Updates rows of a table.


[ WITH [ RECURSIVE ] <with_query> [, ...] ]
UPDATE [ONLY] <table> [[AS] <alias>]
   SET {<column> = {<expression> | DEFAULT} |
   (<column> [, ...]) = ({<expression> | DEFAULT} [, ...])} [, ...]
   [FROM <fromlist>]
   [WHERE <condition >| WHERE CURRENT OF <cursor_name> ]


UPDATE changes the values of the specified columns in all rows that satisfy the condition. Only the columns to be modified need be mentioned in the SET clause; columns not explicitly modified retain their previous values.

By default, UPDATE will update rows in the specified table and all its subtables. If you wish to only update the specific table mentioned, you must use the ONLY clause.

There are two ways to modify a table using information contained in other tables in the database: using sub-selects, or specifying additional tables in the FROM clause. Which technique is more appropriate depends on the specific circumstances.

If the WHERE CURRENT OF clause is specified, the row that is updated is the one most recently fetched from the specified cursor.

The WHERE CURRENT OF clause is not supported with replicated tables.

You must have the UPDATE privilege on the table, or at least on the column(s) that are listed to be updated. You must also have the SELECT privilege on any column whose values are read in the expressions or condition.


As the default, Greenplum Database acquires an EXCLUSIVE lock on tables for UPDATE operations on heap tables. When the Global Deadlock Detector is enabled, the lock mode for UPDATE operations on heap tables is ROW EXCLUSIVE. See Global Deadlock Detector.


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

UPDATE <count>

where count is the number of rows updated. If count is 0, no rows matched the condition (this is not considered an error).



The WITH clause allows you to specify one or more subqueries that can be referenced by name in the UPDATE query.

For an UPDATE command that includes a WITH clause, the clause can only contain SELECT commands, the WITH clause cannot contain a data-modifying command (INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE).

It is possible for the query (SELECT statement) to also contain a WITH clause. In such a case both sets of with_query can be referenced within the UPDATE query, but the second one takes precedence since it is more closely nested.

See WITH Queries (Common Table Expressions) and SELECT for details.
If specified, update rows from the named table only. When not specified, any tables inheriting from the named table are also processed.
The name (optionally schema-qualified) of an existing table.
A substitute name for the target table. When an alias is provided, it completely hides the actual name of the table. For example, given UPDATE foo AS f, the remainder of the UPDATE statement must refer to this table as f not foo.
The name of a column in table. The column name can be qualified with a subfield name or array subscript, if needed. Do not include the table's name in the specification of a target column.
An expression to assign to the column. The expression may use the old values of this and other columns in the table.
Set the column to its default value (which will be NULL if no specific default expression has been assigned to it).
A list of table expressions, allowing columns from other tables to appear in the WHERE condition and the update expressions. This is similar to the list of tables that can be specified in the FROM clause of a SELECT statement. Note that the target table must not appear in the fromlist, unless you intend a self-join (in which case it must appear with an alias in the fromlist).
An expression that returns a value of type boolean. Only rows for which this expression returns true will be updated.

The name of the cursor to use in a WHERE CURRENT OF condition. The row to be updated is the one most recently fetched from the cursor. The cursor must be a non-grouping query on the UPDATE command target table. See DECLARE for more information about creating cursors.

WHERE CURRENT OF cannot be specified together with a Boolean condition.

Note that WHERE CURRENT OF cannot be specified together with a Boolean condition. The UPDATE...WHERE CURRENT OF statement can only be run on the server, for example in an interactive psql session or a script. Language extensions such as PL/pgSQL do not have support for updatable cursors.

See DECLARE for more information about creating cursors.
An expression to be computed and returned by the UPDATE command after each row is updated. The expression may use any column names of the table or table(s) listed in FROM. Write * to return all columns.
A name to use for a returned column.


SET is not allowed on the Greenplum distribution key columns of a table.

When a FROM clause is present, what essentially happens is that the target table is joined to the tables mentioned in the from list, and each output row of the join represents an update operation for the target table. When using FROM you should ensure that the join produces at most one output row for each row to be modified. In other words, a target row should not join to more than one row from the other table(s). If it does, then only one of the join rows will be used to update the target row, but which one will be used is not readily predictable.

Because of this indeterminacy, referencing other tables only within sub-selects is safer, though often harder to read and slower than using a join.

Running UPDATE and DELETE commands directly on a specific partition (child table) of a partitioned table is not supported. Instead, run these commands on the root partitioned table, the table created with the CREATE TABLE command.

For a partitioned table, all the child tables are locked during the UPDATE operation when the Global Deadlock Detector is not enabled (the default). Only some of the leaf child tables are locked when the Global Deadlock Detector is enabled. For information about the Global Deadlock Detector, see Global Deadlock Detector.


Change the word Drama to Dramatic in the column kind of the table films:

UPDATE films SET kind = 'Dramatic' WHERE kind = 'Drama';

Adjust temperature entries and reset precipitation to its default value in one row of the table weather:

UPDATE weather SET temp_lo = temp_lo+1, temp_hi = 
temp_lo+15, prcp = DEFAULT
WHERE city = 'San Francisco' AND date = '2016-07-03';

Use the alternative column-list syntax to do the same update:

UPDATE weather SET (temp_lo, temp_hi, prcp) = (temp_lo+1, 
temp_lo+15, DEFAULT)
WHERE city = 'San Francisco' AND date = '2016-07-03';

Increment the sales count of the salesperson who manages the account for Acme Corporation, using the FROM clause syntax (assuming both tables being joined are distributed in Greenplum Database on the id column):

UPDATE employees SET sales_count = sales_count + 1 FROM 
WHERE accounts.name = 'Acme Corporation'
AND employees.id = accounts.id;

Perform the same operation, using a sub-select in the WHERE clause:

UPDATE employees SET sales_count = sales_count + 1 WHERE id =
  (SELECT id FROM accounts WHERE name = 'Acme Corporation');

Attempt to insert a new stock item along with the quantity of stock. If the item already exists, instead update the stock count of the existing item. To do this without failing the entire transaction, use savepoints.

-- other operations
INSERT INTO wines VALUES('Chateau Lafite 2003', '24');
-- Assume the above fails because of a unique key violation,
-- so now we issue these commands:
UPDATE wines SET stock = stock + 24 WHERE winename = 'Chateau 
Lafite 2003';
-- continue with other operations, and eventually


This command conforms to the SQL standard, except that the FROM clause is a Greenplum Database extension.

According to the standard, the column-list syntax should allow a list of columns to be assigned from a single row-valued expression, such as a sub-select:

UPDATE accounts SET (contact_last_name, contact_first_name) =
    (SELECT last_name, first_name FROM salesmen
     WHERE salesmen.id = accounts.sales_id);

This is not currently implemented — the source must be a list of independent expressions.

Some other database systems offer a FROM option in which the target table is supposed to be listed again within FROM. That is not how Greenplum Database interprets FROM. Be careful when porting applications that use this extension.

See Also


Parent topic: SQL Commands

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