The psql \i command is able to execute a given SQL script but I need a way to pass parameters to the script.

Example: say you have this simple script

select * from :table LIMIT 1;

I've tried

my_db=> \i my-script.sql -v table="core.product"

but got this error

psql:my-script.sql:1: ERROR:  syntax error at or near ":"
LINE 1: select * from :table LIMIT 1;
\i: extra argument "-v" ignored
\i: extra argument "table="core.product"" ignored

I know that running this on terminal will work, but I'm already inside psql.

psql -v table="core.product" -f my-script.sql

1 Answer 1


Use \set to set a variable inside psql.
Read about SQL interpolation in the manual here:

Ideally, your script would read:

SELECT * FROM :"my_schema".:"my_table" LIMIT 1;

With schema and table double-quoted separately, for identifier-interpolation. Then set schema and table in psql without quotes like:

my_db=>\set my_schema core
my_db=>\set my_table product

Just the bare, case-sensitive names. Finally, execute:

my_db=>\i my-script.sql

This way, the script is safe against SQL injection.

  • Thank you for the quick response! Would be nice if I was able to run multiple \set commands at once Sep 29, 2021 at 15:06
  • 1
    @MichaelPacheco: You can have multiple \set commands in the same line. Like: \set a b \set c d \set e f Sep 29, 2021 at 15:38

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