13.1.4.1 ALTER TABLE Examples

Begin with a table t1 that is created as shown here:

CREATE TABLE t1 (a INTEGER,b CHAR(10));

To rename the table from t1 to t2:

ALTER TABLE t1 RENAME t2;

To change column a from INTEGER to TINYINT NOT NULL (leaving the name the same), and to change column b from CHAR(10) to CHAR(20) as well as renaming it from b to c:

ALTER TABLE t2 MODIFY a TINYINT NOT NULL, CHANGE b c CHAR(20);

To add a new TIMESTAMP column named d:

ALTER TABLE t2 ADD d TIMESTAMP;

To add an index on column d and a UNIQUE index on column a:

ALTER TABLE t2 ADD INDEX (d), ADD UNIQUE (a);

To remove column c:

ALTER TABLE t2 DROP COLUMN c;

To add a new AUTO_INCREMENT integer column named c:

ALTER TABLE t2 ADD c INT UNSIGNED NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  ADD PRIMARY KEY (c);

Note that we indexed c (as a PRIMARY KEY) because AUTO_INCREMENT columns must be indexed, and also that we declare c as NOT NULL because primary key columns cannot be NULL.

When you add an AUTO_INCREMENT column, column values are filled in with sequence numbers automatically. For MyISAM tables, you can set the first sequence number by executing SET INSERT_ID=value before ALTER TABLE or by using the AUTO_INCREMENT=value table option. See Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”.

With MyISAM tables, if you do not change the AUTO_INCREMENT column, the sequence number is not affected. If you drop an AUTO_INCREMENT column and then add another AUTO_INCREMENT column, the numbers are resequenced beginning with 1.

When replication is used, adding an AUTO_INCREMENT column to a table might not produce the same ordering of the rows on the slave and the master. This occurs because the order in which the rows are numbered depends on the specific storage engine used for the table and the order in which the rows were inserted. If it is important to have the same order on the master and slave, the rows must be ordered before assigning an AUTO_INCREMENT number. Assuming that you want to add an AUTO_INCREMENT column to the table t1, the following statements produce a new table t2 identical to t1 but with an AUTO_INCREMENT column:

CREATE TABLE t2 (id INT AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY)
SELECT * FROM t1 ORDER BY col1, col2;

This assumes that the table t1 has columns col1 and col2.

This set of statements will also produce a new table t2 identical to t1, with the addition of an AUTO_INCREMENT column:

CREATE TABLE t2 LIKE t1;
ALTER TABLE t2 ADD id INT AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY;
INSERT INTO t2 SELECT * FROM t1 ORDER BY col1, col2;
Important

To guarantee the same ordering on both master and slave, all columns of t1 must be referenced in the ORDER BY clause.

Regardless of the method used to create and populate the copy having the AUTO_INCREMENT column, the final step is to drop the original table and then rename the copy:

DROP t1;
ALTER TABLE t2 RENAME t1;