When you invoke mysql from the command line, your command interpreter can't find it.
Add the directory where mysql is installed to your PATH setting. Then you'll be able to run mysql from any directory easily.
If your shell or command interpreter can't find mysql when you invoke it, you'll see some sort of error message. It may look like this under Unix:
% mysql mysql: Command not found.
Or like this under Windows:
C:> mysql Bad command or invalid filename
One way to tell your shell where to find mysql is to type its full pathname each time you run it. The command might look like this under Unix:
Or like this under Windows:
Typing long pathnames gets tiresome pretty quickly, though. You can avoid doing so by changing into the directory where mysql is installed before you run it. However, I recommend that you not do that. If you do, the inevitable result is that you'll end up putting all your datafiles and query batch files in the same directory as mysql, thus unnecessarily cluttering up what should be a location intended only for programs.
A better solution is to make sure that the directory where mysql is installed is included in the PATH environment variable that lists pathnames of directories where the shell looks for commands. (See Recipe 1.9.) Then you can invoke mysql from any directory by entering just its name, and your shell will be able to find it. This eliminates a lot of unnecessary pathname typing. An additional benefit is that because you can easily run mysql from anywhere, you will have no need to put your datafiles in the same directory where mysql is located. When you're not operating under the burden of running mysql from a particular location, you'll be free to organize your files in a way that makes sense to you, not in a way imposed by some artificial necessity. For example, you can create a directory under your home directory for each database you have and put the files associated with each database in the appropriate directory.
I've pointed out the importance of the search path here because I receive many questions from people who aren't aware of the existence of such a thing, and who consequently try to do all their MySQL-related work in the bin directory where mysql is installed. This seems particularly common among Windows users. Perhaps the reason is that, except for Windows NT and its derivatives, the Windows Help application seems to be silent on the subject of the command interpreter search path or how to set it. (Apparently, Windows Help considers it dangerous for people to know how to do something useful for themselves.)
Another way for Windows users to avoid typing the pathname or changing into the mysql directory is to create a shortcut and place it in a more convenient location. That has the advantage of making it easy to start up mysql just by opening the shortcut. To specify command-line options or the startup directory, edit the shortcut's properties. If you don't always invoke mysql with the same options, it might be useful to create a shortcut corresponding to each set of options you needfor example, one shortcut to connect as an ordinary user for general work and another to connect as the MySQL root user for administrative purposes.
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