mysql - Man Page

the MySQL command-line client

Examples (TL;DR)


mysql [options] db_name


mysql is a simple SQL shell with input line editing capabilities. It supports interactive and noninteractive use. When used interactively, query results are presented in an ASCII-table format. When used noninteractively (for example, as a filter), the result is presented in tab-separated format. The output format can be changed using command options.

If you have problems due to insufficient memory for large result sets, use the --quick option. This forces mysql to retrieve results from the server a row at a time rather than retrieving the entire result set and buffering it in memory before displaying it. This is done by returning the result set using the mysql_use_result() C API function in the client/server library rather than mysql_store_result().


Alternatively, MySQL Shell offers access to the X DevAPI. For details, see MySQL Shell 8.0[1].

Using mysql is very easy. Invoke it from the prompt of your command interpreter as follows:

mysql db_name


mysql --user=user_name --password db_name

In this case, you'll need to enter your password in response to the prompt that mysql displays:

Enter password: your_password

Then type an SQL statement, end it with ;, \g, or \G and press Enter.

Typing Control+C interrupts the current statement if there is one, or cancels any partial input line otherwise.

You can execute SQL statements in a script file (batch file) like this:

mysql db_name < script.sql >

On Unix, the mysql client logs statements executed interactively to a history file. See the section called “MySQL Client Logging”.

MySQL Client Options

mysql supports the following options, which can be specified on the command line or in the [mysql] and [client] groups of an option file. For information about option files used by MySQL programs, see Section, “Using Option Files”.

MySQL Client Commands

mysql sends each SQL statement that you issue to the server to be executed. There is also a set of commands that mysql itself interprets. For a list of these commands, type help or \h at the mysql> prompt:

mysql> help
List of all MySQL commands:
Note that all text commands must be first on line and end with ';'
?         (\?) Synonym for `help'.
clear     (\c) Clear the current input statement.
connect   (\r) Reconnect to the server. Optional arguments are db and host.
delimiter (\d) Set statement delimiter.
edit      (\e) Edit command with $EDITOR.
ego       (\G) Send command to mysql server, display result vertically.
exit      (\q) Exit mysql. Same as quit.
go        (\g) Send command to mysql server.
help      (\h) Display this help.
nopager   (\n) Disable pager, print to stdout.
notee     (\t) Don't write into outfile.
pager     (\P) Set PAGER [to_pager]. Print the query results via PAGER.
print     (\p) Print current command.
prompt    (\R) Change your mysql prompt.
quit      (\q) Quit mysql.
rehash    (\#) Rebuild completion hash.
source    (\.) Execute an SQL script file. Takes a file name as an argument.
status    (\s) Get status information from the server.
system    (\!) Execute a system shell command.
tee       (\T) Set outfile [to_outfile]. Append everything into given
use       (\u) Use another database. Takes database name as argument.
charset   (\C) Switch to another charset. Might be needed for processing
               binlog with multi-byte charsets.
warnings  (\W) Show warnings after every statement.
nowarning (\w) Don't show warnings after every statement.
resetconnection(\x) Clean session context.
query_attributes Sets string parameters (name1 value1 name2 value2 ...)
for the next query to pick up.
ssl_session_data_print Serializes the current SSL session data to stdout 
or file.
For server side help, type 'help contents'

If mysql is invoked with the --binary-mode option, all mysql commands are disabled except charset and delimiter in noninteractive mode (for input piped to mysql or loaded using the source command).

Each command has both a long and short form. The long form is not case-sensitive; the short form is. The long form can be followed by an optional semicolon terminator, but the short form should not.

The use of short-form commands within multiple-line /* ... */ comments is not supported. Short-form commands do work within single-line /*! ... */ version comments, as do /*+ ... */ optimizer-hint comments, which are stored in object definitions. If there is a concern that optimizer-hint comments may be stored in object definitions so that dump files when reloaded with mysql would result in execution of such commands, either invoke mysql with the --binary-mode option or use a reload client other than mysql.

Here are a few tips about the pager command:

You can also combine the tee and pager functions. Have a tee file enabled and pager set to less, and you are able to browse the results using the less program and still have everything appended into a file the same time. The difference between the Unix tee used with the pager command and the mysql built-in tee command is that the built-in tee works even if you do not have the Unix tee available. The built-in tee also logs everything that is printed on the screen, whereas the Unix tee used with pager does not log quite that much. Additionally, tee file logging can be turned on and off interactively from within mysql. This is useful when you want to log some queries to a file, but not others.

The prompt command reconfigures the default mysql> prompt. The string for defining the prompt can contain the following special sequences.

CThe current connection identifier
A counter that increments for each statement you issue
DThe full current date
The default database
hThe server host
lThe current delimiter
mMinutes of the current time
nA newline character
OThe current month in three-letter format (Jan, Feb, ...)
oThe current month in numeric format
pThe current TCP/IP port or socket file
RThe current time, in 24-hour military time (0–23)
rThe current time, standard 12-hour time (1–12)
sSeconds of the current time
TPrint an asterisk (*) if the current session is
             inside a transaction block (from MySQL 8.0.28)
A tab character

Your full user_name@host_name account name

Your user name
vThe server version
wThe current day of the week in three-letter format (Mon, Tue, ...)
YThe current year, four digits
yThe current year, two digits
_A space
\ A space (a space follows the backslash)
´Single quote
Double quote
\A literal  backslash character

x, for any “x” not listed above

You can set the prompt in several ways:

MySQL Client Logging

The mysql client can do these types of logging for statements executed interactively:

The following discussion describes characteristics that apply to all logging types and provides information specific to each logging type.

How Logging Occurs

For each enabled logging destination, statement logging occurs as follows:

Consequently, an input statement that spans multiple lines can be logged twice. Consider this input:

mysql> SELECT
    -> 'Today is'
    -> ,
    -> CURDATE()
    -> ;

In this case, mysql logs the “SELECT”, “'Today is'”, “,”, “CURDATE()”, and “;” lines as it reads them. It also logs the complete statement, after mapping SELECT\n'Today is'\n,\nCURDATE() to SELECT 'Today is' , CURDATE(), plus a delimiter. Thus, these lines appear in logged output:

'Today is'
SELECT 'Today is' , CURDATE();

mysql ignores for logging purposes statements that match any pattern in the “ignore” list. By default, the pattern list is "*IDENTIFIED*:*PASSWORD*", to ignore statements that refer to passwords. Pattern matching is not case-sensitive. Within patterns, two characters are special:

To specify additional patterns, use the --histignore option or set the MYSQL_HISTIGNORE environment variable. (If both are specified, the option value takes precedence.) The value should be a list of one or more colon-separated patterns, which are appended to the default pattern list.

Patterns specified on the command line might need to be quoted or escaped to prevent your command interpreter from treating them specially. For example, to suppress logging for UPDATE and DELETE statements in addition to statements that refer to passwords, invoke mysql like this:

mysql --histignore="*UPDATE*:*DELETE*"

Controlling the History File

The .mysql_history file should be protected with a restrictive access mode because sensitive information might be written to it, such as the text of SQL statements that contain passwords. See Section, “End-User Guidelines for Password Security”. Statements in the file are accessible from the mysql client when the up-arrow key is used to recall the history. See Disabling Interactive History.

If you do not want to maintain a history file, first remove .mysql_history if it exists. Then use either of the following techniques to prevent it from being created again:

syslog Logging Characteristics

If the --syslog option is given, mysql writes interactive statements to the system logging facility. Message logging has the following characteristics.

Logging occurs at the “information” level. This corresponds to the LOG_INFO priority for syslog on Unix/Linux syslog capability and to EVENTLOG_INFORMATION_TYPE for the Windows Event Log. Consult your system documentation for configuration of your logging capability.

Message size is limited to 1024 bytes.

Messages consist of the identifier MysqlClient followed by these values:

Here is a sample of output generated on Linux by using --syslog. This output is formatted for readability; each logged message actually takes a single line.

Mar  7 12:39:25 myhost MysqlClient[20824]:
  SYSTEM_USER:'oscar', MYSQL_USER:'my_oscar', CONNECTION_ID:23,
  DB_SERVER:'', DB:'--', QUERY:'USE test;'
Mar  7 12:39:28 myhost MysqlClient[20824]:
  SYSTEM_USER:'oscar', MYSQL_USER:'my_oscar', CONNECTION_ID:23,

MySQL Client Server-Side Help

mysql> help search_string

If you provide an argument to the help command, mysql uses it as a search string to access server-side help from the contents of the MySQL Reference Manual. The proper operation of this command requires that the help tables in the mysql database be initialized with help topic information (see Section 5.1.17, “Server-Side Help Support”).

If there is no match for the search string, the search fails:

mysql> help me
Nothing found
Please try to run 'help contents' for a list of all accessible topics

Use help contents to see a list of the help categories:

mysql> help contents
You asked for help about help category: "Contents"
For more information, type 'help <item>', where <item> is one of the
following categories:
   Account Management
   Data Definition
   Data Manipulation
   Data Types
   Functions and Modifiers for Use with GROUP BY
   Geographic Features
   Language Structure
   Storage Engines
   Stored Routines
   Table Maintenance

If the search string matches multiple items, mysql shows a list of matching topics:

mysql> help logs
Many help items for your request exist.
To make a more specific request, please type 'help <item>',
where <item> is one of the following topics:

Use a topic as the search string to see the help entry for that topic:

mysql> help show binary logs
Lists the binary log files on the server. This statement is used as
part of the procedure described in [purge-binary-logs], that shows how
to determine which logs can be purged.
| Log_name      | File_size | Encrypted |
| binlog.000015 |    724935 | Yes       |
| binlog.000016 |    733481 | Yes       |

The search string can contain the wildcard characters % and _. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator. For example, HELP rep% returns a list of topics that begin with rep:

mysql> HELP rep%
Many help items for your request exist.
To make a more specific request, please type 'help <item>',
where <item> is one of the following

Executing SQL Statements from a Text File

The mysql client typically is used interactively, like this:

mysql db_name

However, it is also possible to put your SQL statements in a file and then tell mysql to read its input from that file. To do so, create a text file text_file that contains the statements you wish to execute. Then invoke mysql as shown here:

mysql db_name < text_file

If you place a USE db_name statement as the first statement in the file, it is unnecessary to specify the database name on the command line:

mysql < text_file

If you are already running mysql, you can execute an SQL script file using the source command or \. command:

mysql> source file_name
mysql> \. file_name

Sometimes you may want your script to display progress information to the user. For this you can insert statements like this:

SELECT '<info_to_display>' AS ' ';

The statement shown outputs <info_to_display>.

You can also invoke mysql with the --verbose option, which causes each statement to be displayed before the result that it produces.

mysql ignores Unicode byte order mark (BOM) characters at the beginning of input files. Previously, it read them and sent them to the server, resulting in a syntax error. Presence of a BOM does not cause mysql to change its default character set. To do that, invoke mysql with an option such as --default-character-set=utf8mb4.

For more information about batch mode, see Section 3.5, “Using mysql in Batch Mode”.

MySQL Client Tips

This section provides information about techniques for more effective use of mysql and about mysql operational behavior.

Input-Line Editing

mysql supports input-line editing, which enables you to modify the current input line in place or recall previous input lines. For example, the left-arrow and right-arrow keys move horizontally within the current input line, and the up-arrow and down-arrow keys move up and down through the set of previously entered lines. Backspace deletes the character before the cursor and typing new characters enters them at the cursor position. To enter the line, press Enter.

On Windows, the editing key sequences are the same as supported for command editing in console windows. On Unix, the key sequences depend on the input library used to build mysql (for example, the libedit or readline library).

Documentation for the libedit and readline libraries is available online. To change the set of key sequences permitted by a given input library, define key bindings in the library startup file. This is a file in your home directory: .editrc for libedit and .inputrc for readline.

For example, in libedit, Control+W deletes everything before the current cursor position and Control+U deletes the entire line. In readline, Control+W deletes the word before the cursor and Control+U deletes everything before the current cursor position. If mysql was built using libedit, a user who prefers the readline behavior for these two keys can put the following lines in the .editrc file (creating the file if necessary):

bind "^W" ed-delete-prev-word
bind "^U" vi-kill-line-prev

To see the current set of key bindings, temporarily put a line that says only bind at the end of .editrc. mysql shows the bindings when it starts. Disabling Interactive History

The up-arrow key enables you to recall input lines from current and previous sessions. In cases where a console is shared, this behavior may be unsuitable. mysql supports disabling the interactive history partially or fully, depending on the host platform.

On Windows, the history is stored in memory. Alt+F7 deletes all input lines stored in memory for the current history buffer. It also deletes the list of sequential numbers in front of the input lines displayed with F7 and recalled (by number) with F9. New input lines entered after you press Alt+F7 repopulate the current history buffer. Clearing the buffer does not prevent logging to the Windows Event Viewer, if the --syslog option was used to start mysql. Closing the console window also clears the current history buffer.

To disable interactive history on Unix, first delete the .mysql_history file, if it exists (previous entries are recalled otherwise). Then start mysql with the --histignore="*" option to ignore all new input lines. To re-enable the recall (and logging) behavior, restart mysql without the option.

If you prevent the .mysql_history file from being created (see Controlling the History File) and use --histignore="*" to start the mysql client, the interactive history recall facility is disabled fully. Alternatively, if you omit the --histignore option, you can recall the input lines entered during the current session. Unicode Support on Windows

Windows provides APIs based on UTF-16LE for reading from and writing to the console; the mysql client for Windows is able to use these APIs. The Windows installer creates an item in the MySQL menu named MySQL command line client - Unicode. This item invokes the mysql client with properties set to communicate through the console to the MySQL server using Unicode.

To take advantage of this support manually, run mysql within a console that uses a compatible Unicode font and set the default character set to a Unicode character set that is supported for communication with the server:

  1. Open a console window.
  2. Go to the console window properties, select the font tab, and choose Lucida Console or some other compatible Unicode font. This is necessary because console windows start by default using a DOS raster font that is inadequate for Unicode.
  3. Execute mysql.exe with the --default-character-set=utf8mb4 (or utf8mb3) option. This option is necessary because utf16le is one of the character sets that cannot be used as the client character set. See the section called “Impermissible Client Character Sets”.

With those changes, mysql uses the Windows APIs to communicate with the console using UTF-16LE, and communicate with the server using UTF-8. (The menu item mentioned previously sets the font and character set as just described.)

To avoid those steps each time you run mysql, you can create a shortcut that invokes mysql.exe. The shortcut should set the console font to Lucida Console or some other compatible Unicode font, and pass the --default-character-set=utf8mb4 (or utf8mb3) option to mysql.exe.

Alternatively, create a shortcut that only sets the console font, and set the character set in the [mysql] group of your my.ini file:

default-character-set=utf8mb4   # or utf8mb3

Displaying Query Results Vertically

Some query results are much more readable when displayed vertically, instead of in the usual horizontal table format. Queries can be displayed vertically by terminating the query with \G instead of a semicolon. For example, longer text values that include newlines often are much easier to read with vertical output:

mysql> SELECT * FROM mails WHERE LENGTH(txt) < 300 LIMIT 300,1\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
  msg_nro: 3068
     date: 2000-03-01 23:29:50
time_zone: +0200
mail_from: Jones
  mail_to: "John Smith" <>
      sbj: UTF-8
      txt: >>>>> "John" == John Smith writes:
John> Hi.  I think this is a good idea.  Is anyone familiar
John> with UTF-8 or Unicode? Otherwise, I'll put this on my
John> TODO list and see what happens.
Yes, please do that.
     file: inbox-jani-1
     hash: 190402944
1 row in set (0.09 sec)

Using Safe-Updates Mode (--safe-updates)

For beginners, a useful startup option is --safe-updates (or --i-am-a-dummy, which has the same effect). Safe-updates mode is helpful for cases when you might have issued an UPDATE or DELETE statement but forgotten the WHERE clause indicating which rows to modify. Normally, such statements update or delete all rows in the table. With --safe-updates, you can modify rows only by specifying the key values that identify them, or a LIMIT clause, or both. This helps prevent accidents. Safe-updates mode also restricts SELECT statements that produce (or are estimated to produce) very large result sets.

The --safe-updates option causes mysql to execute the following statement when it connects to the MySQL server, to set the session values of the sql_safe_updates, sql_select_limit, and max_join_size system variables:

SET sql_safe_updates=1, sql_select_limit=1000, max_join_size=1000000;

The SET statement affects statement processing as follows:

To specify result set limits different from 1,000 and 1,000,000, you can override the defaults by using the --select-limit and --max-join-size options when you invoke mysql:

mysql --safe-updates --select-limit=500 --max-join-size=10000

It is possible for UPDATE and DELETE statements to produce an error in safe-updates mode even with a key specified in the WHERE clause, if the optimizer decides not to use the index on the key column:

As of MySQL 8.0.13, safe-updates mode also includes these behaviors:

Disabling mysql Auto-Reconnect

If the mysql client loses its connection to the server while sending a statement, it immediately and automatically tries to reconnect once to the server and send the statement again. However, even if mysql succeeds in reconnecting, your first connection has ended and all your previous session objects and settings are lost: temporary tables, the autocommit mode, and user-defined and session variables. Also, any current transaction rolls back. This behavior may be dangerous for you, as in the following example where the server was shut down and restarted between the first and second statements without you knowing it:

mysql> SET @a=1;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.05 sec)
mysql> INSERT INTO t VALUES(@a);
ERROR 2006: MySQL server has gone away
No connection. Trying to reconnect...
Connection id:    1
Current database: test
Query OK, 1 row affected (1.30 sec)
mysql> SELECT * FROM t;
| a    |
| NULL |
1 row in set (0.05 sec)

The @a user variable has been lost with the connection, and after the reconnection it is undefined. If it is important to have mysql terminate with an error if the connection has been lost, you can start the mysql client with the --skip-reconnect option.

For more information about auto-reconnect and its effect on state information when a reconnection occurs, see Automatic Reconnection Control[5]. mysql Client Parser Versus Server Parser

The mysql client uses a parser on the client side that is not a duplicate of the complete parser used by the mysqld server on the server side. This can lead to differences in treatment of certain constructs. Examples:


  1. MySQL Shell 8.0
  2. C API Basic Data Structures
  3. Multiple Statement Execution Support
  4. mysql_change_user()
  5. Automatic Reconnection Control

See Also

For more information, please refer to the MySQL Reference Manual, which may already be installed locally and which is also available online at


Oracle Corporation (

Referenced By

gda-sql-5.0(1), sql(1).

The man page mariadb(1) is an alias of mysql(1).

06/02/2023 MySQL 8.0 MySQL Database System