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CockroachDB v19.2 is no longer supported as of May 12, 2021. For more details, refer to the Release Support Policy.

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.

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, use an inverted index.


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.


This 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 opt_index_name IF NOT EXISTS index_name ON table_name ( column_name ASC DESC , ) COVERING STORING INCLUDE ( name_list ) opt_interleave opt_partition_by

Inverted index:

CREATE INVERTED INDEX opt_index_name IF NOT EXISTS index_name ON table_name ( column_name ASC DESC , )


arameter 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 an inverted index on the schemaless data in the specified JSONB column.

You can also use the PostgreSQL-compatible syntax USING GIN. For more details, see Inverted 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 and gin, with btree for a standard secondary index and gin as the PostgreSQL-compatible syntax for an inverted index on schemaless data in a JSONB column.
column_name The name of the column you want to index.
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_interleave You can potentially optimize query performance by interleaving indexes, which changes how CockroachDB stores your data.
opt_partition_by An enterprise-only option that lets you define index partitions at the row level.

Viewing schema changes

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



The following examples use MovR, a fictional vehicle-sharing application, to demonstrate CockroachDB SQL statements. For more information about the MovR example application and dataset, see MovR: A Global Vehicle-sharing App.

To follow along, run cockroach demo to start a temporary, in-memory cluster with the movr 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, similarly to ALTER TABLE. The above example is equivalent to:

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

Create inverted indexes

Inverted indexes can be created on schemaless data in a JSONB column.

> CREATE INVERTED INDEX ON promo_codes (rules);

The above example is equivalent to the following PostgreSQL-compatible syntax:

> CREATE INDEX ON promo_codes USING GIN (rules);

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.

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);

Note that 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      | primary        |   false    |            1 | city        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | primary        |   false    |            2 | id          | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | users_name_idx |    true    |            1 | name        | ASC       |  false  |  false
  users      | users_name_idx |    true    |            2 | city        | ASC       |  false  |   true
  users      | users_name_idx |    true    |            3 | id          | ASC       |  false  |   true
(5 rows)
> SELECT name FROM users@users_name_idx WHERE city='new york';
  Catherine Nelson
  Devin Jordan
  James Hamilton
  Judy White
  Robert Murphy
(5 rows)

See also

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