How to Install SQL Workbench for PostgreSQL


SQL Workbench/J is not to be confused with MySQL Workbench. SQL Workbench is a tool designed to handle SQL queries no matter which fundamental Database Management System (DBMS) you use.

This tutorial shows you how to install and set up SQL Workbench for PostgreSQL. It includes instructions for a Debian based system (Ubuntu 18.04) as well as Windows, macOS, and Linux GUI.

Guide on setting up SQL Workbench for PostgreSQL on Linux, Windows, and macOS.



  • Access to a terminal or command line
  • A user account with sudo privileges

Windows and macOS:

  • Administrator privileges

Install SQL Workbench for Postgres

SQL Workbench helps you manage different database systems without the need to master each of their proprietary tools in turn.

Installing SQL Workbench is a straightforward process that can be completed in a few short steps.

Step 1: Download and Unzip SQL Workbench Distribution Package

Ubuntu 18.04

To download a generic package for all systems, enter the following command in your command line terminal:

sudo wget

The system proceeds to download the zipped package from the official page:

The system downloads the latest SQL Workbench version.

Use a compression tool to unzip the content of the downloaded file and save it to the desired location on your system. The following command saves the extracted files in the Workbench folder on the Desktop:

unzip -d Desktop/Workbench

The output displays the extraction process.

The treminal allows you to follow the SQL Workbench file extraction process

Windows & macOS

Use your browser and access the official website with this link:


Select your preferred package from the list. The first option provides the most comprehensive bundle.

Select generic SQL Workbench package from official website.

Click and download the file. Right-click the zipped folder and extract the content to a preferred location on your system. In this example, the content was extracted to the Workbench folder on the desktop in Windows.

The extraction process for the SQL Workbench bundle on Windows.

Step 2: Install Latest Java Version (Optional)

SQL Workbench is based on Java. You need to have at least Java 8 on your system to be able to install and use SQL Workbench. If you already have an up to date version installed, you can skip to Step 3 of the tutorial.

There is no need to download or install Java runtime beforehand. The SQL Workbench package already contains the necessary shell scripts: and download_jre.cmd. These scripts when executed, automatically download and extract the latest available Java runtime.

Ubuntu 18.04

Use your command terminal to access the folder where you have extracted the SQL Workbench package. In our example, the files are in the Desktop/Workbench folder.

Find and install latest Java version by using the downloaded shell scripts.

Use the following command to initiate the shell script that downloads and extracts Java runtime:

sudo sh

The system runs the script and installs the latest available Java version.

Latest Java version successfully downloaded.

Windows & macOS

After unpacking the archive, run the download_jre script from within the Workbench folder. The script downloads and extracts an appropriate Java runtime to the existing folder. The Windows launcher and shell scripts automatically use that specific Java runtime.

Location of the download jre script in the SQL Workbench folder.

Alternatively, use your browser to visit the official Oracle Java website.

This method allows you to select a different Java version.

Step 3: PostgreSQL JDBC Plugin

JDBC is a software component that enables Java to interact with the PostgreSQL database. Each database management system requires its JDBC driver. The SQL Workbench/J distribution does not contain the JDBC driver. It’s necessary to download the JDBC plugin manually.

Ubuntu 18.04

Enter the following command to download the latest drivers and save the postgresql-42.2.10.jar file in a PostgreJDBC folder:

wget -P Desktop/PostgreJDBC

The output from the terminal confirms that the file was successfully downloaded and saved.

The terminal confirms that the jdbc package for PostgreSQL has been downloaded successfully.

Windows & macOS

Download the latest driver version by using the provided link.
List of available JDBC posgreSQL drivers.

Download and place the file in a secure folder. No installation is necessary. However, if the file gets accidentally deleted or moved, you are not going to be able to connect to your database with SQL Workbench.

Step 4: Start SQL Workbench

There is no need to install SQL Workbench as it comes as a preconfigured .jar file that can be run in any Java runtime environment.

Ubuntu 18.04

Access the Desktop/Workbench folder and enter the following command in your terminal to initiate the SQL Workbench shell:

sudo sh

You have successfully launched the SQL Workbench command interface. You are now able to create a connection profile.

View of SQL Workbench interface when accessed from Ubuntu 18.04.

Windows & macOS

Access the Workbench folder and start the SQLWorkbench.exe executable file. If you are using 64-bit Windows start the SQLWorkbench64.exe file.

Location of executable SQL Workbench files in the unzipped folder.

Step 5: Connect to PostgreSQL Using SQL Workbench

From this point, the SQL Workbench shell has the same functions, regardless of the system, you are running it on. The Select Connection Profile page allows you to define the information necessary to establish a connection to your PostgreSQL server.

1. Define a unique name for the Connection Profile (in the example below: PostgreSQL Connection).

Steps to establish a connection between PostgreSQL and SQL Workbench.

2. Open the Driver drop-down menu and select the PostgreSQL option.

3. Click Manage Drivers and set the precise path to your JDBC PostgreSQL driver.

Three steps to set JDBC driver for SQL Workbench.

4. Enter the URL for your PostgreSQL server. The URL should be formatted as follows:


5. Enter the username and password for your database in their respective fields.

6. Once you enter the details correctly, click OK to establish the connection.


You have successfully connected the SQL Workbench tool to your PostgreSQL server. You can now use it comfortably migrate data between your databases and manage several DBMS without the need to use several concurring interfaces.

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Vladimir Kaplarevic
Vladimir is a resident Tech Writer at phoenixNAP. He has more than 7 years of experience in implementing e-commerce and online payment solutions with various global IT services providers. His articles aim to instill a passion for innovative technologies in others by providing practical advice and using an engaging writing style.
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