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13.1.14 CREATE INDEX Syntax

    ON tbl_name (key_part,...)
    [algorithm_option | lock_option] ...

key_part: {col_name [(length)] | (expr)} [ASC | DESC]

    KEY_BLOCK_SIZE [=] value
  | index_type
  | WITH PARSER parser_name
  | COMMENT 'string'




Normally, you create all indexes on a table at the time the table itself is created with CREATE TABLE. See Section 13.1.18, “CREATE TABLE Syntax”. This guideline is especially important for InnoDB tables, where the primary key determines the physical layout of rows in the data file. CREATE INDEX enables you to add indexes to existing tables.

CREATE INDEX is mapped to an ALTER TABLE statement to create indexes. See Section 13.1.8, “ALTER TABLE Syntax”. CREATE INDEX cannot be used to create a PRIMARY KEY; use ALTER TABLE instead. For more information about indexes, see Section 8.3.1, “How MySQL Uses Indexes”.

InnoDB supports secondary indexes on virtual columns. For more information, see Section, “Secondary Indexes and Generated Columns”.

When the innodb_stats_persistent setting is enabled, run the ANALYZE TABLE statement for an InnoDB table after creating an index on that table.

An index specification of the form (key_part1, key_part2, ...) creates an index with multiple key parts. Index key values are formed by concatenating the values of the given key parts. For example (col1, col2, col3) specifies a multiple-column index with index keys consisting of values from col1, col2, and col3.

A key_part specification can end with ASC or DESC to specify whether index values are stored in ascending or descending order. The default is ascending if no order specifier is given. ASC and DESC are not permitted for HASH indexes. As of MySQL 8.0.12, ASC and DESC are not permitted for SPATIAL indexes.

The following sections describe different aspects of the CREATE INDEX statement:

Column Prefix Key Parts

For string columns, indexes can be created that use only the leading part of column values, using col_name(length) syntax to specify an index prefix length:

  • Prefixes can be specified for CHAR, VARCHAR, BINARY, and VARBINARY key parts.

  • Prefixes must be specified for BLOB and TEXT key parts. Additionally, BLOB and TEXT columns can be indexed only for InnoDB, MyISAM, and BLACKHOLE tables.

  • Prefix limits are measured in bytes. However, prefix lengths for index specifications in CREATE TABLE, ALTER TABLE, and CREATE INDEX statements are interpreted as number of characters for nonbinary string types (CHAR, VARCHAR, TEXT) and number of bytes for binary string types (BINARY, VARBINARY, BLOB). Take this into account when specifying a prefix length for a nonbinary string column that uses a multibyte character set.

    Prefix support and lengths of prefixes (where supported) are storage engine dependent. For example, a prefix can be up to 767 bytes long for InnoDB tables that use the REDUNDANT or COMPACT row format. The prefix length limit is 3072 bytes for InnoDB tables that use the DYNAMIC or COMPRESSED row format. For MyISAM tables, the prefix length limit is 1000 bytes.

If a specified index prefix exceeds the maximum column data type size, CREATE INDEX handles the index as follows:

  • For a nonunique index, either an error occurs (if strict SQL mode is enabled), or the index length is reduced to lie within the maximum column data type size and a warning is produced (if strict SQL mode is not enabled).

  • For a unique index, an error occurs regardless of SQL mode because reducing the index length might enable insertion of nonunique entries that do not meet the specified uniqueness requirement.

The statement shown here creates an index using the first 10 characters of the name column (assuming that name has a nonbinary string type):

CREATE INDEX part_of_name ON customer (name(10));

If names in the column usually differ in the first 10 characters, lookups performed using this index should not be much slower than using an index created from the entire name column. Also, using column prefixes for indexes can make the index file much smaller, which could save a lot of disk space and might also speed up INSERT operations.

Functional Key Parts

A normal index indexes column values or prefixes of column values. For example, in the following table, the index entry for a given t1 row includes the full col1 value and a prefix of the col2 value consisting of its first 10 bytes:

  col1 VARCHAR(10),
  col2 VARCHAR(20),
  INDEX (col1, col2(10))

MySQL 8.0.13 and higher supports functional key parts that index expression values rather than column or column prefix values. Use of functional key parts enables indexing of values not stored directly in the table. Examples:

CREATE TABLE t1 (col1 INT, col2 INT, INDEX func_index ((ABS(col1))));
CREATE INDEX idx1 ON t1 ((col1 + col2));
CREATE INDEX idx2 ON t1 ((col1 + col2), (col1 - col2), col1);
ALTER TABLE t1 ADD INDEX ((col1 * 40) DESC);

An index with multiple key parts can mix nonfunctional and functional key parts.

ASC and DESC are supported for functional key parts.

Functional key parts must adhere to the following rules. An error occurs if a key part definition contains disallowed constructs.

  • In index definitions, enclose expressions within parentheses to distinguish them from columns or column prefixes. For example, this is permitted; the expressions are enclosed within parentheses:

    INDEX ((col1 + col2), (col3 - col4))

    This produces an error; the expressions are not enclosed within parentheses:

    INDEX (col1 + col2, col3 - col4)
  • A functional key part cannot consist solely of a column name. For example, this is not permitted:

    INDEX ((col1), (col2))

    Instead, write the key parts as nonfunctional key parts, without parentheses:

    INDEX (col1, col2)
  • A functional key part expression cannot refer to column prefixes. For a workaround, see the discussion of SUBSTRING() and CAST() later in this section.

  • Functional key parts are not permitted in foreign key specifications.

For CREATE TABLE ... LIKE, the destination table preserves functional key parts from the original table.

Functional indexes are implemented as hidden virtual generated columns, which has these implications:

UNIQUE is supported for indexes that include functional key parts. However, primary keys cannot include functional key parts. A primary key requires the generated column to be stored, but functional key parts are implemented as virtual generated columns, not stored generated columns.

SPATIAL and FULLTEXT indexes cannot have functional key parts.

If a table contains no primary key, InnoDB automatically promotes the first UNIQUE NOT NULL index to the primary key. This is not supported for UNIQUE NOT NULL indexes that have functional key parts.

Nonfunctional indexes raise a warning if there are duplicate indexes. Indexes that contain functional key parts do not have this feature.

To remove a column that is referenced by a functional key part, the index must be removed first. Otherwise, an error occurs.

Although nonfunctional key parts support a prefix length specification, this is not possible for functional key parts. The solution is to use SUBSTRING() (or CAST(), as described later in this section). For a functional key part containing the SUBSTRING() function to be used in a query, the WHERE clause must contain SUBSTRING() with the same arguments. In the following example, only the second SELECT is able to use the index because that is the only query in which the arguments to SUBSTRING() match the index specification:

  col1 LONGTEXT,
  INDEX idx1 ((SUBSTRING(col1, 1, 10)))
SELECT * FROM tbl WHERE SUBSTRING(col1, 1, 9) = '123456789';
SELECT * FROM tbl WHERE SUBSTRING(col1, 1, 10) = '1234567890';

Functional key parts enable indexing of values that cannot be indexed otherwise, such as JSON values. However, this must be done correctly to achieve the desired effect. For example, this syntax does not work:

CREATE TABLE employees (
  data JSON,
  INDEX ((data->>'$.name'))

The syntax fails because:

  • The ->> operator translates into JSON_UNQUOTE(JSON_EXTRACT(...)).

  • JSON_UNQUOTE() returns a value with a data type of LONGTEXT, and the hidden generated column thus is assigned the same data type.

  • MySQL cannot index LONGTEXT columns specified without a prefix length on the key part, and prefix lengths are not permitted in functional key parts.

To index the JSON column, you could try using the CAST() function as follows:

CREATE TABLE employees (
  data JSON,
  INDEX ((CAST(data->>'$.name' AS CHAR(30))))

The hidden generated column is assigned the VARCHAR(30) data type, which can be indexed. But this approach produces a new issue when trying to use the index:

  • CAST() returns a string with the collation utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci (the server default collation).

  • JSON_UNQUOTE() returns a string with the collation utf8mb4_bin (hard coded).

As a result, there is a collation mismatch between the indexed expression in the preceding table definition and the WHERE clause expression in the following query:

SELECT * FROM employees WHERE data->>'$.name' = 'James';

The index is not used because the expressions in the query and the index differ. To support this kind of scenario for functional key parts, the optimizer automatically strips CAST() when looking for an index to use, but only if the collation of the indexed expression matches that of the query expression. For an index with a functional key part to be used, either of the following two solutions work (although they differ somewhat in effect):

  • Solution 1. Assign the indexed expression the same collation as JSON_UNQUOTE():

    CREATE TABLE employees (
      data JSON,
      INDEX idx ((CAST(data->>"$.name" AS CHAR(30)) COLLATE utf8mb4_bin))
    INSERT INTO employees VALUES
      ('{ "name": "james", "salary": 9000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "James", "salary": 10000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "Mary", "salary": 12000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "Peter", "salary": 8000 }');
    SELECT * FROM employees WHERE data->>'$.name' = 'James';

    The ->> operator is the same as JSON_UNQUOTE(JSON_EXTRACT(...)), and JSON_UNQUOTE() returns a string with collation utf8mb4_bin. The comparison is thus case sensitive, and only one row matches:

    | data                               |
    | {"name": "James", "salary": 10000} |
  • Solution 2. Specify the full expression in the query:

    CREATE TABLE employees (
      data JSON,
      INDEX idx ((CAST(data->>"$.name" AS CHAR(30))))
    INSERT INTO employees VALUES
      ('{ "name": "james", "salary": 9000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "James", "salary": 10000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "Mary", "salary": 12000 }'),
      ('{ "name": "Peter", "salary": 8000 }');
    SELECT * FROM employees WHERE CAST(data->>'$.name' AS CHAR(30)) = 'James';

    CAST() returns a string with collation utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci, so the comparison case insensitive and two rows match:

    | data                               |
    | {"name": "james", "salary": 9000}  |
    | {"name": "James", "salary": 10000} |

Be aware that although the the optimizer supports automatically stripping CAST() with indexed generated columns, the following approach does not work because it produces a different result with and without an index (Bug#27337092):

mysql> CREATE TABLE employees (
         data JSON,
         generated_col VARCHAR(30) AS (CAST(data->>'$.name' AS CHAR(30)))
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.03 sec)

mysql> INSERT INTO employees (data)
       VALUES ('{"name": "james"}'), ('{"name": "James"}');
Query OK, 2 rows affected, 1 warning (0.01 sec)
Records: 2  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 1

mysql> SELECT * FROM employees WHERE data->>'$.name' = 'James';
| data              | generated_col |
| {"name": "James"} | James         |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> ALTER TABLE employees ADD INDEX idx (generated_col);
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.03 sec)
Records: 0  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 1

mysql> SELECT * FROM employees WHERE data->>'$.name' = 'James';
| data              | generated_col |
| {"name": "james"} | james         |
| {"name": "James"} | James         |
2 rows in set (0.01 sec)

Unique Indexes

A UNIQUE index creates a constraint such that all values in the index must be distinct. An error occurs if you try to add a new row with a key value that matches an existing row. If you specify a prefix value for a column in a UNIQUE index, the column values must be unique within the prefix length. A UNIQUE index permits multiple NULL values for columns that can contain NULL.

If a table has a PRIMARY KEY or UNIQUE NOT NULL index that consists of a single column that has an integer type, you can use _rowid to refer to the indexed column in SELECT statements, as follows:

  • _rowid refers to the PRIMARY KEY column if there is a PRIMARY KEY consisting of a single integer column. If there is a PRIMARY KEY but it does not consist of a single integer column, _rowid cannot be used.

  • Otherwise, _rowid refers to the column in the first UNIQUE NOT NULL index if that index consists of a single integer column. If the first UNIQUE NOT NULL index does not consist of a single integer column, _rowid cannot be used.

Full-Text Indexes

FULLTEXT indexes are supported only for InnoDB and MyISAM tables and can include only CHAR, VARCHAR, and TEXT columns. Indexing always happens over the entire column; column prefix indexing is not supported and any prefix length is ignored if specified. See Section 12.9, “Full-Text Search Functions”, for details of operation.

Spatial Indexes

The MyISAM, InnoDB, NDB, and ARCHIVE storage engines support spatial columns such as POINT and GEOMETRY. (Section 11.5, “Spatial Data Types”, describes the spatial data types.) However, support for spatial column indexing varies among engines. Spatial and nonspatial indexes on spatial columns are available according to the following rules.

Spatial indexes on spatial columns have these characteristics:

  • Available only for InnoDB and MyISAM tables. Specifying SPATIAL INDEX for other storage engines results in an error.

  • As of MySQL 8.0.12, an index on a spatial column must be a SPATIAL index. The SPATIAL keyword is thus optional but implicit for creating an index on a spatial column.

  • Available for single spatial columns only. A spatial index cannot be created over multiple spatial columns.

  • Indexed columns must be NOT NULL.

  • Column prefix lengths are prohibited. The full width of each column is indexed.

  • Not permitted for a primary key or unique index.

Nonspatial indexes on spatial columns (created with INDEX, UNIQUE, or PRIMARY KEY) have these characteristics:

  • Permitted for any storage engine that supports spatial columns except ARCHIVE.

  • Columns can be NULL unless the index is a primary key.

  • The index type for a non-SPATIAL index depends on the storage engine. Currently, B-tree is used.

  • Permitted for a column that can have NULL values only for InnoDB, MyISAM, and MEMORY tables.

Index Options

Following the key part list, index options can be given. An index_option value can be any of the following:

  • KEY_BLOCK_SIZE [=] value

    For MyISAM tables, KEY_BLOCK_SIZE optionally specifies the size in bytes to use for index key blocks. The value is treated as a hint; a different size could be used if necessary. A KEY_BLOCK_SIZE value specified for an individual index definition overrides a table-level KEY_BLOCK_SIZE value.

    KEY_BLOCK_SIZE is not supported at the index level for InnoDB tables. See Section 13.1.18, “CREATE TABLE Syntax”.

  • index_type

    Some storage engines permit you to specify an index type when creating an index. For example:

    CREATE INDEX id_index ON lookup (id) USING BTREE;

    Table 13.1, “Index Types Per Storage Engine” shows the permissible index type values supported by different storage engines. Where multiple index types are listed, the first one is the default when no index type specifier is given. Storage engines not listed in the table do not support an index_type clause in index definitions.

    Table 13.1 Index Types Per Storage Engine

    Storage Engine Permissible Index Types
    InnoDB BTREE

    The index_type clause cannot be used for FULLTEXT INDEX or (prior to MySQL 8.0.12) SPATIAL INDEX specifications. Full-text index implementation is storage engine dependent. Spatial indexes are implemented as R-tree indexes.

    If you specify an index type that is not valid for a given storage engine, but another index type is available that the engine can use without affecting query results, the engine uses the available type. The parser recognizes RTREE as a type name. As of MySQL 8.0.12, this is permitted only for SPATIAL indexes. Prior to 8.0.12, RTREE cannot be specified for any storage engine.


    Use of the index_type option before the ON tbl_name clause is deprecated; support for use of the option in this position will be removed in a future MySQL release. If an index_type option is given in both the earlier and later positions, the final option applies.

    TYPE type_name is recognized as a synonym for USING type_name. However, USING is the preferred form.

    The following tables show index characteristics for the storage engines that support the index_type option.

    Table 13.2 InnoDB Storage Engine Index Characteristics

    Index Class Index Type Stores NULL VALUES Permits Multiple NULL Values IS NULL Scan Type IS NOT NULL Scan Type
    Primary key BTREE No No N/A N/A
    Unique BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    Key BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    FULLTEXT N/A Yes Yes Table Table

    Table 13.3 MyISAM Storage Engine Index Characteristics

    Index Class Index Type Stores NULL VALUES Permits Multiple NULL Values IS NULL Scan Type IS NOT NULL Scan Type
    Primary key BTREE No No N/A N/A
    Unique BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    Key BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    FULLTEXT N/A Yes Yes Table Table

    Table 13.4 MEMORY Storage Engine Index Characteristics

    Index Class Index Type Stores NULL VALUES Permits Multiple NULL Values IS NULL Scan Type IS NOT NULL Scan Type
    Primary key BTREE No No N/A N/A
    Unique BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    Key BTREE Yes Yes Index Index
    Primary key HASH No No N/A N/A
    Unique HASH Yes Yes Index Index
    Key HASH Yes Yes Index Index

  • WITH PARSER parser_name

    This option can be used only with FULLTEXT indexes. It associates a parser plugin with the index if full-text indexing and searching operations need special handling. InnoDB and MyISAM support full-text parser plugins. See Full-Text Parser Plugins and Section, “Writing Full-Text Parser Plugins” for more information.

  • COMMENT 'string'

    Index definitions can include an optional comment of up to 1024 characters.

    The MERGE_THRESHOLD for index pages can be configured for individual indexes using the index_option COMMENT clause of the CREATE INDEX statement. For example:

    CREATE TABLE t1 (id INT);

    If the page-full percentage for an index page falls below the MERGE_THRESHOLD value when a row is deleted or when a row is shortened by an update operation, InnoDB attempts to merge the index page with a neighboring index page. The default MERGE_THRESHOLD value is 50, which is the previously hardcoded value.

    MERGE_THRESHOLD can also be defined at the index level and table level using CREATE TABLE and ALTER TABLE statements. For more information, see Section 15.6.12, “Configuring the Merge Threshold for Index Pages”.


    Specify index visibility. Indexes are visible by default. An invisible index is not used by the optimizer. Specification of index visibility applies to indexes other than primary keys (either explicit or implicit). For more information, see Section 8.3.12, “Invisible Indexes”.

Table Copying and Locking Options

ALGORITHM and LOCK clauses may be given to influence the table copying method and level of concurrency for reading and writing the table while its indexes are being modified. They have the same meaning as for the ALTER TABLE statement. For more information, see Section 13.1.8, “ALTER TABLE Syntax”

User Comments
User comments in this section are, as the name implies, provided by MySQL users. The MySQL documentation team is not responsible for, nor do they endorse, any of the information provided here.
  Posted by Lincoln Rickwood on June 24, 2011
Here's an alternative stored procedure (Sorry about the lack of indentation, the comment box seems to strip leading spaces)...

delimiter //
drop procedure if exists AddTableIndex //
create procedure AddTableIndex
( in schemaName varchar(128) -- If null use name of current schema;
, in tableName varchar(128) -- If null an exception will be thrown.
, in indexName varchar(128) -- If null an exception will be thrown.
, in indexDefinition varchar(1024) -- E.g. '(expireTS_ ASC)'
, in ifPresent enum('leaveUnchanged', 'dropAndReplace') -- null=leaveUnchanged.
, out outcome tinyint(1) -- 0=unchanged, 1=replaced, 4=added.
declare doDrop tinyint(1) default null;
declare doAdd tinyint(1) default null;
declare tmpSql varchar(4096) default '';

set schemaName = coalesce(schemaName, schema());
set ifPresent = coalesce(ifPresent, 'leaveUnchanged');
if exists
WHERE table_schema = schemaName
AND table_name = tableName
AND index_name = indexName
if (ifPresent = 'leaveUnchanged')
set doDrop = 0;
set doAdd = 0;
set outcome = 0;
elseif (ifPresent = 'dropAndReplace')
set doDrop = 1;
set doAdd = 1;
set outcome = 1;
end if;
set doDrop = 0;
set doAdd = 1;
set outcome = 4;
end if;

if (doDrop = 1)
set tmpSql = concat( 'alter table `', schemaName, '`.`', tableName, '` drop index `', indexName, '` ');
set @sql = tmpSql;
prepare tmp_stmt from @sql;
execute tmp_stmt;
deallocate prepare tmp_stmt;
end if;

if (doAdd = 1)
set tmpSql = concat( 'alter table `', schemaName, '`.`', tableName, '` add index `', indexName, '` ', indexDefinition);
set @sql = tmpSql;
prepare tmp_stmt from @sql;
execute tmp_stmt;
deallocate prepare tmp_stmt;
end if;

end; //

  Posted by James Greene on May 3, 2013
OK, so I'm a bit green myself when it comes to optimizing MySQL. So, I'm giving this little bit of advice to the other newbs out there:

Indexing a LARGE amount of data, this can take hours. Thankfully, I used on a test database. Please be careful, if you plan on adding index on a production database. :-/
  Posted by Rafael Leite on July 18, 2018
For those worried about locking the table for read/write operations, MySQL 5.6+ DOES NOT LOCK the table where the index is being created:

> The table remains available for read and write operations while the index is being created. The CREATE INDEX statement only finishes after all transactions that are accessing the table are completed, so that the initial state of the index reflects the most recent contents of the table.
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