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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual
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Excerpts from this Manual 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. Then 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=utf8 (or utf8mb4) option. This option is necessary because utf16le is one of the character sets that cannot be used as the client character set. See Impermissible Client Character Sets.

With those changes, mysql can use 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=utf8 (or utf8mb4) 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:

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:

  • Enabling sql_safe_updates causes UPDATE and DELETE statements to produce an error if they do not specify a key constraint in the WHERE clause, or provide a LIMIT clause, or both. For example:

    UPDATE tbl_name SET not_key_column=val WHERE key_column=val;
    UPDATE tbl_name SET not_key_column=val LIMIT 1;
  • Setting sql_select_limit to 1,000 causes the server to limit all SELECT result sets to 1,000 rows unless the statement includes a LIMIT clause.

  • Setting max_join_size to 1,000,000 causes multiple-table SELECT statements to produce an error if the server estimates it must examine more than 1,000,000 row combinations.

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 5.7.25, safe-updates mode also includes these behaviors:

  • EXPLAIN with UPDATE and DELETE statements does not produce safe-updates errors. This enables use of EXPLAIN plus SHOW WARNINGS to see why an index is not used, which can be helpful in cases such as when a range_optimizer_max_mem_size violation or type conversion occurs and the optimizer does not use an index even though a key column was specified in the WHERE clause.

  • When a safe-updates error occurs, the error message includes the first diagnostic that was produced, to provide information about the reason for failure. For example, the message may indicate that the range_optimizer_max_mem_size value was exceeded or type conversion occurred, either of which can preclude use of an index.

  • For multiple-table deletes and updates, an error is produced with safe updates enabled only if any target table uses a table scan.

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.

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:

  • The server parser treats strings delimited by " characters as identifiers rather than as plain strings if the ANSI_QUOTES SQL mode is enabled.

    The mysql client parser does not take the ANSI_QUOTES SQL mode into account. It treats strings delimited by ", ', and ` characters the same, regardless of whether ANSI_QUOTES is enabled.

  • Within /*! ... */ comments, the mysql client parser interprets short-form mysql commands. The server parser does not interpret them because these commands have no meaning on the server side.

    If it is desirable for mysql not to interpret short-form commands within comments, a partial workaround is to use the --binary-mode option, which causes all mysql commands to be disabled except \C and \d in noninteractive mode (for input piped to mysql or loaded using the source command).