11.2.5 Numeric Type Attributes

MySQL supports an extension for optionally specifying the display width of integer data types in parentheses following the base keyword for the type. For example, INT(4) specifies an INT with a display width of four digits. This optional display width may be used by applications to display integer values having a width less than the width specified for the column by left-padding them with spaces. (That is, this width is present in the metadata returned with result sets. Whether it is used or not is up to the application.)

The display width does not constrain the range of values that can be stored in the column. Nor does it prevent values wider than the column display width from being displayed correctly. For example, a column specified as SMALLINT(3) has the usual SMALLINT range of -32768 to 32767, and values outside the range permitted by three digits are displayed in full using more than three digits.

When used in conjunction with the optional (nonstandard) attribute ZEROFILL, the default padding of spaces is replaced with zeros. For example, for a column declared as INT(4) ZEROFILL, a value of 5 is retrieved as 0005.

Note

The ZEROFILL attribute is ignored when a column is involved in expressions or UNION queries.

If you store values larger than the display width in an integer column that has the ZEROFILL attribute, you may experience problems when MySQL generates temporary tables for some complicated joins. In these cases, MySQL assumes that the data values fit within the column display width.

All integer types can have an optional (nonstandard) attribute UNSIGNED. Unsigned type can be used to permit only nonnegative numbers in a column or when you need a larger upper numeric range for the column. For example, if an INT column is UNSIGNED, the size of the column's range is the same but its endpoints shift from -2147483648 and 2147483647 up to 0 and 4294967295.

Floating-point and fixed-point types also can be UNSIGNED. As with integer types, this attribute prevents negative values from being stored in the column. Unlike the integer types, the upper range of column values remains the same.

If you specify ZEROFILL for a numeric column, MySQL automatically adds the UNSIGNED attribute to the column.

Integer or floating-point data types can have the additional attribute AUTO_INCREMENT. When you insert a value of NULL (recommended) or 0 into an indexed AUTO_INCREMENT column, the column is set to the next sequence value. Typically this is value+1, where value is the largest value for the column currently in the table. AUTO_INCREMENT sequences begin with 1. (Inserting NULL to generate AUTO_INCREMENT values requires that the column be declared NOT NULL. If the column is declared NULL, inserting NULL stores a NULL.)

As of MySQL 5.5.29, negative values for AUTO_INCREMENT columns are not supported.