SUBSTRING function - Amazon Redshift

SUBSTRING function

Returns the subset of a string based on the specified start position.

If the input is a character string, the start position and number of characters extracted are based on characters, not bytes, so that multi-byte characters are counted as single characters. If the input is a binary expression, the start position and extracted substring are based on bytes. You can't specify a negative length, but you can specify a negative starting position.

Syntax

SUBSTRING(character_string FROM start_position [ FOR number_characters ] )
SUBSTRING(character_string, start_position, number_characters )
SUBSTRING(binary_expression, start_byte, number_bytes )
SUBSTRING(binary_expression, start_byte )

Arguments

character_string

The string to be searched. Non-character data types are treated like a string.

start_position

The position within the string to begin the extraction, starting at 1. The start_position is based on the number of characters, not bytes, so that multi-byte characters are counted as single characters. This number can be negative.

number_characters

The number of characters to extract (the length of the substring). The number_characters is based on the number of characters, not bytes, so that multi-byte characters are counted as single characters. This number cannot be negative.

binary_expression

The binary_expression of data type VARBYTE to be searched.

start_byte

The position within the binary expression to begin the extraction, starting at 1. This number can be negative.

number_bytes

The number of bytes to extract, that is, the length of the substring. This number can't be negative.

Return type

VARCHAR or VARBYTE depending on the input.

Usage notes for character strings

The following example returns a four-character string beginning with the sixth character.

select substring('caterpillar',6,4); substring ----------- pill (1 row)

If the start_position + number_characters exceeds the length of the string, SUBSTRING returns a substring starting from the start_position until the end of the string. For example:

select substring('caterpillar',6,8); substring ----------- pillar (1 row)

If the start_position is negative or 0, the SUBSTRING function returns a substring beginning at the first character of string with a length of start_position + number_characters -1. For example:

select substring('caterpillar',-2,6); substring ----------- cat (1 row)

If start_position + number_characters -1 is less than or equal to zero, SUBSTRING returns an empty string. For example:

select substring('caterpillar',-5,4); substring ----------- (1 row)

Examples

The following example returns the month from the LISTTIME string in the LISTING table:

select listid, listtime, substring(listtime, 6, 2) as month from listing order by 1, 2, 3 limit 10; listid | listtime | month --------+---------------------+------- 1 | 2008-01-24 06:43:29 | 01 2 | 2008-03-05 12:25:29 | 03 3 | 2008-11-01 07:35:33 | 11 4 | 2008-05-24 01:18:37 | 05 5 | 2008-05-17 02:29:11 | 05 6 | 2008-08-15 02:08:13 | 08 7 | 2008-11-15 09:38:15 | 11 8 | 2008-11-09 05:07:30 | 11 9 | 2008-09-09 08:03:36 | 09 10 | 2008-06-17 09:44:54 | 06 (10 rows)

The following example is the same as above, but uses the FROM...FOR option:

select listid, listtime, substring(listtime from 6 for 2) as month from listing order by 1, 2, 3 limit 10; listid | listtime | month --------+---------------------+------- 1 | 2008-01-24 06:43:29 | 01 2 | 2008-03-05 12:25:29 | 03 3 | 2008-11-01 07:35:33 | 11 4 | 2008-05-24 01:18:37 | 05 5 | 2008-05-17 02:29:11 | 05 6 | 2008-08-15 02:08:13 | 08 7 | 2008-11-15 09:38:15 | 11 8 | 2008-11-09 05:07:30 | 11 9 | 2008-09-09 08:03:36 | 09 10 | 2008-06-17 09:44:54 | 06 (10 rows)

You can't use SUBSTRING to predictably extract the prefix of a string that might contain multi-byte characters because you need to specify the length of a multi-byte string based on the number of bytes, not the number of characters. To extract the beginning segment of a string based on the length in bytes, you can CAST the string as VARCHAR(byte_length) to truncate the string, where byte_length is the required length. The following example extracts the first 5 bytes from the string 'Fourscore and seven'.

select cast('Fourscore and seven' as varchar(5)); varchar ------- Fours

The following example shows a negative start position of a binary value abc. Because the start position is -3, the substring is extracted from the beginning of the binary value. The result is automatically shown as the hexadecimal representation of the binary substring.

select substring('abc'::varbyte, -3); substring ----------- 616263

The following example shows a 1 for the start position of a binary value abc. Because because there is no length specified, the string is extracted from the start position to the end of the string. The result is automatically shown as the hexadecimal representation of the binary substring.

select substring('abc'::varbyte, 1); substring ----------- 616263

The following example shows a 3 for the start position of a binary value abc. Because because there is no length specified, the string is extracted from the start position to the end of the string. The result is automatically shown as the hexadecimal representation of the binary substring.

select substring('abc'::varbyte, 3); substring ----------- 63

The following example shows a 2 for the start position of a binary value abc. The string is extracted from the start position to position 10, but the end of the string is at position 3. The result is automatically shown as the hexadecimal representation of the binary substring.

select substring('abc'::varbyte, 2, 10); substring ----------- 6263

The following example shows a 2 for the start position of a binary value abc. The string is extracted from the start position for 1 byte. The result is automatically shown as the hexadecimal representation of the binary substring.

select substring('abc'::varbyte, 2, 1); substring ----------- 62