My table column defined intcol integer; no NOT NULL constraint. In the load file most values are integers, but a few are null values labeled with the '\N' default as suggested by the copy manual. Can the copy command convert '\N' to null values in the table? I also tried with null 'NA'. Got similar error message.

ERROR:  invalid input syntax for integer: "\N"
CONTEXT:  COPY table_name, line 111, column position3: "\N"

Any trick?

1 Answer 1


Use the NULL parameter. From the documentation:


Specifies the string that represents a null value. The default is \N (backslash-N) in text format, and an unquoted empty string in CSV format.


copy my_table from '/my/csv_file.csv' (format csv, null '\N');
  • 2
    Initially I thought it (\N) is the default, and you don't have to specify it.
    – Kemin Zhou
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 16:35
  • 2
    @KeminZhou \N is the default if you are using the default format. But once you switch the format to csv, the default is an unquoted empty string
    – jjanes
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 17:28

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