I am having problems with SQLite? I didn't have this problem when using the same tables on PostgreSQL. When the table is empty and you use the following SQL statement it throws an error.

INSERT INTO [table] ([column]) VALUES ([column value]) RETURNING [column];

The returning column is an auto-increment primary key field and the error says there is a syntax error after 'RETURNING'. When there is already another record in the table, it has no issues. My workaround right now is to do an empty table check and insert a dummy record if needed. This is clunky, and I feel like there is something I am missing. Any thoughts out there?

  • 1
    Works for me. Perhaps you can create a repro?
    – mustaccio
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 20:32
  • dbfiddle.uk cool site! Your sql fails when I run it locally. screenshot: ibb.co/pJTkY9Z SQLite Version 3.12.99 FYI: It doesn't just fail in DB Browser, it also fails in code.
    – Grymjack
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Your version (3.12.99) of SQLite doesn't support the RETURNING clause:

The RETURNING syntax has been supported by SQLite since version 3.35.0 (2021-03-12).

This is why mustaccio's repro works, it's using version 3.39, but dbfiddle allows you to drop the version down to 3.27 and you get an error there as well then.

  • Ok, thank you. db-to-sqlite is the tool I use to dump from postgresql to sqllite. pypi.org/project/db-to-sqlite Looking like the last update was Jun 11, 2021. Do you know of a dump tool that creates a more current version of a sqlite file?
    – Grymjack
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 21:12
  • 1
    @Grymjack Unfortunately I don't, sorry. But not sure I fully follow either...would it be possible to upgrade your version of SQLite?
    – J.D.
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 21:47
  • the db-to-sqlite tool creates the sqlite file. I guess I need to upgrade the .dll file? I thought that since it was a 'portable' database (using this for a android app) that it was built into the actual file.
    – Grymjack
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 22:06
  • 1
    @Grymjack Oh I see, I didn't realize that tool creates a database file for you. I assumed just scripts that you were then running on your own local instance. Hmm not sure what else to advise, sorry. Best of luck!
    – J.D.
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 0:19
  • 1
    I dropped an issue on GitHub for the creator of the tool. Meanwhile I can work around it by inserting a dummy record in an empty table. "INSERT INTO " + table_name + " DEFAULT VALUES")
    – Grymjack
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 1:00

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