I want to execute several sql scripts sequentially with psql as a single transaction to set up my database schema. What is the best way to do this? In the past I know I had a master script that I ran psql against that included the other files however I don't remember the syntax of this script.

3 Answers 3


Your script could look like this:

\i file1.sql
\i file2.sql

Or you could do something like this:

cat file1.sql file2.sql | psql -1 -f -
  • 1
    Understanding pipes in the shell helped me get the last command.
    – ma11hew28
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 15:13
  • Your example with BEGIN; COMMIT; does not work, you need semi-columns at the end of each \i line:
    – nichochar
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 22:53

You could also simply do:

psql -c "BEGIN TRANSACTION;" -f file1.sql -f file2.sql -c "COMMIT;"

This will actually run in four different chained parts through the psql:

  2. Run file1.sql
  3. Run file2.sql
  4. Run COMMIT;

I did it using find in unix / linux with the path to the file sql past with rep_sql parameter with "read" instruction :

find -P ${rep_sql} -type f -name *.sql -execdir psql -d "mabase" -f {} +

It says: find not following links files whatever the name with ext as «.sql» and execute in the directory of the file psql working with mabase and execute the file found.

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