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The CREATE MACRO statement can create a scalar or table macro (function) in the catalog. A macro may only be a single SELECT statement (similar to a VIEW), but it has the benefit of accepting parameters. For a scalar macro, CREATE MACRO is followed by the name of the macro, and optionally parameters within a set of parentheses. The keyword AS is next, followed by the text of the macro. By design, a scalar macro may only return a single value. For a table macro, the syntax is similar to a scalar macro except AS is replaced with AS TABLE. A table macro may return a table of arbitrary size and shape.

If a MACRO is temporary, it is only usable within the same database connection and is deleted when the connection is closed.


Scalar Macros

-- create a macro that adds two expressions (a and b)
CREATE MACRO add(a, b) AS a + b;
-- create a macro for a case expression
-- create a macro that does a subquery
-- create a macro with a common table expression
-- (parameter names get priority over column names: disambiguate using the table name)
CREATE MACRO plus_one(a) AS (WITH cte AS (SELECT 1 AS a) SELECT cte.a + a FROM cte);
-- macros are schema-dependent, and have an alias: FUNCTION
CREATE FUNCTION main.myavg(x) AS sum(x) / count(x);
-- create a macro with default constant parameters
CREATE MACRO add_default(a, b := 5) AS a + b;
-- create a macro arr_append (with a functionality equivalent to array_append)
CREATE MACRO arr_append(l, e) AS list_concat(l, list_value(e));

Table Macros

-- create a table macro without parameters
CREATE MACRO static_table() AS TABLE SELECT 'Hello' AS column1, 'World' AS column2;
-- create a table macro with parameters (that can be of any type)
CREATE MACRO dynamic_table(col1_value, col2_value) AS TABLE SELECT col1_value AS column1, col2_value AS column2;
-- create a table macro that returns multiple rows. 
-- It will be replaced if it already exists, and it is temporary (will be automatically deleted when the connection ends)
CREATE OR REPLACE TEMP MACRO dynamic_table(col1_value, col2_value) AS TABLE 
    SELECT col1_value AS column1, col2_value AS column2 
    SELECT 'Hello' AS col1_value, 456 AS col2_value;
-- pass an argument as a list: SELECT * FROM get_users([1, 5])
CREATE MACRO get_users(i) AS TABLE SELECT * FROM users WHERE uid IN (SELECT unnest(i));


Macros allow you to create shortcuts for combinations of expressions.

-- failure! cannot find column "b"
CREATE MACRO add(a) AS a + b;
-- this works
CREATE MACRO add(a, b) AS a + b;
-- error! cannot bind +(VARCHAR, INTEGER)
SELECT add('hello', 3);
-- success!
SELECT add(1, 2);
-- 3

Macros can have default parameters. Unlike some languages, default parameters must be named when the macro is invoked.

-- b is a default parameter
CREATE MACRO add_default(a, b := 5) AS a + b;
-- the following will result in 42
SELECT add_default(37);
-- error! add_default only has one positional parameter
SELECT add_default(40, 2);
-- success! default parameters are used by assigning them like so
SELECT add_default(40, b := 2);
-- error! default parameters must come after positional parameters
SELECT add_default(b = 2, 40);
-- the order of default parameters does not matter
CREATE MACRO triple_add(a, b := 5, c := 10) AS a + b + c;
-- success!
SELECT triple_add(40, c := 1, b := 1);
-- 42

When macros are used, they are expanded (i.e., replaced with the original expression), and the parameters within the expanded expression are replaced with the supplied arguments. Step by step:

-- the 'add' macro we defined above is used in a query
SELECT add(40, 2);
-- internally, add is replaced with its definition of a + b
SELECT a + b;
-- then, the parameters are replaced by the supplied arguments
SELECT 40 + 2;
-- 42


Using Named Parameters

Currently, positional macro parameters can only be used positionally, and named parameters can only be used by supplying their name. Therefore, the following will not work:

CREATE MACRO test(a, b := 42) AS (a + b);
SELECT test(32, 52);
Error: Binder Error: Macro function 'test(a)' requires a single positional argument, but 2 positional arguments were provided.
LINE 1: SELECT test(32, 52);

Using Subquery Macros

If a MACRO is defined as a subquery, it cannot be invoked in a table function. DuckDB will return the following error:

Binder Error: Table function cannot contain subqueries
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Last modified: 2024-03-02