MySQL 8.4 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Mapping of Identifiers to File Names

11.2.4 Mapping of Identifiers to File Names

There is a correspondence between database and table identifiers and names in the file system. For the basic structure, MySQL represents each database as a directory in the data directory, and depending upon the storage engine, each table may be represented by one or more files in the appropriate database directory.

For the data and index files, the exact representation on disk is storage engine specific. These files may be stored in the database directory, or the information may be stored in a separate file. InnoDB data is stored in the InnoDB data files. If you are using tablespaces with InnoDB, then the specific tablespace files you create are used instead.

Any character is legal in database or table identifiers except ASCII NUL (X'00'). MySQL encodes any characters that are problematic in the corresponding file system objects when it creates database directories or table files:

  • Basic Latin letters (a..zA..Z), digits (0..9) and underscore (_) are encoded as is. Consequently, their case sensitivity directly depends on file system features.

  • All other national letters from alphabets that have uppercase/lowercase mapping are encoded as shown in the following table. Values in the Code Range column are UCS-2 values.

    Code Range Pattern Number Used Unused Blocks
    00C0..017F [@][0..4][g..z] 5*20= 100 97 3 Latin-1 Supplement + Latin Extended-A
    0370..03FF [@][5..9][g..z] 5*20= 100 88 12 Greek and Coptic
    0400..052F [@][g..z][0..6] 20*7= 140 137 3 Cyrillic + Cyrillic Supplement
    0530..058F [@][g..z][7..8] 20*2= 40 38 2 Armenian
    2160..217F [@][g..z][9] 20*1= 20 16 4 Number Forms
    0180..02AF [@][g..z][a..k] 20*11=220 203 17 Latin Extended-B + IPA Extensions
    1E00..1EFF [@][g..z][l..r] 20*7= 140 136 4 Latin Extended Additional
    1F00..1FFF [@][g..z][s..z] 20*8= 160 144 16 Greek Extended
    .... .... [@][a..f][g..z] 6*20= 120 0 120 RESERVED
    24B6..24E9 [@][@][a..z] 26 26 0 Enclosed Alphanumerics
    FF21..FF5A [@][a..z][@] 26 26 0 Halfwidth and Fullwidth forms

    One of the bytes in the sequence encodes lettercase. For example: LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH GRAVE is encoded as @0G, whereas LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH GRAVE is encoded as @0g. Here the third byte (G or g) indicates lettercase. (On a case-insensitive file system, both letters are treated as the same.)

    For some blocks, such as Cyrillic, the second byte determines lettercase. For other blocks, such as Latin1 Supplement, the third byte determines lettercase. If two bytes in the sequence are letters (as in Greek Extended), the leftmost letter character stands for lettercase. All other letter bytes must be in lowercase.

  • All nonletter characters except underscore (_), as well as letters from alphabets that do not have uppercase/lowercase mapping (such as Hebrew) are encoded using hexadecimal representation using lowercase letters for hexadecimal digits a..f:

    0x003F -> @003f
    0xFFFF -> @ffff

    The hexadecimal values correspond to character values in the ucs2 double-byte character set.

On Windows, some names such as nul, prn, and aux are encoded by appending @@@ to the name when the server creates the corresponding file or directory. This occurs on all platforms for portability of the corresponding database object between platforms.

The following names are reserved and appended with @@@ if used in schema or table names:

  • CON

  • PRN

  • AUX

  • NUL

  • COM1 through COM9

  • LPT1 through LPT9

CLOCK$ is also a member of this group of reserved names, but is not appended with @@@, but @0024 instead. That is, if CLOCK$ is used as a schema or table name, it is written to the file system as CLOCK@0024. The same is true for any use of $ (dollar sign) in a schema or table name; it is replaced with @0024 on the filesystem.


These names are also written to INNODB_TABLES in their appended forms, but are written to TABLES in their unappended form, as entered by the user.