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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual
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14.7.4.3 SET NAMES Syntax

SET NAMES {'charset_name'
    [COLLATE 'collation_name'] | DEFAULT}

This statement sets the three session system variables character_set_client, character_set_connection, and character_set_results to the given character set. Setting character_set_connection to charset_name also sets collation_connection to the default collation for charset_name. See Section 11.1.4, “Connection Character Sets and Collations”.

The optional COLLATE clause may be used to specify a collation explicitly. If given, the collation must one of the permitted collations for charset_name.

charset_name and collation_name may be quoted or unquoted.

The default mapping can be restored by using a value of DEFAULT. The default depends on the server configuration.

ucs2, utf16, and utf32 cannot be used as a client character set, which means that they do not work for SET NAMES.


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