Supported Versions: Current (15) / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11
Development Versions: devel
Unsupported versions: 10 / 9.6 / 9.5 / 9.4 / 9.3 / 9.2 / 9.1 / 9.0 / 8.4 / 8.3 / 8.2 / 8.1 / 8.0 / 7.4 / 7.3 / 7.2 / 7.1
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.



CREATE RULE -- define a new rewrite rule


    TO table [ WHERE condition ]
    DO [ INSTEAD ] { NOTHING | command | ( command ; command ... ) }


CREATE RULE defines a new rule applying to a specified table or view. CREATE OR REPLACE RULE will either create a new rule, or replace an existing rule of the same name for the same table.

The PostgreSQL rule system allows one to define an alternate action to be performed on insertions, updates, or deletions in database tables. Roughly speaking, a rule causes additional commands to be executed when a given command on a given table is executed. Alternatively, a rule can replace a given command by another, or cause a command not to be executed at all. Rules are used to implement table views as well. It is important to realize that a rule is really a command transformation mechanism, or command macro. The transformation happens before the execution of the commands starts. If you actually want an operation that fires independently for each physical row, you probably want to use a trigger, not a rule. More information about the rules system is in Chapter 34.

Presently, ON SELECT rules must be unconditional INSTEAD rules and must have actions that consist of a single SELECT command. Thus, an ON SELECT rule effectively turns the table into a view, whose visible contents are the rows returned by the rule's SELECT command rather than whatever had been stored in the table (if anything). It is considered better style to write a CREATE VIEW command than to create a real table and define an ON SELECT rule for it.

You can create the illusion of an updatable view by defining ON INSERT, ON UPDATE, and ON DELETE rules (or any subset of those that's sufficient for your purposes) to replace update actions on the view with appropriate updates on other tables.

There is a catch if you try to use conditional rules for view updates: there must be an unconditional INSTEAD rule for each action you wish to allow on the view. If the rule is conditional, or is not INSTEAD, then the system will still reject attempts to perform the update action, because it thinks it might end up trying to perform the action on the dummy table of the view in some cases. If you want to handle all the useful cases in conditional rules, you can; just add an unconditional DO INSTEAD NOTHING rule to ensure that the system understands it will never be called on to update the dummy table. Then make the conditional rules not INSTEAD; in the cases where they are applied, they add to the default INSTEAD NOTHING action.



The name of a rule to create. This must be distinct from the name of any other rule for the same table. Multiple rules on the same table and same event type are applied in alphabetical name order.


The even is one of SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE.


The name (optionally schema-qualified) of the table or view the rule applies to.


Any SQL conditional expression (returning boolean). The condition expression may not refer to any tables except NEW and OLD, and may not contain aggregate functions.


The command or commands that make up the rule action. Valid commands are SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or NOTIFY.

Within condition and command, the special table names NEW and OLD may be used to refer to values in the referenced table. NEW is valid in ON INSERT and ON UPDATE rules to refer to the new row being inserted or updated. OLD is valid in ON UPDATE and ON DELETE rules to refer to the existing row being updated or deleted.


You must have the privilege RULE on a table to be allowed to define a rule on it.

It is very important to take care to avoid circular rules. For example, though each of the following two rule definitions are accepted by PostgreSQL, the SELECT command would cause PostgreSQL to report an error because the query cycled too many times:

        SELECT * FROM t2;

        SELECT * FROM t1;


Presently, if a rule action contains a NOTIFY command, the NOTIFY command will be executed unconditionally, that is, the NOTIFY will be issued even if there are not any rows that the rule should apply to. For example, in

CREATE RULE notify_me AS ON UPDATE TO mytable DO NOTIFY mytable;

UPDATE mytable SET name = 'foo' WHERE id = 42;

one NOTIFY event will be sent during the UPDATE, whether or not there are any rows with id = 42. This is an implementation restriction that may be fixed in future releases.


CREATE RULE is a PostgreSQL language extension, as is the entire rules system.