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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  NULL Values

9.1.7 NULL Values

The NULL value means no data. NULL can be written in any lettercase. A synonym is \N (case-sensitive). Treatment of \N as a synonym for NULL in SQL statements is deprecated as of MySQL 5.7.18 and is removed in MySQL 8.0; use NULL instead.

Be aware that the NULL value is different from values such as 0 for numeric types or the empty string for string types. For more information, see Section B.4.4.3, “Problems with NULL Values”.

For text file import or export operations performed with LOAD DATA or SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE, NULL is represented by the \N sequence. See Section 13.2.6, “LOAD DATA Statement”. Use of \N in text files is unaffected by the deprecation of \N in SQL statements.

For sorting with ORDER BY, NULL values sort before other values for ascending sorts, after other values for descending sorts.