I have downloaded postgreSQl 9.3 and Postgis 2.1 recently as an educational adventure and have been working with both through the pgAdminIII interface. I haven't used psql yet when working with my simple data sets (.shp and .dbf tables) as I learn my way around both programs, creating databases and tables/views and then working with them in QGIS 2.2 (another open source program i am learning my way around)

My question: Are there advantages of using one over the other (pgAdmin vs psql) or are there certain situations (database/data entry,creation,editing etc) where one should be used over the other?. Or are they essentially both the same and thus a matter of preference?.

I understand that one is a user interface and the other is command line...Much of the open source material is all new to me (both my education/work background are with ESRI products) so excuse the simplicity of my questions.

  • 1
    Knowing how to work with something at the command line is never going to hurt you. Anyone can figure out how to use a GUI, but oftentimes having the ability to get in and get your hands dirty at the command line is what really gets the job done (or what actually gets you the job). Mar 24, 2014 at 3:09
  • @ Chad As a new user I find the pgAdmin easier to use to learn my way around 9.3/2.1 as I struggle with command line at times...I am a very visual learner and sometimes command line seems like so much "magic" in that i don't really see what is going on when i punch in commands. Once i get a sense of what command does what in the GUI this often makes it easier for me to learn command line if that makes any sense.
    – user21646
    Mar 24, 2014 at 15:10
  • I have found the OSGeo4W that is packaged with QGIS2.2 (or vice versa, i suppose) to be easy to work with as I am getting more comfortable with command line. I also like the fact that it has ogr/gdal support and postgresql as well...
    – user21646
    Apr 11, 2014 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


If you are working on your workstation it's more a matter of taste. Knowing how to use psql is useful for some situations like running sql scripts from files, pipe it with other tools, etc. It depends on your needs. My everyday work is done using pgAdmin and I only go down to the CLI when needed.

On the other hand psql is sometimes your only option when you are on a remote server that you can connect directly so having some knowledge is always fine. psql has some nice features like autocompletion and database objects listing that can be really time saving.

  • @ Jorge That's kind of what i figured. I do most of my work at the localhost level on my workstation. I suppose i will just have to start playing with psql to get used to it and see the differences for myself. It is all very new to me but I enjoy learning new things so that helps keep the frustration level down (most of the time). For the most the documentation for 9.3 is very helpful...
    – user21646
    Mar 21, 2014 at 18:32

My everyday work is done using pgAdmin and when I work with "cloud" server I connect with SSH remapping port to it and open database always with pgAdmin.

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