What Is True for Binary Data Type in PostgreSQL?


Larry Thompson

The binary data type in PostgreSQL is used to store binary data such as images, audio files, and other non-textual data. It allows you to store and manipulate binary data efficiently within your database.

What is Binary Data?

Binary data refers to any type of data that is not in human-readable form. It consists of a sequence of raw bytes that can represent various types of information. This includes multimedia files like images, videos, audio files, as well as program executables and compressed archives.

Using the Binary Data Type in PostgreSQL

In PostgreSQL, the binary data type is represented by the bytea type. It allows you to store binary data up to 1 GB in size. The bytea type stores binary data as a sequence of bytes.

Create a Table with Binary Data Type

To create a table with a column of the binary data type, you can use the following syntax:

CREATE TABLE my_table (
    image_data BYTEA

In this example, we create a table called my_table with two columns: id, which is an auto-incrementing primary key, and image_data, which stores binary image data.

Inserting Binary Data into the Table

To insert binary data into the table, you can use an INSERT statement with the appropriate bytea syntax. Here’s an example:

INSERT INTO my_table (image_data)
VALUES ('\\x89504e470d0a1a0a0000000d49484452');

In this example, we insert a PNG image data into the image_data column. The '\\x' prefix indicates that the following value is in hexadecimal format.

Retrieving Binary Data from the Table

To retrieve binary data from the table, you can use a SELECT statement. Here’s an example:

SELECT image_data
FROM my_table
WHERE id = 1;

This query retrieves the binary image data stored in the image_data column for the row with id equal to 1.


The binary data type in PostgreSQL provides a convenient way to store and manipulate non-textual data within your database. By using the bytea type, you can efficiently store and retrieve binary data such as images or audio files. Understanding how to create tables with binary columns and insert/retrieve binary data will enable you to work with non-textual information effectively in your PostgreSQL databases.

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