A REPL for Postgres

This is a postgres client that does auto-completion and syntax highlighting.



Quick Start

If you already know how to install python packages, then you can simply do:


$ pip install -U pgcli


$ sudo apt-get install pgcli # Only on Debian based Linux (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint, etc)
$ brew install pgcli  # Only on macOS

If you don't know how to install python packages, please check the
detailed instructions_.

If you have problems with psycopg2 wheels_, use the following flags to install psycopg2 from


$ pip install pgcli --no-binary :all: psycopg2



$ pgcli [database_name]


$ pgcli postgresql://[user[:password]@][netloc][:port][/dbname][?extra=value[&other=other-value]]



$ pgcli local_database

$ pgcli postgres://amjith:[email protected]:5432/app_db?sslmode=verify-ca&sslrootcert=/myrootcert


The pgcli is written using prompt_toolkit_.

  • Auto-completes as you type for SQL keywords as well as tables and
    columns in the database.

  • Syntax highlighting using Pygments.

  • Smart-completion (enabled by default) will suggest context-sensitive

    • SELECT * FROM <tab> will only show table names.
    • SELECT * FROM users WHERE <tab> will only show column names.
  • Primitive support for psql back-slash commands.

  • Pretty prints tabular data.
    Note: pgcli uses the tabulate_ package to pretty-print tables. This library does smart formatting
    of numbers, which can sometimes lead to unexpected output. See this issue_ for more details.


A config file is automatically created at ~/.config/pgcli/config at first launch.
See the file itself for a description of all available options.


If you're interested in contributing to this project, first of all I would like
to extend my heartfelt gratitude. I've written a small doc to describe how to
get this running in a development setup.


Please feel free to reach out to me if you need help.
My email: [email protected], Twitter: @amjithr <http://twitter.com/amjithr>_

Detailed Installation Instructions:


The easiest way to install pgcli is using Homebrew.


$ brew install pgcli


Alternatively, you can install pgcli as a python package using a package
manager called called pip. You will need postgres installed on your system
for this to work.

In depth getting started guide for pip - https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/installing.html.


$ which pip

If it is installed then you can do:


$ pip install pgcli

If that fails due to permission issues, you might need to run the command with
sudo permissions.


$ sudo pip install pgcli

If pip is not installed check if easy_install is available on the system.


$ which easy_install

$ sudo easy_install pgcli


In depth getting started guide for pip - https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/installing.html.

Check if pip is already available in your system.


$ which pip

If it doesn't exist, use your linux package manager to install pip. This
might look something like:


$ sudo apt-get install python-pip   # Debian, Ubuntu, Mint etc


$ sudo yum install python-pip  # RHEL, Centos, Fedora etc

pgcli requires python-dev, libpq-dev and libevent-dev packages. You can
install these via your operating system package manager.


$ sudo apt-get install python-dev libpq-dev libevent-dev


$ sudo yum install python-devel postgresql-devel

Then you can install pgcli:


$ sudo pip install pgcli


Pgcli can be run from within Docker. This can be useful to try pgcli without
installing it, or any dependencies, system-wide.

To build the image:


$ docker build -t pgcli .

To create a container from the image:


$ docker run --rm -ti pgcli pgcli <ARGS>

To access postgresql databases listening on localhost, make sure to run the
docker in "host net mode". E.g. to access a database called "foo" on the
postgresql server running on localhost:5432 (the standard port):


$ docker run --rm -ti --net host pgcli pgcli -h localhost foo

To connect to a locally running instance over a unix socket, bind the socket to
the docker container:


$ docker run --rm -ti -v /var/run/postgres:/var/run/postgres pgcli pgcli foo


Pgcli can be run from within IPython <https://ipython.org>_ console. When working on a query,
it may be useful to drop into a pgcli session without leaving the IPython console, iterate on a
query, then quit pgcli to find the query results in your IPython workspace.

Assuming you have IPython installed:


$ pip install ipython-sql

After that, run ipython and load the pgcli.magic extension:


$ ipython

In [1]: %load_ext pgcli.magic

Connect to a database and construct a query:


In [2]: %pgcli postgres://[email protected]:5432/world
Connected: [email protected]
[email protected]:world> select * from city c where countrycode = 'USA' and population > 1000000;
| id   | name         | countrycode   | district     | population   |
| 3793 | New York     | USA           | New York     | 8008278      |
| 3794 | Los Angeles  | USA           | California   | 3694820      |
| 3795 | Chicago      | USA           | Illinois     | 2896016      |
| 3796 | Houston      | USA           | Texas        | 1953631      |
| 3797 | Philadelphia | USA           | Pennsylvania | 1517550      |
| 3798 | Phoenix      | USA           | Arizona      | 1321045      |
| 3799 | San Diego    | USA           | California   | 1223400      |
| 3800 | Dallas       | USA           | Texas        | 1188580      |
| 3801 | San Antonio  | USA           | Texas        | 1144646      |
Time: 0.003s

Exit out of pgcli session with Ctrl + D and find the query results:


[email protected]:world>
9 rows affected.
[(3793, u'New York', u'USA', u'New York', 8008278),
 (3794, u'Los Angeles', u'USA', u'California', 3694820),
 (3795, u'Chicago', u'USA', u'Illinois', 2896016),
 (3796, u'Houston', u'USA', u'Texas', 1953631),
 (3797, u'Philadelphia', u'USA', u'Pennsylvania', 1517550),
 (3798, u'Phoenix', u'USA', u'Arizona', 1321045),
 (3799, u'San Diego', u'USA', u'California', 1223400),
 (3800, u'Dallas', u'USA', u'Texas', 1188580),
 (3801, u'San Antonio', u'USA', u'Texas', 1144646)]

The results are available in special local variable _, and can be assigned to a variable of your


In [3]: my_result = _