OFFSET Clause in PostgreSQL

How to use the OFFSET Clause in PostgreSQL with Examples

Hey SQL enthusiasts! 👋 Hope you’re enjoying our deep dive into the world of PostgreSQL. We’ve covered quite a few topics, from basic table creation and data insertion to sorting and limiting result sets. Today, let’s take a closer look at another powerful tool for navigating large datasets: the OFFSET clause. This one’s especially useful when you’re working with paginated results. Ready? Let’s get started!

What is the OFFSET Clause?

The OFFSET clause in PostgreSQL allows you to skip a specified number of rows before starting to return the rows from a SQL query. This is great when you’re dealing with paginated data in applications and only want to retrieve a chunk of rows at a time.

Basic Syntax

Here’s what the basic OFFSET syntax looks like:

SELECT column1, column2 FROM table_name OFFSET number_of_rows;

Example: Skipping Rows in the tv_series Table

Let’s return to our handy tv_series table, which is chock-full of TV shows. Suppose we want to skip the first five entries and see what comes after that. How? You guessed it—the OFFSET clause.

Using OFFSET to Skip the First 5 Records

SELECT name, genre FROM tv_series OFFSET 5;
name genre
The Mandalorian Science Fiction
The Office Comedy

Common Flags and Usage Patterns


You can pair OFFSET with the LIMIT clause to precisely control the number of records you retrieve:

SELECT name, genre FROM tv_series LIMIT 5 OFFSET 5;

Combining OFFSET with ORDER BY

When using OFFSET, it’s usually a good idea to use it with ORDER BY to make sure the rows are in a predictable sequence:

SELECT name, genre FROM tv_series ORDER BY name ASC OFFSET 3;

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: syntax error at or near "OFFSET"


You’ve probably made a syntax error around the OFFSET keyword.


  • Double-check your query syntax to make sure you’ve placed OFFSET correctly and didn’t miss any essential keywords or punctuation.

Error Message:

ERROR: OFFSET must not be negative


You’ve likely entered a negative number for the OFFSET value.


  • Use a positive integer for the OFFSET value to indicate the number of rows to skip.

And there you have it! The OFFSET clause provides a simple yet effective way to navigate through large datasets. So whether you’re building a complex application or just trying to get a handle on your data, OFFSET can make your life easier. 🎉

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time, keep those queries rolling! 🚀

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