PostgreSQL Tutorial: PL/pgSQL Record Types

August 4, 2023

Summary: in this tutorial, you will learn about the PL/pgSQL record types that allow you to define variables that can hold a single row from a result set.

Table of Contents

Introduction to PL/pgSQL record types

PostgreSQL provides a “type” called the record that is similar to the row-type.

To declare a record variable, you use a variable name followed by the record keyword like this:

variable_name record;

A record variable is similar to a row-type variable. It can hold only one row of a result set.

Unlike a row-type variable, a record variable does not have a predefined structure. The structure of a record variable is determined when the select or for statement assigns an actual row to it.

To access a field in the record, you use the dot notation (.) syntax like this:


If you attempt to access a field in a record variable before it is assigned, you will get an error.

In fact, a record is not a true data type. It is just a placeholder. Also, a record variable can change its structure when you reassign it.

PL/pgSQL record examples

Let’s take some examples of using the record variables.

1) Using record with the select into statement

The following example illustrates how to use the record variable with the select into statement:

	rec record;
	-- select the film 
	select film_id, title, length 
	into rec
	from film
	where film_id = 200;
	raise notice '% % %', rec.film_id, rec.title, rec.length;   
language plpgsql;

How it works.

  • First, declare a record variable called rec in the declaration section.
  • Second use the select into statement to select a row whose film_id is 200 into the rec variable
  • Third, print out the information of the film via the record variable.

2) Using record variables in the for loop statement

The following shows how to use a record variable in a for loop statement:

	rec record;
	for rec in select title, length 
			from film 
			where length > 50
			order by length
		raise notice '% (%)', rec.title, rec.length;	
	end loop;

Here is the parial output:

NOTICE:  Hall Cassidy (51)
NOTICE:  Champion Flatliners (51)
NOTICE:  Deep Crusade (51)
NOTICE:  Simon North (51)
NOTICE:  English Bulworth (51)

Note that you will learn more about the for loop statement in the for loop tutorial.

How it works:

  • First, declare a variable named r with the type record.
  • Second, use the for loop statement to fetch rows from the film table (in the sample database). The for loop statement assigns the row that consists of title and length to the rec variable in each iteration.
  • Third, show the contents of the fields of the record variable by using the dot notation (rec.title and rec.length)


  • A record is a placeholder that can hold a single row of a result set.
  • A record has not predefined structure like a row variable. Its structure is determined when you assign a row to it.

See more

PostgreSQL PL/pgSQL Tutorial