CREATE SEQUENCE() SQL Commands CREATE SEQUENCE()NAME
CREATE SEQUENCE - define a new sequence generator
CREATE [ TEMPORARY | TEMP ] SEQUENCE name [ INCREMENT [ BY ] increment ]
[ MINVALUE minvalue | NO MINVALUE ] [ MAXVALUE maxvalue | NO MAXVALUE ]
[ START [ WITH ] start ] [ CACHE cache ] [ [ NO ] CYCLE ]
CREATE SEQUENCE creates a new sequence number generator. This involves
creating and initializing a new special single-row table with the name
name. The generator will be owned by the user issuing the command.
If a schema name is given then the sequence is created in the specified
schema. Otherwise it is created in the current schema. Temporary
sequences exist in a special schema, so a schema name may not be given
when creating a temporary sequence. The sequence name must be distinct
from the name of any other sequence, table, index, or view in the same
After a sequence is created, you use the functions nextval, currval,
and setval to operate on the sequence. These functions are documented
in the documentation.
Although you cannot update a sequence directly, you can use a query
SELECT * FROM name;
to examine the parameters and current state of a sequence. In particu‐
lar, the last_value field of the sequence shows the last value allo‐
cated by any session. (Of course, this value may be obsolete by the
time it's printed, if other sessions are actively doing nextval calls.)
TEMPORARY or TEMP
If specified, the sequence object is created only for this ses‐
sion, and is automatically dropped on session exit. Existing
permanent sequences with the same name are not visible (in this
session) while the temporary sequence exists, unless they are
referenced with schema-qualified names.
name The name (optionally schema-qualified) of the sequence to be
The optional clause INCREMENT BY increment specifies which value
is added to the current sequence value to create a new value. A
positive value will make an ascending sequence, a negative one a
descending sequence. The default value is 1.
The optional clause MINVALUE minvalue determines the minimum
value a sequence can generate. If this clause is not supplied or
NO MINVALUE is specified, then defaults will be used. The
defaults are 1 and -263-1 for ascending and descending
The optional clause MAXVALUE maxvalue determines the maximum
value for the sequence. If this clause is not supplied or NO
MAXVALUE is specified, then default values will be used. The
defaults are 263-1 and -1 for ascending and descending
start The optional clause START WITH start allows the sequence to
begin anywhere. The default starting value is minvalue for
ascending sequences and maxvalue for descending ones.
cache The optional clause CACHE cache specifies how many sequence num‐
bers are to be preallocated and stored in memory for faster
access. The minimum value is 1 (only one value can be generated
at a time, i.e., no cache), and this is also the default.
The CYCLE option allows the sequence to wrap around when the
maxvalue or minvalue has been reached by an ascending or
descending sequence respectively. If the limit is reached, the
next number generated will be the minvalue or maxvalue, respec‐
If NO CYCLE is specified, any calls to nextval after the
sequence has reached its maximum value will return an error. If
neither CYCLE or NO CYCLE are specified, NO CYCLE is the
Use DROP SEQUENCE to remove a sequence.
Sequences are based on bigint arithmetic, so the range cannot exceed
the range of an eight-byte integer (-9223372036854775808 to
9223372036854775807). On some older platforms, there may be no compiler
support for eight-byte integers, in which case sequences use regular
integer arithmetic (range -2147483648 to +2147483647).
Unexpected results may be obtained if a cache setting greater than one
is used for a sequence object that will be used concurrently by multi‐
ple sessions. Each session will allocate and cache successive sequence
values during one access to the sequence object and increase the
sequence object's last_value accordingly. Then, the next cache-1 uses
of nextval within that session simply return the preallocated values
without touching the sequence object. So, any numbers allocated but not
used within a session will be lost when that session ends, resulting in
``holes'' in the sequence.
Furthermore, although multiple sessions are guaranteed to allocate dis‐
tinct sequence values, the values may be generated out of sequence when
all the sessions are considered. For example, with a cache setting of
10, session A might reserve values 1..10 and return nextval=1, then
session B might reserve values 11..20 and return nextval=11 before ses‐
sion A has generated nextval=2. Thus, with a cache setting of one it is
safe to assume that nextval values are generated sequentially; with a
cache setting greater than one you should only assume that the nextval
values are all distinct, not that they are generated purely sequen‐
tially. Also, last_value will reflect the latest value reserved by any
session, whether or not it has yet been returned by nextval.
Another consideration is that a setval executed on such a sequence will
not be noticed by other sessions until they have used up any preallo‐
cated values they have cached.
Create an ascending sequence called serial, starting at 101:
CREATE SEQUENCE serial START 101;
Select the next number from this sequence:
Use this sequence in an INSERT command:
INSERT INTO distributors VALUES (nextval('serial'), 'nothing');
Update the sequence value after a COPY FROM:
COPY distributors FROM 'input_file';
SELECT setval('serial', max(id)) FROM distributors;
CREATE SEQUENCE conforms to the SQL standard, with the following excep‐
· The standard's AS <data type> expression is not supported.
· Obtaining the next value is done using the nextval() function instead
of the standard's NEXT VALUE FOR expression.
SQL - Language Statements 2005-11-05 CREATE SEQUENCE()