You want to export the result of a query from MySQL into a file or another program.
Use the SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE statement or redirect the output of the mysql program.
MySQL provides a SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE statement that exports a query result directly into a file on the server host. Another way to export a query, if you want to capture the result on the client host instead, is to redirect the output of the mysql program. These methods have different strengths and weaknesses, so you should get to know them both and apply whichever one best suits a given situation.
10.14.4 Exporting with the SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE Statement
The syntax for this statement combines a regular SELECT with INTO OUTFILE filename at the end. The default output format is the same as for LOAD DATA, so the following statement exports the passwd table into /tmp/passwd.txt as a tab-delimited, linefeed-terminated file:
mysql> SELECT * FROM passwd INTO OUTFILE '/tmp/passwd.txt';
You can change the output format using options similar to those used with LOAD DATA that indicate how to quote and delimit columns and records. To export the passwd table in CSV format with CRLF-terminated lines, use this statement:
mysql> SELECT * FROM passwd INTO OUTFILE '/tmp/passwd.txt' -> FIELDS TERMINATED BY ',' ENCLOSED BY '"' -> LINES TERMINATED BY ' ';
SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE has the following properties:
10.14.5 Using the mysql Client to Export Data
Because SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE writes the datafile on the server host, you cannot use it unless your MySQL account has the FILE privilege. To export data into a local file, you must use some other strategy. If all you require is tab-delimited output, you can do a "poor-man's export" by executing a SELECT statement with the mysql program and redirecting the output to a file. That way you can write query results into a file on your local host without the FILE privilege. Here's an example that exports the login name and command interpreter columns from the passwd table created earlier in this chapter:
% mysql -e "SELECT account, shell FROM passwd" -N cookbook > shells.txt
The -e option specifies the query to execute, and -N tells MySQL not to write the row of column names that normally precedes query output. The latter option was added in MySQL 3.22.20; if your version is older than that, you can achieve the same end by telling mysql to be "really silent" with the -ss option instead:
% mysql -e "SELECT account, shell FROM passwd" -ss cookbook > shells.txt
Note that NULL values are written as the string "NULL". Some sort of postprocessing may be necessary to convert them, depending on what you want to do with the output file.
It's possible to produce output in formats other than tab-delimited by sending the query result into a post-processing filter that converts tabs to something else. For example, to use hash marks as delimiters, convert all tabs to # characters (TAB indicates where you type a tab character in the command):
% mysql -N -e " your query here " db_name | sed -e "s/ TAB /#/g" > output_file
You can also use tr for this purpose, though the syntax may vary for different implementations of this utility. The command looks like this for Mac OS X or RedHat Linux:
% mysql -N -e " your query here " db_name | tr " " "#" > output_file
The mysql commands just shown use -N or -ss to suppress column labels from appearing in the output. Under some circumstances, it may be useful to include the labels. (For example, they may be useful when importing the file later.) If so, omit the label-suppression option from the command. In this respect, exporting query results with mysql is more flexible than SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE because the latter cannot produce output that includes column labels.
10.14.6 See Also
Another way to export query results to a file on the client host is by using the mysql_to_text.pl utility described in Recipe 10.18. That program has options that allow you to specify the output format explicitly. To export a query result as an Excel spreadsheet or for use with FileMaker Pro, see Recipes Recipe 10.40 and Recipe 10.41.
Using the mysql Client Program
Writing MySQL-Based Programs
Record Selection Techniques
Working with Strings
Working with Dates and Times
Sorting Query Results
Modifying Tables with ALTER TABLE
Obtaining and Using Metadata
Importing and Exporting Data
Generating and Using Sequences
Using Multiple Tables
Introduction to MySQL on the Web
Incorporating Query Resultsinto Web Pages
Processing Web Input with MySQL
Using MySQL-Based Web Session Management
Appendix A. Obtaining MySQL Software
Appendix B. JSP and Tomcat Primer
Appendix C. References