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By default, postgres has expanded display turned off. This means that results of a query are displayed horizontally. At times, the results of a query can be so wide that line wrapping occurs. This can make the results and their corresponding column names rather difficult to read. In these situations, it is preferable to turn on expanded display so that results are displayed vertically. The \x command can be used to toggle expanded display on and off.

Having to toggle expanded display on and off depending on the way a particular set of results is going to display can be a bit tedious. Fortunately, running \x auto will turn on auto expanded display. This means postgres will display the results normally when they fit and only switch to expanded display when it is necessary.

Via jbranchaud/til.