I have the following SQL:

UPDATE table_name as t 
  set value = c.value 
from (values(10, 'key_1', 60),(11, 'key_2', 10)) as c(id, key, value) 
where t.id = c.id and t.key = c.key

This works fine only in the case if the given 'id' and 'key' already exist in the table. However I need to make it UPDATE the value if 'id' and 'key' exist in the DB and INSERT a new row with the given 'id', 'key' and 'value' if it does not.

I got this example working as an UPSERT but for one set of values only:

WITH upsert AS (
 UPDATE table_name 
   SET value=80 
 WHERE id=10 
   AND key='key_1' RETURNING *
INSERT INTO table_name (id, key, value) 
SELECT 10, 'key_1', 10 

I'm not sure how to incorporate this into my case to work with multiple values (first example with UPDATE).

I do not have a unique constraint or index on (id, "key")

1 Answer 1


Use insert ... on conflict

insert into table_Name 
  (id, "key", value) 
  (10, 'key_1', 60),
  (11, 'key_2', 10)
on conflict (id, "key") do update  
  set value = excluded.value;

This assumes that you have a unique key (or index) on table_name(id, "key")

Without a unique constraint or index you can do it like this:

WITH new_values (id, "key", value) as (
  (10, 'key_1', 60),
  (11, 'key_2', 10)

), upsert as (
    update the_table t
        set value = c.value
    FROM new_values nv
    WHERE t.id = nv.id 
      AND t."key" = nv."key"
INSERT INTO the_table (id, "key", value)
SELECT nv.id, nv."key", nv.value
FROM new_values nv
                  FROM upsert up
                  WHERE up.id = nv.id
                    AND up."key" = nv."key")

The above is NOT safe for concurrent insert/updates - you can still wind up with duplicates. The only reliable way to avoid those duplicates is to use a unique constraint or index.

  • Thank you, but I do not have and can't have unique keys on those fields.
    – cycero
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 14:03
  • 3
    @cycero: if you want to make sure you don't have duplicates you should have a unique index on those columns. There is no way you can ensure uniqueness without them - especially not in an environment with concurrent inserts/updates
    – user1822
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 14:04
  • I don't actually need to make them unique, I want to INSERT when they don't exist and UPDATE the value if they do exist, even if there's more than 1 row affected.
    – cycero
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 14:06
  • 2
    You are contradicting yourself. If you don't want to make them unique, you don't need the UPDATE or INSERT to begin with - just INSERT all the time. Your question clearly indicates that you do want to make them unique.
    – user1822
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 14:07
  • 3
    @cycero: then remove the duplicates and create the unique index. I have added a solution that doesn't need such an index. But it is not safe for concurrent inserts.
    – user1822
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 14:13

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