

Each column referenced in cond_expr shall unambiguously reference a grouping column.


ORDER BY column [ ASC | DESC ] [, ...]

column can be either a column name or an ordinal number.

The ordinal numbers refers to the ordinal (left-to-right) position of the column. This feature makes it possible to define an ordering on the basis of a column that does not have a proper name. This is never absolutely necessary because it is always possible assign a name to a calculated column using the AS clause, e.g.:

SELECT title, date_prod + 1 AS newlen FROM films ORDER BY newlen;

The columns in the ORDER BY must appear in the SELECT clause. Thus the following statement is illegal:

SELECT name FROM distributors ORDER BY code;

Optionally one may add the keyword DESC (descending) or ASC (ascending) after each column name in the ORDER BY clause. If not specified, ASC is assumed by default.

UNION Clause

table_query UNION [ ALL ] table_query
     [ ORDER BY column [ ASC | DESC ] [, ...] ]
where table_query specifies any select expression without an ORDER BY clause.

The UNION operator specifies a table derived from a Cartesian product. The two tables that represent the direct operands of the UNION must have the same number of columns, and corresponding columns must be of compatible data types.

By default, the result of UNION does not contain any duplicate rows unless the ALL clause is specified.

Multiple UNION operators in the same SELECT statement are evaluated left to right. Note that the ALL keyword is not global in nature, being applied only for the current pair of table results.


To join the table films with the table distributors:

SELECT f.title, f.did, d.name, f.date_prod, f.kind
    FROM distributors d, films f
    WHERE f.did = d.did

    title                    |did|name            | date_prod|kind
    The Third Man            |101|British Lion    |1949-12-23|Drama
    The African Queen        |101|British Lion    |1951-08-11|Romantic
    Une Femme est une Femme  |102|Jean Luc Godard |1961-03-12|Romantic
    Vertigo                  |103|Paramount       |1958-11-14|Action
    Becket                   |103|Paramount       |1964-02-03|Drama
    48 Hrs                   |103|Paramount       |1982-10-22|Action
    War and Peace            |104|Mosfilm         |1967-02-12|Drama
    West Side Story          |105|United Artists  |1961-01-03|Musical
    Bananas                  |105|United Artists  |1971-07-13|Comedy
    Yojimbo                  |106|Toho            |1961-06-16|Drama
    There's a Girl in my Soup|107|Columbia        |1970-06-11|Comedy
    Taxi Driver              |107|Columbia        |1975-05-15|Action
    Absence of Malice        |107|Columbia        |1981-11-15|Action
    Storia di una donna      |108|Westward        |1970-08-15|Romantic
    The King and I           |109|20th Century Fox|1956-08-11|Musical
    Das Boot                 |110|Bavaria Atelier |1981-11-11|Drama
    Bed Knobs and Broomsticks|111|Walt Disney     |          |Musical

To sum the column len of all films and group the reults by kind:

SELECT kind, SUM(len) AS total FROM films GROUP BY kind;

    kind      |total
    Action    | 07:34
    Comedy    | 02:58
    Drama     | 14:28
    Musical   | 06:42
    Romantic  | 04:38

To sum the column len of all films, group the reults by kind and show those group totals that are less than 5 hours:

SELECT kind, SUM(len) AS total
    FROM films
    GROUP BY kind
    HAVING SUM(len) < INTERVAL '5 hour';

    kind      |total
    Comedy    | 02:58
    Romantic  | 04:38

The following two examples are identical ways of sorting the individual results according to the contents of the second column (name):

SELECT * FROM distributors ORDER BY name;
SELECT * FROM distributors ORDER BY 2;

    109|20th Century Fox
    110|Bavaria Atelier
    101|British Lion
    102|Jean Luc Godard
    113|Luso films
    105|United Artists
    111|Walt Disney
    112|Warner Bros.

This example shows how to obtain the union of the tables distributors and actors, restricting the results to those that begin with letter W in each table. Only distinct rows are to be used, so the ALL keyword is omitted:

    --        distributors:                actors:
    --        did|name                     id|name
    --        ---+------------             --+--------------
    --        108|Westward                  1|Woody Allen
    --        111|Walt Disney               2|Warren Beatty
    --        112|Warner Bros.              3|Walter Matthau
    --        ...                           ...

SELECT distributors.name
    FROM   distributors
    WHERE  distributors.name LIKE 'W%'
SELECT actors.name
    FROM   actors
    WHERE  actors.name LIKE 'W%'

    Walt Disney
    Walter Matthau
    Warner Bros.
    Warren Beatty
    Woody Allen




In the SQL92 standard, the optional keyword "AS" is just noise and can be omitted without affecting the meaning. The Postgres parser requires this keyword when renaming columns because the type extensibility features lead to parsing ambiguities in this context.

In the SQL92 standard, the new column name specified in an "AS" clause may be referenced in GROUP BY and HAVING clauses. This is not currently allowed in Postgres.

UNION Clause

The SQL92 syntax for UNION allows an additional CORRESPONDING BY clause:

table_query UNION [ALL]
    [CORRESPONDING [BY (column [,...])]]

The CORRESPONDING BY clause is not supported by Postgres.