11.1.3 String Type Overview

A summary of the string data types follows. For additional information about properties and storage requirements of the string types, see Section 11.4, “String Types”, and Section 11.6, “Data Type Storage Requirements”.

In some cases, MySQL may change a string column to a type different from that given in a CREATE TABLE or ALTER TABLE statement. See Section, “Silent Column Specification Changes”.

MySQL interprets length specifications in character column definitions in character units. This applies to CHAR, VARCHAR, and the TEXT types.

Column definitions for many string data types can include attributes that specify the character set or collation of the column. These attributes apply to the CHAR, VARCHAR, the TEXT types, ENUM, and SET data types:

Character column sorting and comparison are based on the character set assigned to the column. For the CHAR, VARCHAR, TEXT, ENUM, and SET data types, you can declare a column with a binary collation or the BINARY attribute to cause sorting and comparison to use the underlying character code values rather than a lexical ordering.

Section 10.1, “Character Set Support”, provides additional information about use of character sets in MySQL.