PostgreSQL data types

This topic defines the data types supported for PostgreSQL-dialect databases.

Supported PostgreSQL data types

All types except NUMERIC and JSONB are valid as primary keys, foreign keys, and secondary indexes. FLOAT8 columns used as a key column cannot store NaN values.

Supported PostgreSQL data types Description
array Ordered list of zero or more elements of any non-array type. The PostgreSQL interface does not support multi-dimensional arrays. For more information, see Array type.
bool / boolean Logical Boolean (true/false).
bytea Binary data ("byte array").
date Dates ranging from 0001-01-01 to 9999-12-31. The DATE type represents a logical calendar date, independent of time zone. A DATE value does not represent a specific 24-hour time period. Rather, a given DATE value represents a different 24-hour period when interpreted in different time zones, and may represent a shorter or longer day during Daylight Savings Time transitions. To represent an absolute point in time, use the timestamptz data type.
double precision / float8 IEEE-754 double-precision binary floating-point format number (8 bytes) (Wikipedia link). float8 type follows PostgreSQL semantics:
  • NaNs are greater than all non-null values.
  • NaNs are considered equal.
int An alias for int8. In : open-source PostgreSQL, int is a four-byte integer, but in PostgreSQL interface for Cloud Spanner int maps to int8, a signed eight-byte integer.
int8 / bigint Signed eight-byte (64-bit) integer.
jsonb Data type used for holding JSON data. It maps to the PostgreSQL JSONB data type. For more information, see Work with JSONB data.
numeric / decimal Arbitrary length numeric data. Optional precision and scale type modifiers (for example, numeric(18,4)) are supported in DQL/DML statements (e.g. SELECT or INSERT), but not currently in DDL statements (e.g. CREATE or ALTER). See Working with NUMERIC data for more information. NUMERIC follows PostgreSQL semantics:
  • NaNs are greater than all non-null values.
  • NaNs are considered equal.
timestamptz/timestamp with time zone Date and time, including time zone.
varchar / text / character varying Variable-length character string. Optional type modifier (not applicable to the text type) specifies a column size limit in characters ( e.g. varchar(64)). Maximum column size limit for these types is 2621440 characters. timestamp with time zone can be expressed with a UTC offset. The following timestamp literal specifies America/Los_Angeles Pacific Standard Time 2016-06-22 19:10:25-08.

Supported formats for date data type

See the following table for the supported input formats for the date data type. Note that the date interpretation is month-day-year similar to the case when the DateStyle parameter is set to MDY in open-source PostgreSQL.

Example Description
1999-01-08 ISO 8601; January 8 (recommended format)
January 8, 1999 Unambiguous
1/8/1999 January 8
1/18/1999 January 18
01/02/03 January 2, 2003
1999-Jan-08 January 8
Jan-08-1999 January 8
08-Jan-1999 January 8
99-Jan-08 Returns error
08-Jan-99 January 8
Jan-08-99 January 8
19990108 ISO 8601; January 8, 1999
990108 ISO 8601; January 8, 1999
1999.008 Year and day of year
J2451187 Julian date

Supported formats for timestamptz data type

See the following tables for the supported input formats for the timestamptz data type.

Time input:

Example Description
04:05:06.789 ISO 8601
04:05:06 ISO 8601
04:05 ISO 8601
040506 ISO 8601
04:05 AM Same as 04:05; AM does not affect value
04:05 PM Same as 16:05; input hour must be <= 12
04:05:06.789-8 ISO 8601, with time zone as UTC offset
04:05:06-08:00 ISO 8601, with time zone as UTC offset
04:05-08:00 ISO 8601, with time zone as UTC offset
040506-08 ISO 8601, with time zone as UTC offset
040506+0730 ISO 8601, with fractional-hour time zone as UTC offset
040506+07:30:00 UTC offset specified to seconds (not allowed in ISO 8601)
2003-04-12 04:05:06 America/New_York Time zone specified by full name
2003-04-12 04:05:06-8 Time zone specified with -8, UTC offset for PST

Time zone input:

Example Description
America/New_York Full time zone name
-8:00:00 UTC offset for PST
-8:00 UTC offset for PST (ISO 8601 extended format)
-800 UTC offset for PST (ISO 8601 basic format)
-8 UTC offset for PST (ISO 8601 basic format)
zulu Military abbreviation for UTC

Unsupported formats for date and timestamptz data types

Time zone abbreviations such as PST and z are not supported.

The following special literal values are also not supported: now, yesterday, today, tomorrow, epoch, -infinity and infinity.

For example, the following query returns an error:

SELECT 'today'::timestamptz;

Unsupported PostgreSQL data types

All other open-source PostgreSQL data types are currently not supported. The following common types are not supported:

  • CHAR

Array type

Arrays in the PostgreSQL interface use the behavior and syntax described in the PostgreSQL Declaration of Array types, except for the specified Array type limitations.

For the PostgreSQL interface, an array is an ordered list of zero or more elements of non-array values. Elements in an array must share the same type.

Arrays of arrays are not allowed. Queries that would produce an array of arrays return an error. An empty array and a NULL array are two distinct values. Arrays can contain NULL elements.

Declare an array type

The following example shows how to create a table that declares an array:

CREATE TABLE students_info (
    name             text PRIMARY KEY,
    phone_numbers    varchar[]

Array declaration includes a name and square brackets ([]) with the desired array data type. In the previous example, the name is "phone_numbers", and varchar[] denotes a varchar array for the phone contacts for students. The previous example also adds a text type column for student names.


Type declarations Description
bigint[] Simple array of 64-bit integers.
integer[3] DDL syntax allows the exact size of arrays to be specified. Note, however, that declaring an array size does not enforce a size limit. Array size can be modified after declaration.
integer ARRAY[4]
integer ARRAY
An alternative syntax which is more similar to the SQL standard by using the keyword ARRAY. As before, the size restriction is not enforced in any case.

Construct an array

You can construct an array using array literals or array functions. To learn how, see Working with arrays in PostgreSQL-dialect databases.

Array limitations for PostgreSQL-dialect databases

This section lists limitations for the array data type for PostgreSQL-dialect databases, as opposed to native PostgreSQL.

Multidimensional arrays

The PostgreSQL interface does not support multi-dimensional arrays. For example, you cannot create the following array:

CREATE TABLE rectangle_grid (
    id          integer PRIMARY KEY,
    rectangle   integer[4][3]

Array slices

The PostgreSQL interface does not support using array slice syntax, e.g. SELECT my_array[2:4].