May 3, 2023 By Matthew Rathbone *

How To Limit The Number Of Rows Returned In Redshift

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Have you ever wanted to just see the first few rows of a large query result in Redshift, to get a quick idea of what the data looks like? Or, have you ever encountered a situation where you needed to retrieve a limited number of rows for performance reasons? If so, you’ll be glad to know that limiting the number of rows returned in Redshift is a very simple task.

Introduction to Redshift

Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data using your existing business intelligence tools. It is designed for very high performance and scalability, and it is ideal for large-scale data warehousing and business intelligence tasks. Redshift provides a powerful SQL interface and a variety of data loading options, making it easy to get started and work with your data.

Limiting Rows in Redshift

The most straightforward way to limit the number of rows returned by a Redshift query is to use the LIMIT clause. This clause allows you to specify the maximum number of rows that you want to return from your query. The LIMIT clause can be added to the end of any SELECT statement, and it works with all types of Redshift queries.

Here is an example of a Redshift query that returns the first 10 rows from a table named sales:

FROM sales

This query will return the first 10 rows of the sales table, no matter how many rows are in the table. If there are fewer than 10 rows in the table, all of the rows will be returned. If there are more than 10 rows, only the first 10 will be returned.

Guaranteeing Order

It is important to note that the order of the rows returned by a query with a LIMIT clause is not guaranteed unless you specify an ORDER BY clause. For example, if you want to return the 10 most recent sales, you could use the following query:

FROM sales

This query returns the 10 most recent sales, based on the value of the date column.

Offsetting Rows in Redshift

In addition to limiting the number of rows returned by a query, you can also offset the starting position of the returned rows. This can be useful if you want to page through a large query result, or if you want to return a range of rows other than the first few.

The OFFSET clause is used in conjunction with the LIMIT clause, and it specifies the number of rows to skip before returning the rows. For example, if you want to return the 10th through 20th rows of the sales table, you could use the following query:

FROM sales

This query returns the 10 rows starting from the 10th row. Note that the OFFSET clause is specified after the LIMIT clause, and that the value of the OFFSET clause is zero-based, so the first row is offset 0, the second row is offset 1, and so on.


Limiting the number of rows returned by a Redshift query is a simple task that can be accomplished using the LIMIT clause. By specifying the maximum