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The CREATE INDEX statement creates an index for a table. Indexes improve your database's performance by helping SQL locate data without having to look through every row of a table.

Indexes are automatically created for a table's PRIMARY KEY and UNIQUE columns. When querying a table, CockroachDB uses the fastest index. For more information about that process, see Index Selection in CockroachDB.

The following types cannot be included in an index key, but can be stored (and used in a covered query) using the STORING or COVERING clause:

  • The computed TUPLE type, even if it is constructed from indexed fields

To create an index on the schemaless data in a JSONB column or on the data in an ARRAY, use a GIN index.


The CREATE INDEX statement performs a schema change. For more information about how online schema changes work in CockroachDB, see Online Schema Changes.

Required privileges

The user must have the CREATE privilege on the table.


Standard index

CREATE UNIQUE INDEX CONCURRENTLY opt_index_name IF NOT EXISTS index_name ON table_name USING name ( func_expr_windowless ( a_expr ) name index_elem_options , ) USING HASH COVERING STORING INCLUDE ( name_list ) PARTITION ALL BY partition_by_inner WITH ( storage_parameter , ) opt_where_clause opt_index_visible

GIN index


Parameter Description
UNIQUE Apply the UNIQUE constraint to the indexed columns.

This causes the system to check for existing duplicate values on index creation. It also applies the UNIQUE constraint at the table level, so the system checks for duplicate values when inserting or updating data.
INVERTED Create a GIN index on the schemaless data in the specified JSONB column.

You can also use the PostgreSQL-compatible syntax USING GIN. For more details, see GIN Indexes.
IF NOT EXISTS Create a new index only if an index of the same name does not already exist; if one does exist, do not return an error.
The name of the index to create, which must be unique to its table and follow these identifier rules.

If you do not specify a name, CockroachDB uses the format <table>_<columns>_key/idx. key indicates the index applies the UNIQUE constraint; idx indicates it does not. Example: accounts_balance_idx
table_name The name of the table you want to create the index on.
USING name An optional clause for compatibility with third-party tools. Accepted values for name are btree, gin, and gist, with btree for a standard secondary index, gin as the PostgreSQL-compatible syntax for a GIN index, and gist for a spatial index.
name The name of the column you want to index. For multi-region tables, you can use the crdb_region column within the index in the event the original index may contain non-unique entries across multiple, unique regions.
ASC or DESC Sort the column in ascending (ASC) or descending (DESC) order in the index. How columns are sorted affects query results, particularly when using LIMIT.

Default: ASC
STORING ... Store (but do not sort) each column whose name you include.

For information on when to use STORING, see Store Columns. Note that columns that are part of a table's PRIMARY KEY cannot be specified as STORING columns in secondary indexes on the table.

COVERING and INCLUDE are aliases for STORING and work identically.
opt_partition_by An Enterprise-only option that lets you define index partitions at the row level. As of CockroachDB v21.1 and later, most users should use REGIONAL BY ROW tables. Indexes against regional by row tables are automatically partitioned, so explicit index partitioning is not required.
opt_where_clause An optional WHERE clause that defines the predicate boolean expression of a partial index.
opt_index_visible An optional VISIBLE or NOT VISIBLE clause that indicates whether an index is visible to the cost-based optimizer. If NOT VISIBLE, the index will not be used in queries unless it is specifically selected with an index hint or the property is overridden with the optimizer_use_not_visible_indexes session variable. For an example, see Set an index to be not visible.

Indexes that are not visible are still used to enforce UNIQUE and FOREIGN KEY constraints. For more considerations, see Index visibility considerations.
USING HASH Creates a hash-sharded index.
WITH storage_parameter A comma-separated list of spatial index tuning parameters. Supported parameters include fillfactor, s2_max_level, s2_level_mod, s2_max_cells, geometry_min_x, geometry_max_x, geometry_min_y, and geometry_max_y. The fillfactor parameter is a no-op, allowed for PostgreSQL-compatibility.

For details, see Spatial index tuning parameters. For an example, see Create a spatial index that uses all of the tuning parameters.
CONCURRENTLY Optional, no-op syntax for PostgreSQL compatibility. All indexes are created concurrently in CockroachDB.

Viewing schema changes

This schema change statement is registered as a job. You can view long-running jobs with SHOW JOBS.



To follow along, run cockroach demo to start a temporary, in-memory cluster with the movr sample dataset preloaded:

$ cockroach demo

Create standard indexes

To create the most efficient indexes, we recommend reviewing:

Single-column indexes

Single-column indexes sort the values of a single column.

> CREATE INDEX ON users (name);

Because each query can only use one index, single-column indexes are not typically as useful as multiple-column indexes.

Multiple-column indexes

Multiple-column indexes sort columns in the order you list them.

> CREATE INDEX ON users (name, city);

To create the most useful multiple-column indexes, we recommend reviewing our best practices.

Unique indexes

Unique indexes do not allow duplicate values among their columns.

> CREATE UNIQUE INDEX ON users (name, id);

This also applies the UNIQUE constraint at the table level, similar to ALTER TABLE. The preceding example is equivalent to:

> ALTER TABLE users ADD CONSTRAINT users_name_id_key UNIQUE (name, id);

Primary key columns that are not specified within a unique index are automatically marked as STORING in the information_schema.statistics table and in SHOW INDEX.

Create GIN indexes

You can create GIN indexes on schemaless data in a JSONB column.

> CREATE INDEX ON promo_codes USING GIN (rules);

The following syntax is equivalent:

> CREATE INVERTED INDEX ON promo_codes (rules);

Create trigram indexes

You can create trigram indexes on STRING columns by specifying the gin_trgm_ops or gist_trgm_ops opclass:

CREATE INDEX ON rides USING GIN (vehicle_city gin_trgm_ops);

The following syntax is equivalent:

CREATE INVERTED INDEX ON rides(vehicle_city gin_trgm_ops);

GIN and GiST indexes are implemented identically on CockroachDB. GIN and GIST are therefore synonymous when defining a trigram index.

Create spatial indexes

You can create spatial indexes on GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHY columns. Spatial indexes are a special type of GIN index.

To create a spatial index on a GEOMETRY column:

CREATE INDEX geom_idx_1 ON some_spatial_table USING GIST(geom);

Unlike GIN indexes, spatial indexes do not support an alternate CREATE INVERTED INDEX ... syntax. Only the syntax shown here is supported.

For advanced users, there are a number of spatial index tuning parameters that can be passed in using the syntax WITH (var1=val1, var2=val2) as follows:

CREATE INDEX geom_idx_2
  ON some_spatial_table USING GIST(geom)
  WITH (s2_max_cells = 20, s2_max_level = 12, s2_level_mod = 3);

Most users should not change the default spatial index settings. There is a risk that you will get worse performance by changing the default settings. For more information , see Spatial indexes.

Store columns

Storing a column improves the performance of queries that retrieve (but do not filter) its values.

> CREATE INDEX ON users (city) STORING (name);

However, to use stored columns, queries must filter another column in the same index. For example, SQL can retrieve name values from the above index only when a query's WHERE clause filters city.


An index that stores all the columns needed by a query is also known as a covering index for that query. When a query has a covering index, CockroachDB can use that index directly instead of doing an "index join" with the primary index, which is likely to be slower.

Change column sort order

To sort columns in descending order, you must explicitly set the option when creating the index. (Ascending order is the default.)

> CREATE INDEX ON users (city DESC, name);

How a column is ordered in the index will affect the ordering of the index keys, and may affect the efficiency of queries that include an ORDER BY clause.

Query specific indexes

Normally, CockroachDB selects the index that it calculates will scan the fewest rows. However, you can override that selection and specify the name of the index you want to use. To find the name, use SHOW INDEX.

  table_name |   index_name        | non_unique | seq_in_index | column_name | direction | storing | implicit
  users      | users_pkey          |   false    |            1 | city        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | users_pkey          |   false    |            2 | id          | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | users_pkey          |   false    |            3 | name        | N/A       |  true   |  false
  users      | users_pkey          |   false    |            4 | address     | N/A       |  true   |  false
  users      | users_pkey          |   false    |            5 | credit_card | N/A       |  true   |  false
  users      | users_city_name_idx |    true    |            1 | city        | DESC      |  false  |  false
  users      | users_city_name_idx |    true    |            2 | name        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | users_city_name_idx |    true    |            3 | id          | ASC       |  false  |   true
(8 rows)

> SELECT name FROM users@users_name_idx WHERE city='new york';
  Catherine Nelson
  Devin Jordan
  James Hamilton
  Judy White
  Robert Murphy
(5 rows)

You can use the @primary alias to use the table's primary key in your query if no secondary index explicitly named primary exists on that table.

Create a hash-sharded secondary index

We discourage indexing on sequential keys. If a table must be indexed on sequential keys, use hash-sharded indexes. Hash-sharded indexes distribute sequential traffic uniformly across ranges, eliminating single-range hot spots and improving write performance on sequentially-keyed indexes at a small cost to read performance.

Let's assume the events table already exists:

> CREATE TABLE events (
    product_id INT8,
    owner UUID,
    serial_number VARCHAR,
    event_id UUID,
    data JSONB,
    PRIMARY KEY (product_id, owner, serial_number, ts, event_id)

You can create a hash-sharded index on an existing table:

  table_name |  index_name   | non_unique | seq_in_index |        column_name        | direction | storing | implicit
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            1 | product_id                | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            2 | owner                     | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            3 | serial_number             | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            4 | ts                        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            5 | event_id                  | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_pkey   |   false    |            6 | data                      | N/A       |  true   |  false
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            1 | crdb_internal_ts_shard_16 | ASC       |  false  |   true
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            2 | ts                        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            3 | product_id                | ASC       |  false  |   true
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            4 | owner                     | ASC       |  false  |   true
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            5 | serial_number             | ASC       |  false  |   true
  events     | events_ts_idx |    true    |            6 | event_id                  | ASC       |  false  |   true
(12 rows)
         column_name        | data_type | is_nullable | column_default |               generation_expression               |           indices           | is_hidden
  product_id                | INT8      |    false    | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey,events_ts_idx} |   false
  owner                     | UUID      |    false    | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey,events_ts_idx} |   false
  serial_number             | VARCHAR   |    false    | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey,events_ts_idx} |   false
  event_id                  | UUID      |    false    | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey,events_ts_idx} |   false
  ts                        | TIMESTAMP |    false    | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey,events_ts_idx} |   false
  data                      | JSONB     |    true     | NULL           |                                                   | {events_pkey}               |   false
  crdb_internal_ts_shard_16 | INT8      |    false    | NULL           | mod(fnv32(crdb_internal.datums_to_bytes(ts)), 16) | {events_ts_idx}             |   true
(7 rows)

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