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CREATE FUNCTION  --  Defines a new function


CREATE FUNCTION name ( [ ftype [, ...] ] )
    RETURNS rtype
    AS definition   
    LANGUAGE 'langname'
    [ WITH ( attribute [, ...] ) ]
CREATE FUNCTION name ( [ ftype [, ...] ] )
    RETURNS rtype
    AS obj_file , link_symbol  
    LANGUAGE 'langname'
    [ WITH ( attribute [, ...] ) ]



The name of a function to create.


The data type(s) of the function's arguments, if any. The input types may be base or complex types, or opaque. Opaque indicates that the function accepts arguments of a non-SQL type such as char *.


The return data type. The output type may be specified as a base type, complex type, setof type, or opaque. The setof modifier indicates that the function will return a set of items, rather than a single item.


An optional piece of information about the function, used for optimization. See below for details.


A string defining the function; the meaning depends on the language. It may be an internal function name, the path to an object file, an SQL query, or text in a procedural language.

obj_file , link_symbol

This form of the AS clause is used for dynamically linked, C language functions when the function name in the C language source code is not the same as the name of the SQL function. The string obj_file is the name of the file containing the dynamically loadable object, and link_symbol is the object's link symbol, that is the name of the function in the C language source code.


May be 'sql', 'C', 'internal', or 'plname', where 'plname' is the name of a created procedural language. See CREATE LANGUAGE for details.



This is returned if the command completes successfully.


CREATE FUNCTION allows a Postgres user to register a function with the database. Subsequently, this user is considered the owner of the function.

Function Attributes

The following items may appear in the WITH clause:


Iscachable indicates that the function always returns the same result when given the same argument values (i.e., it does not do database lookups or otherwise use information not directly present in its parameter list). The optimizer uses iscachable to know whether it is safe to pre-evaluate a call of the function.


isstrict indicates that the function always returns NULL whenever any of its arguments are NULL. If this attribute is specified, the function is not executed when there are NULL arguments; instead a NULL result is assumed automatically. When isstrict is not specified, the function will be called for NULL inputs. It is then the function author's responsibility to check for NULLs if necessary and respond appropriately.


Refer to the chapter in the PostgreSQL Programmer's Guide on the topic of extending Postgres via functions for further information on writing external functions.

Use DROP FUNCTION to remove user-defined functions.

The full SQL92 type syntax is allowed for input arguments and return value. However, some details of the type specification (e.g., the precision field for numeric types) are the responsibility of the underlying function implementation and are silently swallowed (i.e., not recognized or enforced) by the CREATE FUNCTION command.

Postgres allows function "overloading"; that is, the same name can be used for several different functions so long as they have distinct argument types. This facility must be used with caution for internal and C-language functions, however.

Two internal functions cannot have the same C name without causing errors at link time. To get around that, give them different C names (for example, use the argument types as part of the C names), then specify those names in the AS clause of CREATE FUNCTION. If the AS clause is left empty, then CREATE FUNCTION assumes the C name of the function is the same as the SQL name.

Similarly, when overloading SQL function names with multiple C-language functions, give each C-language instance of the function a distinct name, then use the alternative form of the AS clause in the CREATE FUNCTION syntax to select the appropriate C-language implementation of each overloaded SQL function.


To create a simple SQL function:

    LANGUAGE 'sql';
SELECT one() AS answer;


This example creates a C function by calling a routine from a user-created shared library. This particular routine calculates a check digit and returns TRUE if the check digit in the function parameters is correct. It is intended for use in a CHECK contraint.

CREATE FUNCTION ean_checkdigit(bpchar, bpchar) RETURNS boolean
    AS '/usr1/proj/bray/sql/' LANGUAGE 'c';
CREATE TABLE product (
    id        char(8) PRIMARY KEY,
    eanprefix char(8) CHECK (eanprefix ~ '[0-9]{2}-[0-9]{5}')
                      REFERENCES brandname(ean_prefix),
    eancode   char(6) CHECK (eancode ~ '[0-9]{6}'),
    CONSTRAINT ean    CHECK (ean_checkdigit(eanprefix, eancode))

This example creates a function that does type conversion between the user-defined type complex, and the internal type point. The function is implemented by a dynamically loaded object that was compiled from C source. For Postgres to find a type conversion function automatically, the sql function has to have the same name as the return type, and so overloading is unavoidable. The function name is overloaded by using the second form of the AS clause in the SQL definition:

CREATE FUNCTION point(complex) RETURNS point
    AS '/home/bernie/pgsql/lib/', 'complex_to_point'
    LANGUAGE 'c';

The C declaration of the function is:

Point * complex_to_point (Complex *z)
        Point *p;

        p = (Point *) palloc(sizeof(Point));
        p->x = z->x;
        p->y = z->y;
        return p;



CREATE FUNCTION is a Postgres language extension.


Note: PSM stands for Persistent Stored Modules. It is a procedural language. SQL/PSM is a standard to enable function extensibility.

SQL/PSM CREATE FUNCTION has the following syntax:
    ( [ [ IN | OUT | INOUT ] type [, ...] ] )
     RETURNS rtype
     LANGUAGE 'langname'
     ESPECIFIC routine