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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  mysqlshow — Display Database, Table, and Column Information

4.5.6 mysqlshow — Display Database, Table, and Column Information

The mysqlshow client can be used to quickly see which databases exist, their tables, or a table's columns or indexes.

mysqlshow provides a command-line interface to several SQL SHOW statements. See Section 13.7.5, “SHOW Syntax”. The same information can be obtained by using those statements directly. For example, you can issue them from the mysql client program.

Invoke mysqlshow like this:

shell> mysqlshow [options] [db_name [tbl_name [col_name]]]
  • If no database is given, a list of database names is shown.

  • If no table is given, all matching tables in the database are shown.

  • If no column is given, all matching columns and column types in the table are shown.

The output displays only the names of those databases, tables, or columns for which you have some privileges.

If the last argument contains shell or SQL wildcard characters (*, ?, %, or _), only those names that are matched by the wildcard are shown. If a database name contains any underscores, those should be escaped with a backslash (some Unix shells require two) to get a list of the proper tables or columns. * and ? characters are converted into SQL % and _ wildcard characters. This might cause some confusion when you try to display the columns for a table with a _ in the name, because in this case, mysqlshow shows you only the table names that match the pattern. This is easily fixed by adding an extra % last on the command line as a separate argument.

mysqlshow supports the following options, which can be specified on the command line or in the [mysqlshow] and [client] groups of an option file. For information about option files used by MySQL programs, see Section 4.2.6, “Using Option Files”.

Table 4.13 mysqlshow Options

--bind-addressUse specified network interface to connect to MySQL Server5.5.8
--compressCompress all information sent between client and server 
--countShow the number of rows per table 
--debugWrite debugging log 
--debug-checkPrint debugging information when program exits 
--debug-infoPrint debugging information, memory, and CPU statistics when program exits 
--default-authAuthentication plugin to use5.5.10
--default-character-setSpecify default character set 
--defaults-extra-fileRead named option file in addition to usual option files 
--defaults-fileRead only named option file 
--defaults-group-suffixOption group suffix value 
--enable-cleartext-pluginEnable cleartext authentication plugin5.5.47
--helpDisplay help message and exit 
--hostConnect to MySQL server on given host 
--keysShow table indexes 
--no-defaultsRead no option files 
--passwordPassword to use when connecting to server 
--pipeOn Windows, connect to server using named pipe 
--plugin-dirDirectory where plugins are installed5.5.10
--portTCP/IP port number for connection 
--print-defaultsPrint default options 
--protocolConnection protocol to use 
--shared-memory-base-nameThe name of shared memory to use for shared-memory connections 
--show-table-typeShow a column indicating the table type 
--socketFor connections to localhost, the Unix socket file to use 
--sslEnable encrypted connection 
--ssl-caFile that contains list of trusted SSL Certificate Authorities 
--ssl-capathDirectory that contains trusted SSL Certificate Authority certificate files 
--ssl-certFile that contains X509 certificate 
--ssl-cipherList of permitted ciphers for connection encryption 
--ssl-keyFile that contains X509 key 
--ssl-modeSecurity state of connection to server5.5.49
--ssl-verify-server-certVerify host name against server certificate Common Name identity 
--statusDisplay extra information about each table 
--userMySQL user name to use when connecting to server 
--verboseVerbose mode 
--versionDisplay version information and exit 

User Comments
  Posted by arjan muyen on June 18, 2004
I needed to drop 38 tables on database php1 and could not find a metadata table on which I could execute SQL like: delete from metadata where table_name like 'phpbb208%'

mysqlshow -uroot -p php1 phpbb208\\_% |sed 's/[|+-]//g'|sed 's/[ ]*$/,/'>drop208.sql
(**note the \\ to get the phpbb208_% wildcard**)

provided me the table_name, table_name, ... list
editing drop208.sql and adding 'drop table' provided me the complete drop-statement.

mysql php1 -u root -p < drop208.sql

  Posted by Nan Li on April 7, 2005
Another example use of mysqlshow.
I wanted to have all the tables in a database that contains a certain field.
Here is the bash shell script I wrote:

#This scripts returns all the tables in a database that contains some field

function usage
echo "Usage: $0 USER DB COLUMN"

function ExistsColumn
local USER=$1
local DB=$2
local TABLE=$3
local COLUMN=$4

SEARCH_RESULT=$(mysqlshow -u ${USER} ${DB} ${TABLE} ${COLUMN} | awk '{ if ( NR == 5) print $2 }')
if [ "${COLUMN}" = "${SEARCH_RESULT}" ];
echo "true";
echo "false";

function main
local USER=$1
local DB=$2
local COLUMN=$3

if [[ "${USER}" = "" || "${DB}" = "" || "${COLUMN}" = "" ]];
exit 1

all_tables=$(mysqlshow -u ${USER} ${DB} | \
awk '{ if (NR >4 ) print $_}' | \
sed -e 's/[|+-]//g; /^$/d ' | \
xargs )
for TABLE in ${all_tables}; do
if [ "true" = "$(ExistsColumn $USER $DB $TABLE $COLUMN)" ];
echo $TABLE


main $*

  Posted by Arnoldas Brazys on November 16, 2010
Was searching how to describe all tables in database, here goes a one liner

echo "show tables;" | mysql table_name | grep -v "Tables_in_" | while read table; do echo "Table: $table"; (echo "describe $table" | mysql -t table_name); done >> show_tables_verbose.txt

  Posted by joshua sox on December 4, 2013
This script using mysqlshow will dump every user database to a folder marked by the current date. you can also dump system databases by using -u root -p password in the command. the paths created and used are relative so create a dir where you want to keep them and place the script inside.

#! /bin/bash
d=`date +%y%m%d`
db=$(mysqlshow | sed '1,/Databases/d' | awk '{print $2}')
mkdir -p $d-dump
cd $d-dump
for dbs in $db; do mysqldump $dbs > $d-$dbs.sql
cd ../

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