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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

Sales of this book support the PostgreSQL project! Get a printed copy>>> String Constants with Unicode Escapes

PostgreSQL also supports another type of escape syntax for strings that allows specifying arbitrary Unicode characters by code point. A Unicode escape string constant starts with U& (upper or lower case letter U followed by ampersand) immediately before the opening quote, without any spaces in between, for example U&'foo'. (Note that this creates an ambiguity with the operator &. Use spaces around the operator to avoid this problem.) Inside the quotes, Unicode characters can be specified in escaped form by writing a backslash followed by the four-digit hexadecimal code point number or alternatively a backslash followed by a plus sign followed by a six-digit hexadecimal code point number. For example, the string 'data' could be written as


The following less trivial example writes the Russian word “slon” (elephant) in Cyrillic letters:


If a different escape character than backslash is desired, it can be specified using the UESCAPE clause after the string, for example:

U&'d!0061t!+000061' UESCAPE '!'

The escape character can be any single character other than a hexadecimal digit, the plus sign, a single quote, a double quote, or a whitespace character.

The Unicode escape syntax works only when the server encoding is UTF8. When other server encodings are used, only code points in the ASCII range (up to \007F) can be specified. Both the 4-digit and the 6-digit form can be used to specify UTF-16 surrogate pairs to compose characters with code points larger than U+FFFF, although the availability of the 6-digit form technically makes this unnecessary. (When surrogate pairs are used when the server encoding is UTF8, they are first combined into a single code point that is then encoded in UTF-8.)

Also, the Unicode escape syntax for string constants only works when the configuration parameter standard_conforming_strings is turned on. This is because otherwise this syntax could confuse clients that parse the SQL statements to the point that it could lead to SQL injections and similar security issues. If the parameter is set to off, this syntax will be rejected with an error message.

To include the escape character in the string literally, write it twice.

ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition