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Alter table

Change a table's structure after it has been created.

If you create a table and later want to change its structure, this is possible but with a couple of limitations. Developers can take advantage of the ALTER TABLE statement but only for adding additional columns, renaming an existing one, or dropping a column. You cannot remove or change type definitions for existing columns nor rename the table itself, and a column with a PRIMARY KEY constraint cannot be dropped.


The ALTER TABLE clause can be passed as a mutating SQL query in few scenarios (note: you cannot rename or drop a table):

  • Adding a column.
  • Renaming a column.
  • Dropping a column.

Adding a column

To add a new column, you simply specify the column name, type, and any other constraints.

ALTER TABLE table_name ADD COLUMN new_col text;

Now, querying the table will yield results with the new column name.

Renaming a column

To change a column's name, it's a similar process but

ALTER TABLE table_name RENAME orig_col TO new_col;

Dropping a column

Lastly, you can also remove a column entirely by "dropping" it.

ALTER TABLE table_name DROP new_col;