I have a boolean column that will be false for >99.9% of the rows. I need to efficiently fetch all rows where that column is true.

What's the best option? Creating an index on the column? Creating a partial index where the column is true? But I don't know what columns the partial index would / should hold.

This doesn't parse, but is there any way to do something like: CREATE INDEX mytable_cond ON mytable () WHERE cond = TRUE; ? Where the index holds literally zero columns?

  • Partial index
    – McNets
    Apr 4, 2020 at 22:07
  • Yes, but on what rows? What rows do I put in ( )?
    – lurf jurv
    Apr 4, 2020 at 22:10
  • What other columns do you have in the table? Will you ever restrict on those too? How many rows are true? Apr 4, 2020 at 22:34
  • No, I only need to fetch where this one boolean column is true. There are many other columns. I have some other complicated indexes for the other common query. Less than one in a thousand rows will have this column as true.
    – lurf jurv
    Apr 4, 2020 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


You are saying "rows" where I think you mean "columns".

It is not legal to specify an empty list of columns in an index. Just pick a column, preferably one with a short data type. If nothing else, just repeat the same column in both places.

CREATE INDEX mytable_cond ON mytable (cond) WHERE cond = TRUE;

Be careful how you formulate our index and queries. A cond = true query cannot use a partial index defined where cond is true and vice versa, those are not considered equivalent operations.

  • Thanks, you are correct, I have edited my question to say "columns". I will just make a partial index like you say on the column itself, where the value is true.
    – lurf jurv
    Apr 5, 2020 at 0:39
  • @lurfjurv: I would probably include the primary key or some other frequently used columns into the index.
    – user1822
    Apr 5, 2020 at 6:08
  • I'm curious; why? Is it so that the query can become index-only if I'm only fetching a few of the columns? Or another reason?
    – lurf jurv
    Apr 5, 2020 at 6:12

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