REPLACE() string function – with examples in PostgreSQL

String functions are quite useful for manipulating character and text data. Most SQL dialects have several different ones for different use cases so there is surely one (or two) to fit your needs. In this post, I’ll visit the REPLACE() function with examples in PostgreSQL.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Note: All data, names or naming found within the database presented in this post, are strictly used for practice, learning, instruction, and testing purposes. It by no means depicts actual data belonging to or being used by any party or organization.

OS and DB used:
  • Xubuntu Linux 18.04.2 LTS (Bionic Beaver)
  • PostgreSQL 11.2


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I’ll use a couple of tables from the PostgreSQL practice DVD Rental database for the example queries below.

A while back, I wrote Useful String Function – REPLACE in MySQL with examples. I feel it’s only fair to provide the same for the PostgreSQL fanboy (in me) and like-minded fans of this great ecosystem as well.

Let’s see what values are present in the ‘film’ table’s ‘rating’ column:

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dvdrental=> SELECT DISTINCT rating FROM film;
 rating
--------
 PG
 R
 G
 PG-13
 NC-17
(5 rows)

If you want to change ‘PG’ to ‘Parental Guidance’ you can pass in that argument to REPLACE():

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dvdrental=> SELECT REPLACE(rating::text, 'PG', 'Parental Guidance')
dvdrental-> FROM film
dvdrental-> WHERE rating = 'PG'
dvdrental-> LIMIT 1;
      replace      
-------------------
 Parental Guidance
(1 row)

As you can see, the syntax is easy to follow. Provide: 1) the target string, 2) the portion of the target string you want to be replaced, 3) what you want that portion replaced with. Then, you’re off to the races.

Here’s another simple example along the same lines as that shown above:

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dvdrental=> SELECT REPLACE(rating::text, 'G', 'General')
dvdrental-> FROM film
dvdrental-> WHERE rating = 'G'
dvdrental-> LIMIT 1;
 replace
---------
 General
(1 row)

To be honest, I am not quite sure what the NC stands for in ‘NC-17’, but I’ll wing it anyways:

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dvdrental=> SELECT REPLACE(rating::text, 'NC-17', 'Non Compatible-17')
dvdrental-> FROM film
dvdrental-> WHERE rating = 'NC-17'
dvdrental-> LIMIT 1;
      replace      
-------------------
 Non Compatible-17
(1 row)

Try out the REPLACE() function and see how you like it or where you can put it to good use. Hit me up in the comments below with your feedback.

Like what you have read? See anything incorrect? Please comment below and thanks for reading!!!

Explore the official PostgreSQL 11 On-line Documentation for more information.

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Josh Otwell has a passion to study and grow as a SQL Developer and blogger. Other favorite activities find him with his nose buried in a good book, article, or the Linux command line. Among those, he shares a love of tabletop RPG games, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Disclaimer: The examples presented in this post are hypothetical ideas of how to achieve similar types of results. They are not the utmost best solution(s). The majority, if not all, of the examples provided, is performed on a personal development/learning workstation-environment and should not be considered production quality or ready. Your particular goals and needs may vary. Use those practices that best benefit your needs and goals. Opinions are my own.

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