Is it possible to INSERT values into a PostgreSQL table from a SELECT statement and to use DEFAULT values for the columns that are null?

In my case, the SELECT statement is selecting from JSON.

In the attempts below, I was successful by explicitly retrieving the sequence but I am hoping there is a way to either INSERT using the DEFAULT values. Or select DEFAULT values without having to call the default functions explicitly.

-- Example table
create table animals
    id serial,
    nm character varying (30) NOT NULL, --name
    typ character varying(10),
    tvi integer,
    tvf numeric(8,3)

insert into animals VALUES (DEFAULT,'mouse','m',4,12.45);

select row_to_json(a) from animals a;

select * from json_populate_record(null::animals,'{"id":null,"nm":"mouse","typ":"m","tvi":4,"tvf":12.450}');

--All good.

-- Attempt #1
select id ,nm,typ,tvi,tvf from json_populate_record(null::animals,'{"id":null,"nm":"mouse","typ":"m","tvi":4,"tvf":12.450}');

ERROR:  null value in column "id" violates not-null constraint
DETAIL:  Failing row contains (null, mouse, m, 4, 12.450).
********** Error **********

ERROR: null value in column "id" violates not-null constraint
SQL state: 23502
Detail: Failing row contains (null, mouse, m, 4, 12.450).

-- Attempt #2
select DEFAULT,nm,typ,tvi,tvf from json_populate_record(null::animals,'{"id":null,"nm":"mouse","typ":"m","tvi":4,"tvf":12.450}');

/*  I didn't  expect this to work, but it does illustrate what I am trying to accomplish
ERROR:  syntax error at or near "DEFAULT"
LINE 2: select DEFAULT,nm,typ,tvi,tvf from json_populate_record(null...
********** Error **********

ERROR: syntax error at or near "DEFAULT"
SQL state: 42601
Character: 28


-- Attempt #3
select nextval('animals_id_seq'::regclass),nm,typ,tvi,tvf from json_populate_record(null::animals,'{"id":null,"nm":"mouse","typ":"m","tvi":4,"tvf":12.450}');

/*  This works, but I'm hoping for a way to accomplish this without knowing the underlying functions generating the default values.
Query returned successfully: one row affected, 11 msec execution time.

select version();  --'PostgreSQL 9.5.1, compiled by Visual C++ build 1800, 64-bit'

3 Answers 3


If you add all ColumnsNames (exclude the 'id' Column) after the Tablename, there will be Insert the serial automaticly like:

INSERT INTO animals(nm,typ,tvi,tvf) select nm,typ,tvi,tvf from json_po..... 

You can also add a DEFAULT Value in your Column, to set a Default Value if the column is not in the Insert Column-list.


If you want to add more than one record :

insert into animals(nm,typ,tvi,tvf) 
select nm,typ,tvi,tvf 
from json_populate_recordset(null::animals, 

This is kind of related. I found it useful when all the columns have defaults.

drop schema if exists Working cascade;
create schema Working;
create table if not exists Working.postgresDateTesting
    ts1 timestamptz not null default now(),
    ts2 timestamptz not null default now(),
    ts3 timestamptz not null default now()

insert into Working.postgresDateTesting select;

select * from Working.postgresDateTesting;

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