13.8.3 HELP Syntax

HELP 'search_string'

The HELP statement returns online information from the MySQL Reference manual. Its proper operation requires that the help tables in the mysql database be initialized with help topic information (see Section 5.1.10, “Server-Side Help”).

The HELP statement searches the help tables for the given search string and displays the result of the search. The search string is not case sensitive.

The search string can contain the wildcard characters % and _. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator. For example, HELP 'rep%' returns a list of topics that begin with rep.

The HELP statement understands several types of search strings:

In other words, the search string matches a category, many topics, or a single topic. You cannot necessarily tell in advance whether a given search string will return a list of items or the help information for a single help topic. However, you can tell what kind of response HELP returned by examining the number of rows and columns in the result set.

The following descriptions indicate the forms that the result set can take. Output for the example statements is shown using the familiar tabular or vertical format that you see when using the mysql client, but note that mysql itself reformats HELP result sets in a different way.