SELECT list - Amazon Redshift


The SELECT list names the columns, functions, and expressions that you want the query to return. The list represents the output of the query.


SELECT [ TOP number ] [ ALL | DISTINCT ] * | expression [ AS column_alias ] [, ...]


TOP number

TOP takes a positive integer as its argument, which defines the number of rows that are returned to the client. The behavior with the TOP clause is the same as the behavior with the LIMIT clause. The number of rows that is returned is fixed, but the set of rows isn't. To return a consistent set of rows, use TOP or LIMIT in conjunction with an ORDER BY clause.


A redundant keyword that defines the default behavior if you don't specify DISTINCT. SELECT ALL * means the same as SELECT * (select all rows for all columns and retain duplicates).


Option that eliminates duplicate rows from the result set, based on matching values in one or more columns.

* (asterisk)

Returns the entire contents of the table (all columns and all rows).


An expression formed from one or more columns that exist in the tables referenced by the query. An expression can contain SQL functions. For example:

avg(datediff(day, listtime, saletime))
AS column_alias

A temporary name for the column that is used in the final result set. The AS keyword is optional. For example:

avg(datediff(day, listtime, saletime)) as avgwait

If you don't specify an alias for an expression that isn't a simple column name, the result set applies a default name to that column.


The alias is recognized right after it is defined in the target list. You can use an alias in other expressions defined after it in the same target list. The following example illustrates this.

select clicks / impressions as probability, round(100 * probability, 1) as percentage from raw_data;

The benefit of the lateral alias reference is you don't need to repeat the aliased expression when building more complex expressions in the same target list. When Amazon Redshift parses this type of reference, it just inlines the previously defined aliases. If there is a column with the same name defined in the FROM clause as the previously aliased expression, the column in the FROM clause takes priority. For example, in the above query if there is a column named 'probability' in table raw_data, the 'probability' in the second expression in the target list refers to that column instead of the alias name 'probability'.

Usage notes

TOP is a SQL extension; it provides an alternative to the LIMIT behavior. You can't use TOP and LIMIT in the same query.