command line – How to best display in Terminal a MySQL SELECT returning too many fields?

The Question :

293 people think this question is useful

I’m using PuTTY to run:

mysql> SELECT * FROM sometable;

sometable has many fields and this results in many columns trying to be displayed in the terminal. The fields wrap onto the next line so it is very hard to line up column titles with field values.

What solutions are there for viewing such data in terminal?

I don’t have nor want access to phpMyAdmin – or any other GUI interfaces. I’m looking for command-line solutions such as this one: Save MySQL Query results into text or CVS file

The Question Comments :
  • The solution is for the developer to fix the bug that stops the terminal being expanded to wider than a single screen.
  • @Owl, is this really a bug? Do the solutions provided here not solved the problem yet?

The Answer 1

571 people think this answer is useful

Terminate the query with \G in place of ;. For example:

SELECT * FROM sometable\G

This query displays the rows vertically, like this:

*************************** 1. row ***************************
                 Host: localhost
                   Db: mydatabase1
                 User: myuser1
          Select_priv: Y
          Insert_priv: Y
          Update_priv: Y
*************************** 2. row ***************************
                 Host: localhost
                   Db: mydatabase2
                 User: myuser2
          Select_priv: Y
          Insert_priv: Y
          Update_priv: Y

The Answer 2

361 people think this answer is useful

You might also find this useful (non-Windows only):

mysql> pager less -SFX
mysql> SELECT * FROM sometable;

This will pipe the outut through the less command line tool which – with these parameters – will give you a tabular output that can be scrolled horizontally and vertically with the cursor keys.

Leave this view by hitting the q key, which will quit the less tool.

The Answer 3

46 people think this answer is useful

Try enabling vertical mode, using \G to execute the query instead of ;:

mysql> SELECT * FROM sometable \G

Your results will be listed in the vertical mode, so each column value will be printed on a separate line. The output will be narrower but obviously much longer.

The Answer 4

31 people think this answer is useful

Using mysql‘s ego command

From mysql‘s help command:

ego          (\G) Send command to mysql server, display result vertically.

So by appending a \G to your select, you can get a very clean vertical output:

mysql> SELECT * FROM sometable \G

Using a pager

You can tell MySQL to use the less pager with its -S option that chops wide lines and gives you an output that you can scroll with the arrow keys:

mysql> pager less -S

Thus, next time you run a command with a wide output, MySQL will let you browse the output with the less pager:

mysql> SELECT * FROM sometable;

If you’re done with the pager and want to go back to the regular output on stdout, use this:

mysql> nopager

The Answer 5

26 people think this answer is useful

You can use the --table or -t option, which will output a nice looking set of results

echo 'desc table_name' | mysql -uroot database -t

or some other method to pass a query to mysql, like:

mysql -uroot table_name --table < /tmp/somequery.sql


| Field        | Type         | Null | Key | Default | Extra          |
| id           | int(11)      | NO   | PRI | NULL    | auto_increment |
| username     | varchar(30)  | NO   | UNI | NULL    |                |
| first_name   | varchar(30)  | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| last_name    | varchar(30)  | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| email        | varchar(75)  | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| password     | varchar(128) | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| is_staff     | tinyint(1)   | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| is_active    | tinyint(1)   | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| is_superuser | tinyint(1)   | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| last_login   | datetime     | NO   |     | NULL    |                |
| date_joined  | datetime     | NO   |     | NULL    |                |

The Answer 6

10 people think this answer is useful

Just to complement the answer that I thought best, I also use less -SFX but in a different way: I like to ad it to my .my.cnf file in my home folder, an example cnf file looks like this:

pager='less -SFX'

The good thing about having it this way, is that less is only used when the output of a query is actually more than one page long, here is the explanation of all the flags:

  • -S: Single line, don’t skip line when line is wider than screen, instead allow to scroll to the right.
  • -F: Quit if one screen, if content doesn’t need scrolling then just send to stdout.
  • -X: No init, disables any output “less” might have configured to output every time it loads.

Note: in the .my.cnf file don’t put the pager command below the [client] keyword; although it might work with mysql well, mysqldump will complain about not recognizing it.

The Answer 7

8 people think this answer is useful

The default pager is stdout. The stdout has the column limitation, so the output would be wrapped. You could set other tools as pager to format the output. There are two methods. One is to limit the column, the other is to processed it in vim.

The first method:

➜  ~  echo $COLUMNS

mysql> nopager
PAGER set to stdout
mysql> pager cut -c -179
PAGER set to 'cut -c -179'
mysql> select * from db;
| Host      | Db         | User       | Select_priv | Insert_priv | Update_priv | Delete_priv | Create_priv | Drop_priv | Grant_priv | References_priv | Index_priv | Alter_priv |
| %         | test       |            | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y         | N          | Y               | Y          | Y          |
| %         | test\_%    |            | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y         | N          | Y               | Y          | Y          |
| localhost | phpmyadmin | phpmyadmin | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y         | N          | Y               | Y          | Y          |
| localhost | it         | it         | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y           | Y         | N          | Y               | Y          | Y          |
4 rows in set (0.00 sec)


The output is not complete. The content fits to your screen.

The second one:

Set vim mode to nowrap in your .vimrc

➜  ~  tail ~/.vimrc

" no-wrap for myslq cli
set nowrap

mysql> pager vim -
PAGER set to 'vim -'
mysql> select * from db;
    Vim: Reading from stdin...
| Host      | Db         | User       | Select_priv | Insert_priv | Update_pr
| %         | test       |            | Y           | Y           | Y
| %         | test\_%    |            | Y           | Y           | Y
| localhost | phpmyadmin | phpmyadmin | Y           | Y           | Y
| localhost | it         | it         | Y           | Y           | Y

The Answer 8

2 people think this answer is useful

If you are using MySQL interactively, you can set your pager to use sed like this:

$ mysql -u <user> p<password>
mysql> pager sed 's/,/\n/g' 
PAGER set to 'sed 's/,/\n/g''
mysql> SELECT blah FROM blah WHERE blah = blah 

If you don’t use sed as the pager, the output is like this:


The Answer 9

1 people think this answer is useful

I wrote pspg

This pager is designed for tabular data – and MySQL is supported too.

MariaDB [sakila]> pager pspg -s 14 -X --force-uniborder --quit-if-one-screen
PAGER set to 'pspg -s 14 -X --force-uniborder --quit-if-one-screen'
MariaDB [sakila]> select now();
MariaDB [sakila]> select * from nicer_but_slower_film_list limit 100;

The Answer 10

0 people think this answer is useful

I believe putty has a maximum number of columns you can specify for the window.

For Windows I personally use Windows PowerShell and set the screen buffer width reasonably high. The column width remains fixed and you can use a horizontal scroll bar to see the data. I had the same problem you’re having now.

edit: For remote hosts that you have to SSH into you would use something like plink + Windows PowerShell

The Answer 11

0 people think this answer is useful

You can use tee to write the result of your query to a file:

tee somepath\filename.txt

The Answer 12

-2 people think this answer is useful

Using the Windows Command Prompt you can increase the buffer size of the window as much you want to see the number of columns. This depends on the no of columns in the table.

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