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MySQL 5.6 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Character Sets and Collations in MySQL

10.1.2 Character Sets and Collations in MySQL

The MySQL server can support multiple character sets. To list the available character sets, use the SHOW CHARACTER SET statement. A partial listing follows. For more complete information, see Section 10.1.15, “Character Sets and Collations Supported by MySQL”.

mysql> SHOW CHARACTER SET;
+----------+---------------------------------+---------------------+--------+
| Charset  | Description                     | Default collation   | Maxlen |
+----------+---------------------------------+---------------------+--------+
| big5     | Big5 Traditional Chinese        | big5_chinese_ci     |      2 |
...
| latin1   | cp1252 West European            | latin1_swedish_ci   |      1 |
| latin2   | ISO 8859-2 Central European     | latin2_general_ci   |      1 |
...
| utf8     | UTF-8 Unicode                   | utf8_general_ci     |      3 |
| ucs2     | UCS-2 Unicode                   | ucs2_general_ci     |      2 |
...
| utf8mb4  | UTF-8 Unicode                   | utf8mb4_general_ci  |      4 |
...

A given character set always has at least one collation, and may have several. To list the collations for a Any given character set always has at least one collation. It may have several collations. To list the collations for a character set, use the SHOW COLLATION statement. For example, to see the collations for the latin1 (cp1252 West European) character set, use this statement to find those collation names that begin with latin1:

mysql> SHOW COLLATION LIKE 'latin1%';
+---------------------+---------+----+---------+----------+---------+
| Collation           | Charset | Id | Default | Compiled | Sortlen |
+---------------------+---------+----+---------+----------+---------+
| latin1_german1_ci   | latin1  |  5 |         |          |       0 |
| latin1_swedish_ci   | latin1  |  8 | Yes     | Yes      |       1 |
| latin1_danish_ci    | latin1  | 15 |         |          |       0 |
| latin1_german2_ci   | latin1  | 31 |         | Yes      |       2 |
| latin1_bin          | latin1  | 47 |         | Yes      |       1 |
| latin1_general_ci   | latin1  | 48 |         |          |       0 |
| latin1_general_cs   | latin1  | 49 |         |          |       0 |
| latin1_spanish_ci   | latin1  | 94 |         |          |       0 |
+---------------------+---------+----+---------+----------+---------+

The latin1 collations have the following meanings.

CollationMeaning
latin1_german1_ciGerman DIN-1
latin1_swedish_ciSwedish/Finnish
latin1_danish_ciDanish/Norwegian
latin1_german2_ciGerman DIN-2
latin1_binBinary according to latin1 encoding
latin1_general_ciMultilingual (Western European)
latin1_general_csMultilingual (ISO Western European), case sensitive
latin1_spanish_ciModern Spanish

Collations have these general characteristics:

  • Two different character sets cannot have the same collation.

  • Each character set has one collation that is the default collation. For example, the default collations for latin1 and utf8 are latin1_swedish_ci and utf8_general_ci, respectively. The output for SHOW CHARACTER SET indicates which collation is the default for each displayed character set.

  • Collation names start with the name of the character set with which they are associated, followed by one or more suffixes indicating other collation characteristics. For additional information about naming conventions, see Section 10.1.3, “Collation Naming Conventions”.

In cases where a character set has multiple collations, it might not be clear which collation is most suitable for a given application. To avoid choosing the wrong collation, perform some comparisons with representative data values to make sure that a given collation sorts values the way you expect.

Collation-Charts.Org is a useful site for information that shows how one collation compares to another.


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