12.4.5.6. SHOW COLUMNS Syntax

SHOW [FULL] COLUMNS {FROM | IN} tbl_name [{FROM | IN} db_name]
    [LIKE 'pattern' | WHERE expr]

SHOW COLUMNS displays information about the columns in a given table. It also works for views. The LIKE clause, if present, indicates which column names to match. The WHERE clause can be given to select rows using more general conditions, as discussed in Section 20.31, “Extensions to SHOW Statements”.

SHOW COLUMNS displays information only for those columns that you have some privilege for.

mysql> SHOW COLUMNS FROM City;
+------------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
| Field      | Type     | Null | Key | Default | Extra          |
+------------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
| Id         | int(11)  | NO   | PRI | NULL    | auto_increment |
| Name       | char(35) | NO   |     |         |                |
| Country    | char(3)  | NO   | UNI |         |                |
| District   | char(20) | YES  | MUL |         |                |
| Population | int(11)  | NO   |     | 0       |                |
+------------+----------+------+-----+---------+----------------+
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

If the data types differ from what you expect them to be based on a CREATE TABLE statement, note that MySQL sometimes changes data types when you create or alter a table. The conditions under which this occurs are described in Section 12.1.14.2, “Silent Column Specification Changes”.

The FULL keyword causes the output to include the column collation and comments, as well as the privileges you have for each column.

You can use db_name.tbl_name as an alternative to the tbl_name FROM db_name syntax. In other words, these two statements are equivalent:

mysql> SHOW COLUMNS FROM mytable FROM mydb;
mysql> SHOW COLUMNS FROM mydb.mytable;

SHOW COLUMNS displays the following values for each table column:

Field indicates the column name.

Type indicates the column data type.

Collation indicates the collation for nonbinary string columns, or NULL for other columns. This value is displayed only if you use the FULL keyword.

The Null field contains YES if NULL values can be stored in the column, NO if not.

The Key field indicates whether the column is indexed:

  • If Key is empty, the column either is not indexed or is indexed only as a secondary column in a multiple-column, nonunique index.

  • If Key is PRI, the column is a PRIMARY KEY or is one of the columns in a multiple-column PRIMARY KEY.

  • If Key is UNI, the column is the first column of a UNIQUE index. (A UNIQUE index permits multiple NULL values, but you can tell whether the column permits NULL by checking the Null field.)

  • If Key is MUL, the column is the first column of a nonunique index in which multiple occurrences of a given value are permitted within the column.

If more than one of the Key values applies to a given column of a table, Key displays the one with the highest priority, in the order PRI, UNI, MUL.

A UNIQUE index may be displayed as PRI if it cannot contain NULL values and there is no PRIMARY KEY in the table. A UNIQUE index may display as MUL if several columns form a composite UNIQUE index; although the combination of the columns is unique, each column can still hold multiple occurrences of a given value.

The Default field indicates the default value that is assigned to the column.

The Extra field contains any additional information that is available about a given column. The value is auto_increment if the column was created with the AUTO_INCREMENT keyword and empty otherwise.

Privileges indicates the privileges you have for the column. This value is displayed only if you use the FULL keyword.

Comment indicates any comment the column has. This value is displayed only if you use the FULL keyword.

SHOW FIELDS is a synonym for SHOW COLUMNS. You can also list a table's columns with the mysqlshow db_name tbl_name command.

The DESCRIBE statement provides information similar to SHOW COLUMNS. See Section 12.8.1, “DESCRIBE Syntax”.

The SHOW CREATE TABLE, SHOW TABLE STATUS, and SHOW INDEX statements also provide information about tables. See Section 12.4.5, “SHOW Syntax”.

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