Redshift SubString Commands: Delivered with 2 Easy Examples

Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Redshift SubString- Featured Image

Offering blazing-fast SQL querying capability and scalable Data Processing Solutions, Amazon Redshift powers analytical workloads for Fortune 500 Companies and is a popular choice for more than 10,000 Companies across the globe. 

With a simple, cost-effective solution to analyse all your data using standard Standard SQL, you can run multiple SQL queries on String Data Types like Redshift SubString Commands, Redshift Left and Right function, CONCAT(), REPEAT(), TRANSLATE() and many more. 

This article will cover Redshift SubString Functions as well as Redshift Left and Right functions, which may be used to modify and alter strings in your Amazon Redshift Database. We’ve also included some examples to help you grasp the concept better.

Here’s the outline of the article:

Table of Contents

Introduction to Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift Logo: Redshift SubString Commands
Image Source: Nightingale HQ

AWS Redshift is a Cloud-based Serverless Data Warehouse Solution provided by Amazon as a part of Amazon Web Services. It is a fully managed and cost-effective Data Warehouse Solution. AWS Redshift is designed to store petabytes of data and can perform Real-time Analysis to generate insights.

AWS Redshift is a Column-Oriented Database, and stores the data in a columnar format as compared to traditional Databases that store in a row format. Amazon Redshift has its own Compute Engine to perform computing and generate critical insights. 

Amazon Redshift Technology foundation is built on Massive Parallel Processing (MPP), and it handles large-scale data sets and migrations effectively as most results are returned in seconds. Amazon Redshift is easy to set up and can manage all the operating and scaling tasks effortlessly. The tasks of setting up may include the provision of capacity, monitoring and backing up clusters, applying patches and upgrades for you, depending on your needs.

To know more about AWS Redshift, follow the official documentation here.

AWS Redshift Architecture

AWS Redshift has straightforward Architecture. It contains a Leader Node and a cluster of Compute Nodes that perform analytics on data. The below snap depicts the Schematics of AWS Redshift Architecture: 

AWS Redshift Architecture: Redshift SubString Commands
Image Source: AWS Documentation

AWS Redshift offers JDBC Connectors to interact with Client Applications using major programming languages like Python, Scala, Java, Ruby, etc.

Key Features of AWS Redshift

  1. Redshift allows users to write SQL queries like Redshift SubString Commands and export the data back to Data Lake.
  2. Redshift can seamlessly query the files like CSV, Avro, Parquet, JSON, ORC directly with the help of ANSI SQL.
  3. Redshift has exceptional support for Machine Learning and developers can create, train and deploy Amazon Sagemaker Models using SQL.
  4. Redshift has an Advanced Query Accelerator (AQUA) which performs the query 10x faster than other cloud Data Warehouses.
  5. Redshift’s Materialistic view allows you to achieve faster query performance for ETL, batch job processing, and dashboarding.
  6. Redshift has a Petabyte Scalable Architecture and it scales quickly as per need.
  7. Redshift enables secure sharing of the data across Redshift Clusters.
  8. Amazon Redshift provides consistently fast performance, even with thousands of concurrent queries.

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Working with Redshift SubString Commands in Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift SubString Functions are used in SQL queries to perform different string operations. Redshift supports the majority of conventional SQL Redshift String and Redshift SubString functions, as well as the Redshift extension to those functions. 

The Redshift SubString command in the Redshift returns the extracted character from a string based on the starting and number of characters specified.

Redshift SubString Syntax

SUBSTRING(string FROM start_position [ FOR number_characters ] )

SUBSTRING(string, start_position, number_characters)


  1. string – The String or column name on which the Redshift SubString function needs to be applied.
  1. start_position – The start position of the string from where the substring is to be extracted.
  1. number_characters – The number of the character to be extracted after starting position.

Redshift SubString Command: Examples

Example #1 of Redshift SubString Command

The following example returns the extracted characters from the string ‘This is to test the Redshift SubString function’.

SELECT SUBSTRING ('This is to test the Redshift SubString function', 20) AS OUTPUT;


Redshift SubString function
Redshift SubString Command Example: Redshift SubString Commands
Image Source: Educba

Example #2 of Redshift SubString Command

The following example returns  the month from the LISTTIME string in the LISTING table:

select listid, listtime,
substring(listtime from 6 for 2) as month
from listing
order by 1, 2, 3
limit 10;


listid |      listtime       | month
      1 | 2008-01-24 06:43:29 | 01
      2 | 2008-03-05 12:25:29 | 03
      3 | 2008-11-01 07:35:33 | 11
      4 | 2008-05-24 01:18:37 | 05
      5 | 2008-05-17 02:29:11 | 05
      6 | 2008-08-15 02:08:13 | 08
      7 | 2008-11-15 09:38:15 | 11
      8 | 2008-11-09 05:07:30 | 11
      9 | 2008-09-09 08:03:36 | 09
     10 | 2008-06-17 09:44:54 | 06
(10 rows)

Working with Redshift Left and Right Functions

Redshift has numerous functions to enable users to perform string manipulations. In this topic, we will discuss two main functions i.e. Redshift Left and Right functions to extract the characters from the string.

Redshift Left and Right Functions: Syntax

LEFT( string, integer )

RIGHT( string, integer )


  1. string – Any character string or any expression that evaluates to a character string.
  2. integer – A positive integer.

Redshift Left and Right Functions: Example

The following example extracts the leftmost and rightmost character from the string based on the integer specified.

select order_name, left(order_name,5) as left_5,
right(order_name,3) as right_3
from order;

order_name    	| left_5 | right_3
Cycle        	| Cycle  | cle
Tesla      	| Tesla  | sla


In this blog post, we discussed AWS Redshift features and its commands like Redshift Substring and Left and Right functions.

While using AWS Redshift Services are insightful, it is a hectic task to set up and manage the proper environment on a regular basis. Extracting and integrating several heterogeneous sources into your Database like Amazon Redshift is also a big task. To make things easier, Hevo comes to your rescue. Hevo Data is a No-code Data Pipeline and has awesome 100+ pre-built Integrations that you can choose from.

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Hevo can help you Integrate your data from numerous sources and load them into destinations like Redshift to Analyze real-time data with a BI tool such as Tableau. It will make your life easier and data migration hassle-free. It is user-friendly, reliable, and secure.

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Share your experience of learning about the Redshift SubString and Redshift Left and Right functions in the comments section below.

Vishal Agrawal
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Vishal has a passion towards the data realm and applies analytical thinking and a problem-solving approach to untangle the intricacies of data integration and analysis. He delivers in-depth researched content ideal for solving problems pertaining to modern data stack.

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