I'm in the middle of a database server migration and I can't figure (after googling and searching here) how can I list the database privileges (or all the privileges across the server) on PostgreSQL using the psql command line tool?

I'm on Ubuntu 11.04 and my PostgreSQL version is 8.2.x.

up vote 77 down vote accepted
postgres=> \l
                                  List of databases
   Name    |  Owner   | Encoding |   Collate   |    Ctype    |   Access privileges   
 postgres  | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | 
 template0 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | =c/postgres          +
           |          |          |             |             | postgres=CTc/postgres
 template1 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | =c/postgres          +
           |          |          |             |             | postgres=CTc/postgres

The docs on GRANT give an explanation of how to interpret the output. For specific privileges on a table of the current database, use \z myTable.

  • \z myTable is perfect for ensuring that you've successfully granted access to someone and avoiding looking like an idiot when you say "okay does it work now? it doesn't???" – ijoseph Jul 17 at 17:50

perhaps you mean listing users and their privileges for a database - I can't quite tell from the question:

postgres=> \du
                             List of roles
    Role name    |  Attributes  |                    Member of
 dba             | Create role  | {util_user,helpdesk_user,helpdesk_admin}
 helpdesk_admin  | Cannot login | {helpdesk_user}
 helpdesk_user   | Cannot login | {helpdesk_reader}
 jack            |              | {helpdesk_admin}
 postgres        | Superuser    | {}
                 : Create role
                 : Create DB
  • Nope I wanted a way to list the privileges of a specific database, but I already figured it out. Owner of the database always has all privileges, right? And afterwards we can add more privileges on the database to other users/groups. Those are listed with the \l command. But very thanks anyway. – pedrosanta Aug 18 '11 at 16:20

You can do that by following:

SELECT grantee, privilege_type 
FROM information_schema.role_table_grants 
WHERE table_name='mytable'

This gives you this kind of output:

enter image description here

  • 3
    Welcome to the site! One small question: why did you insert the output as a screenshot? Please use normal text as often as possible. – dezso Oct 18 '16 at 7:20
  • 1
  • Is there a way I can see permission for sequences? This only gives table information – inquisitive Dec 1 '16 at 12:50
  • Note that (as least under Postgres 9.4) the above will not work for materialized views. – SeldomNeedy Apr 14 '17 at 23:24
  • @HimanshuChauhan if I add a new role 'new_role' using role 'mailreader', will the information_schema.role_table_grants list new_role too? – Anand Jun 8 '17 at 20:57

A (possibly obvious) additional step is become the postgres user, otherwise you may get errors about roles not existing.

sudo su - postgres
psql -l


postgres=> \l
  • 2
    Meta: I'm adding this because this question is highly rated on the google query "postgres list roles" and I spent a bit of time in much lower ranked results before I found what I wanted, so I'm memorializing the extra info. – Adam Shostack Dec 18 '15 at 19:04

using psql meta-commands:


going over the page with Ctrl+F gives:

\ddp [ pattern ] Lists default access privilege settings.

\dp [ pattern ] Lists tables, views and sequences with their associated access privileges.

\l[+] [ pattern ] List the databases in the server and show .... access privileges.

also mentioned above, but not found with word "privileges" on the manual page:

\du+ for roles with login and \dg+ for roles without - will have a filed "Member of" where you find roles granted to roles.

I deliberately skip function and language privileges here, found in psql manual as barely manipulated (and if you do use those privileges you wont come here for an advise). same for user defined types, domains and so on - using "+" after the meta-command will show you privileges if applicable.

a little extreme way to check the privs is droppong the user in transaction, eg:

s=# begin; drop user x;
Time: 0.124 ms
ERROR:  role "x" cannot be dropped because some objects depend on it
DETAIL:  privileges for type "SO dT"
privileges for sequence so
privileges for schema bin
privileges for table xx
privileges for table "csTest"
privileges for table tmp_x
privileges for table s1
privileges for table test
Time: 0.211 ms
s=# rollback;
Time: 0.150 ms

when the list is longer then N, (at least in 9.3) warning with list of privileges is collapsed, but you still can find it full in logs...

Undercovers psql uses the bellow query when you issue \du command.

SELECT r.rolname, r.rolsuper, r.rolinherit,
  r.rolcreaterole, r.rolcreatedb, r.rolcanlogin,
  r.rolconnlimit, r.rolvaliduntil,
  ARRAY(SELECT b.rolname
        FROM pg_catalog.pg_auth_members m
        JOIN pg_catalog.pg_roles b ON (m.roleid = b.oid)
        WHERE m.member = r.oid) as memberof
, r.rolreplication
, r.rolbypassrls
FROM pg_catalog.pg_roles r
WHERE r.rolname !~ '^pg_'

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