ORDER BY Clause in PostgreSQL

How to use the ORDER BY Clause in PostgreSQL with Examples

👋 Hey! Welcome back to another exciting chapter in our PostgreSQL journey. We’ve conquered topics like creating tables, inserting data, fetching records, and even filtering with the WHERE clause. But what about arranging your results? That’s where the ORDER BY clause comes in! Let’s dive right in.

What is the ORDER BY Clause?

The ORDER BY clause is your go-to SQL tool for sorting the result set of a query by one or more columns. This comes in super handy when you’re dealing with large sets of data and need your results to be in a more understandable or manageable order.

Basic Syntax

To break it down to its most basic form, the syntax for ORDER BY looks like this:

SELECT column1, column2 FROM table_name ORDER BY column1 [ASC|DESC], column2 [ASC|DESC];

Example: Sorting Data in the tv_series Table

Let’s circle back to our trusty tv_series table. We’ve got data on various TV shows, their genres, and the number of seasons they’ve run. How about we sort this data by the number of seasons?

Using ORDER BY to Sort by Seasons

Here’s a query that sorts the series by the number of seasons in descending order:

SELECT name, seasons FROM tv_series ORDER BY seasons DESC;
name seasons
Friends 10
The Office 9
Game of Thrones 8
Breaking Bad 5
The Crown 4
Stranger Things 4
The Mandalorian 2

Common Flags and Usage Patterns

Sorting by Multiple Columns

You can sort by more than one column by separating the column names with commas:

SELECT name, genre, seasons FROM tv_series ORDER BY genre ASC, seasons DESC;

Case-insensitive Sorting with LOWER()

If you’re working with text, PostgreSQL’s ORDER BY is case-sensitive by default. You can use LOWER() for a case-insensitive sort:

SELECT name FROM tv_series ORDER BY LOWER(name);

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: column "some_column" does not exist


You’ve likely mistyped a column name in the ORDER BY clause.


  • Double-check your column names to ensure there are no typos or case-sensitivity issues.

Error Message:

ERROR: syntax error at or near "ORDER"


You probably have a syntax error around your ORDER BY keyword.


  • Make sure you haven’t mistyped the ORDER BY keywords or forgotten any essential punctuation.

And there you have it! You’re now well-equipped to sort your query results like a pro. So go ahead, play around with ORDER BY and make your data dance to your tune. 🎶 Until next time, happy querying! 🚀

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