How to: MySQL Delete Column

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How do I delete a column from an existing MySQL table using UNIX / Windows / Linux mysql command line utility sql syntax?

You need to use the ALTER TABLE syntax to change the structure of an existing table. For example, you can add or delete columns, create or destroy indexes, change the type of existing columns, and much more with ALTER TABLE.

Step # 1: Login to mysql

Type the following command:
mysql -u user -p databasename

Step 2: Delete column

First see table description:
desc tableName
Use the following syntax at mysql>
ALTER TABLE tableName DROP columnName;
For example, see t1 table description, enter:

DESC t1;

Sample outputs:

| Field | Type        | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
| c1    | int(11)     | YES  |     | NULL    |       | 
| c2    | varchar(30) | YES  |     | NULL    |       | 
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Delete column c2, enter:


Sample outputs:

| Field | Type    | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
| c1    | int(11) | YES  |     | NULL    |       | 
1 row in set (0.00 sec)


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

6 comment

  1. I want to delete column data only not row for that i have write that query but it doesn’t work so any idea please share me

    DELETE title FROM thinks_books WHERE title=’urdu’,
    Azeem Akram

    1. Dear Azeem, try to execute “UPDATE ” query instead of DELETE

      UPDATE thinks_books SET title=” ” WHERE title=’Urudu’;

  2. I created a table in mysql containing 2 columns ,userid,movieid.I entered the values in movieid column using arraylist.

    the table contains the following data

    userid movieid

    1 12234,5688,8976
    2 567

    now i want to delete 12234 in movieid column where userid=1
    how i can write the query in mysql.can anyone help me.

  3. I need to drop two/more columns using only one ‘drop’/’delete’ statement in mySQL.
    It is possible in oracle SQL using ‘drop’.

  4. “ALTER TABLE Table_name DROP column_name1, DROP column_name2;”
    I want to simplify this using only one drop. Is it possible?

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