Mastering FULL JOIN in PostgreSQL: The Ultimate Guide


As we continue our deep dive into PostgreSQL JOIN operations, it’s time to explore FULL JOIN. This JOIN type is a bit more specialized than its LEFT and RIGHT cousins but can be extremely useful in the right scenarios.

What is a FULL JOIN?

A FULL JOIN combines the results of both LEFT and RIGHT JOINS. The joined PostgreSQL table will contain all records from both tables, and fill in NULLs for missing matches on either side.


The basic syntax for a FULL JOIN operation in PostgreSQL is:

SELECT columns
FROM table1
FULL JOIN table2
ON table1.column = table2.column;

Example Using tv_series and producers Tables

We’ll continue using our tv_series and producers tables for this example. The goal is to retrieve all TV series and producers, even if some series don’t have associated producers or some producers aren’t tied to any series.

Sample Data for tv_series and producers Tables

Assuming the tables have the same sample data as before, including the ‘Unlinked Producer’:

-- Adding a new series not linked to any producer
INSERT INTO tv_series (name, genre, seasons, is_running, release_year)
VALUES ('Unproduced Series', 'Drama', 1, false, 2022);


Here’s how you would use FULL JOIN to get data from both tables:

SELECT tv_series.name AS series_name, producers.name AS producer_name
FROM tv_series
FULL JOIN producers
ON tv_series.id = producers.tv_series_id;

This query will include all series and all producers, with NULLs filling in where no matches are found.

series_name producer_name
Breaking Bad Vince Gilligan
Friends Mark Johnson
Game of Thrones Kevin S. Bright
Stranger Things Marta Kauffman
The Office David Benioff
The Mandalorian D. B. Weiss
NULL Unlinked Producer
Unproduced Series NULL
The Crown NULL
House of Cards NULL
The Sopranos NULL

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: column reference "name" is ambiguous


This error arises when columns from multiple tables share the same name, and it’s unclear which table’s column you’re referring to.


Specify the table name along with the column name: table_name.column_name.

Best Practices and Tips

  • FULL JOINs can be costly in terms of performance. Use them only when necessary.
  • Always be explicit about the type of JOIN you are using for better readability and easier debugging.
  • When possible, filter out unnecessary records using a WHERE clause to improve query performance.


The FULL JOIN operation is a powerful tool in PostgreSQL, allowing for comprehensive data retrieval from multiple tables. Understanding how to use it properly can lead to more insightful queries and better data manipulation. Keep an eye out for more in-depth articles as we continue to explore PostgreSQL JOIN operations.

Leave a Reply