10.9. Character Sets and Collations That MySQL Supports

MySQL supports 70+ collations for 30+ character sets. This section indicates which character sets MySQL supports. There is one subsection for each group of related character sets. For each character set, the allowable collations are listed.

You can always list the available character sets and their default collations with the SHOW CHARACTER SET statement:

mysql> SHOW CHARACTER SET;
+----------+-----------------------------+---------------------+
| Charset  | Description                 | Default collation   |
+----------+-----------------------------+---------------------+
| big5     | Big5 Traditional Chinese    | big5_chinese_ci     |
| dec8     | DEC West European           | dec8_swedish_ci     |
| cp850    | DOS West European           | cp850_general_ci    |
| hp8      | HP West European            | hp8_english_ci      |
| koi8r    | KOI8-R Relcom Russian       | koi8r_general_ci    |
| latin1   | cp1252 West European        | latin1_swedish_ci   |
| latin2   | ISO 8859-2 Central European | latin2_general_ci   |
| swe7     | 7bit Swedish                | swe7_swedish_ci     |
| ascii    | US ASCII                    | ascii_general_ci    |
| ujis     | EUC-JP Japanese             | ujis_japanese_ci    |
| sjis     | Shift-JIS Japanese          | sjis_japanese_ci    |
| hebrew   | ISO 8859-8 Hebrew           | hebrew_general_ci   |
| tis620   | TIS620 Thai                 | tis620_thai_ci      |
| euckr    | EUC-KR Korean               | euckr_korean_ci     |
| koi8u    | KOI8-U Ukrainian            | koi8u_general_ci    |
| gb2312   | GB2312 Simplified Chinese   | gb2312_chinese_ci   |
| greek    | ISO 8859-7 Greek            | greek_general_ci    |
| cp1250   | Windows Central European    | cp1250_general_ci   |
| gbk      | GBK Simplified Chinese      | gbk_chinese_ci      |
| latin5   | ISO 8859-9 Turkish          | latin5_turkish_ci   |
| armscii8 | ARMSCII-8 Armenian          | armscii8_general_ci |
| utf8     | UTF-8 Unicode               | utf8_general_ci     |
| ucs2     | UCS-2 Unicode               | ucs2_general_ci     |
| cp866    | DOS Russian                 | cp866_general_ci    |
| keybcs2  | DOS Kamenicky Czech-Slovak  | keybcs2_general_ci  |
| macce    | Mac Central European        | macce_general_ci    |
| macroman | Mac West European           | macroman_general_ci |
| cp852    | DOS Central European        | cp852_general_ci    |
| latin7   | ISO 8859-13 Baltic          | latin7_general_ci   |
| cp1251   | Windows Cyrillic            | cp1251_general_ci   |
| cp1256   | Windows Arabic              | cp1256_general_ci   |
| cp1257   | Windows Baltic              | cp1257_general_ci   |
| binary   | Binary pseudo charset       | binary              |
| geostd8  | GEOSTD8 Georgian            | geostd8_general_ci  |
| cp932    | SJIS for Windows Japanese   | cp932_japanese_ci   |
| eucjpms  | UJIS for Windows Japanese   | eucjpms_japanese_ci |
+----------+-----------------------------+---------------------+

10.9.1. Unicode Character Sets

MySQL has two Unicode character sets. You can store text in about 650 languages using these character sets.

  • ucs2 (UCS-2 Unicode) collations:

    • ucs2_bin

    • ucs2_czech_ci

    • ucs2_danish_ci

    • ucs2_esperanto_ci

    • ucs2_estonian_ci

    • ucs2_general_ci (default)

    • ucs2_hungarian_ci

    • ucs2_icelandic_ci

    • ucs2_latvian_ci

    • ucs2_lithuanian_ci

    • ucs2_persian_ci

    • ucs2_polish_ci

    • ucs2_roman_ci

    • ucs2_romanian_ci

    • ucs2_slovak_ci

    • ucs2_slovenian_ci

    • ucs2_spanish2_ci

    • ucs2_spanish_ci

    • ucs2_swedish_ci

    • ucs2_turkish_ci

    • ucs2_unicode_ci

  • utf8 (UTF-8 Unicode) collations:

    • utf8_bin

    • utf8_czech_ci

    • utf8_danish_ci

    • utf8_esperanto_ci

    • utf8_estonian_ci

    • utf8_general_ci (default)

    • utf8_hungarian_ci

    • utf8_icelandic_ci

    • utf8_latvian_ci

    • utf8_lithuanian_ci

    • utf8_persian_ci

    • utf8_polish_ci

    • utf8_roman_ci

    • utf8_romanian_ci

    • utf8_slovak_ci

    • utf8_slovenian_ci

    • utf8_spanish2_ci

    • utf8_spanish_ci

    • utf8_swedish_ci

    • utf8_turkish_ci

    • utf8_unicode_ci

Note that in the ucs2_roman_ci and utf8_roman_ci collations, I and J compare as equals, and U and V compare as equals.

The ucs2_esperanto_ci and utf8_esperanto_ci collations were added in MySQL 5.0.13. The ucs2_hungarian_ci and utf8_hungarian_ci collations were added in MySQL 5.0.19.

MySQL implements the utf8_unicode_ci collation according to the Unicode Collation Algorithm (UCA) described at http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr10/. The collation uses the version-4.0.0 UCA weight keys: http://www.unicode.org/Public/UCA/4.0.0/allkeys-4.0.0.txt. The following discussion uses utf8_unicode_ci, but it is also true for ucs2_unicode_ci.

Currently, the utf8_unicode_ci collation has only partial support for the Unicode Collation Algorithm. Some characters are not supported yet. Also, combining marks are not fully supported. This affects primarily Vietnamese and some minority languages in Russia such as Udmurt, Tatar, Bashkir, and Mari.

The most significant feature in utf8_unicode_ci is that it supports expansions; that is, when one character compares as equal to combinations of other characters. For example, in German and some other languages ‘ß’ is equal to ‘ss’.

utf8_general_ci is a legacy collation that does not support expansions. It can make only one-to-one comparisons between characters. This means that comparisons for the utf8_general_ci collation are faster, but slightly less correct, than comparisons for utf8_unicode_ci.

For example, the following equalities hold in both utf8_general_ci and utf8_unicode_ci:

Ä = A
Ö = O
Ü = U

A difference between the collations is that this is true for utf8_general_ci:

ß = s

Whereas this is true for utf8_unicode_ci:

ß = ss

MySQL implements language-specific collations for the utf8 character set only if the ordering with utf8_unicode_ci does not work well for a language. For example, utf8_unicode_ci works fine for German and French, so there is no need to create special utf8 collations for these two languages.

utf8_general_ci also is satisfactory for both German and French, except that ‘ß’ is equal to ‘s’, and not to ‘ss’. If this is acceptable for your application, then you should use utf8_general_ci because it is faster. Otherwise, use utf8_unicode_ci because it is more accurate.

utf8_swedish_ci, like other utf8 language-specific collations, is derived from utf8_unicode_ci with additional language rules. For example, in Swedish, the following relationship holds, which is not something expected by a German or French speaker:

Ü = Y < Ö

The utf8_spanish_ci and utf8_spanish2_ci collations correspond to modern Spanish and traditional Spanish, respectively. In both collations, ‘ñ’ (n-tilde) is a separate letter between ‘n’ and ‘o’. In addition, for traditional Spanish, ‘ch’ is a separate letter between ‘c’ and ‘d’, and ‘ll’ is a separate letter between ‘l’ and ‘m

10.9.2. West European Character Sets

Western European character sets cover most West European languages, such as French, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Portuguese, Italian, Albanian, Dutch, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Faroese, Icelandic, Irish, Scottish, and English.

  • ascii (US ASCII) collations:

    • ascii_bin

    • ascii_general_ci (default)

  • cp850 (DOS West European) collations:

    • cp850_bin

    • cp850_general_ci (default)

  • dec8 (DEC Western European) collations:

    • dec8_bin

    • dec8_swedish_ci (default)

  • hp8 (HP Western European) collations:

    • hp8_bin

    • hp8_english_ci (default)

  • latin1 (cp1252 West European) collations:

    • latin1_bin

    • latin1_danish_ci

    • latin1_general_ci

    • latin1_general_cs

    • latin1_german1_ci

    • latin1_german2_ci

    • latin1_spanish_ci

    • latin1_swedish_ci (default)

    latin1 is the default character set. MySQL's latin1 is the same as the Windows cp1252 character set. This means it is the same as the official ISO 8859-1 or IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) latin1, but IANA latin1 treats the code points between 0x80 and 0x9f as “undefined,” whereas cp1252, and therefore MySQL's latin1, assign characters for those positions. For example, 0x80 is the Euro sign. For the “undefined” entries in cp1252, MySQL translates 0x81 to Unicode 0x0081, 0x8d to 0x008d, 0x8f to 0x008f, 0x90 to 0x0090, and 0x9d to 0x009d.

    The latin1_swedish_ci collation is the default that probably is used by the majority of MySQL customers. Although it is frequently said that it is based on the Swedish/Finnish collation rules, there are Swedes and Finns who disagree with this statement.

    The latin1_german1_ci and latin1_german2_ci collations are based on the DIN-1 and DIN-2 standards, where DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung (the German equivalent of ANSI). DIN-1 is called the “dictionary collation” and DIN-2 is called the “phone book collation.

    • latin1_german1_ci (dictionary) rules:

      Ä = A
      Ö = O
      Ü = U
      ß = s
      
    • latin1_german2_ci (phone-book) rules:

      Ä = AE
      Ö = OE
      Ü = UE
      ß = ss
      

    In the latin1_spanish_ci collation, ‘ñ’ (n-tilde) is a separate letter between ‘n’ and ‘o’.

  • macroman (Mac West European) collations:

    • macroman_bin

    • macroman_general_ci (default)

  • swe7 (7bit Swedish) collations:

    • swe7_bin

    • swe7_swedish_ci (default)

10.9.3. Central European Character Sets

MySQL provides some support for character sets used in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, and Poland.

  • cp1250 (Windows Central European) collations:

    • cp1250_bin

    • cp1250_croatian_ci

    • cp1250_czech_cs

    • cp1250_general_ci (default)

  • cp852 (DOS Central European) collations:

    • cp852_bin

    • cp852_general_ci (default)

  • keybcs2 (DOS Kamenicky Czech-Slovak) collations:

    • keybcs2_bin

    • keybcs2_general_ci (default)

  • latin2 (ISO 8859-2 Central European) collations:

    • latin2_bin

    • latin2_croatian_ci

    • latin2_czech_cs

    • latin2_general_ci (default)

    • latin2_hungarian_ci

  • macce (Mac Central European) collations:

    • macce_bin

    • macce_general_ci (default)

10.9.4. South European and Middle East Character Sets

South European and Middle Eastern character sets supported by MySQL include Armenian, Arabic, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, and Turkish.

  • armscii8 (ARMSCII-8 Armenian) collations:

    • armscii8_bin

    • armscii8_general_ci (default)

  • cp1256 (Windows Arabic) collations:

    • cp1256_bin

    • cp1256_general_ci (default)

  • geostd8 (GEOSTD8 Georgian) collations:

    • geostd8_bin

    • geostd8_general_ci (default)

  • greek (ISO 8859-7 Greek) collations:

    • greek_bin

    • greek_general_ci (default)

  • hebrew (ISO 8859-8 Hebrew) collations:

    • hebrew_bin

    • hebrew_general_ci (default)

  • latin5 (ISO 8859-9 Turkish) collations:

    • latin5_bin

    • latin5_turkish_ci (default)

10.9.5. Baltic Character Sets

The Baltic character sets cover Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian languages.

  • cp1257 (Windows Baltic) collations:

    • cp1257_bin

    • cp1257_general_ci (default)

    • cp1257_lithuanian_ci

  • latin7 (ISO 8859-13 Baltic) collations:

    • latin7_bin

    • latin7_estonian_cs

    • latin7_general_ci (default)

    • latin7_general_cs

10.9.6. Cyrillic Character Sets

The Cyrillic character sets and collations are for use with Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Ukrainian languages.

  • cp1251 (Windows Cyrillic) collations:

    • cp1251_bin

    • cp1251_bulgarian_ci

    • cp1251_general_ci (default)

    • cp1251_general_cs

    • cp1251_ukrainian_ci

  • cp866 (DOS Russian) collations:

    • cp866_bin

    • cp866_general_ci (default)

  • koi8r (KOI8-R Relcom Russian) collations:

    • koi8r_bin

    • koi8r_general_ci (default)

  • koi8u (KOI8-U Ukrainian) collations:

    • koi8u_bin

    • koi8u_general_ci (default)

10.9.7. Asian Character Sets

The Asian character sets that we support include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. These can be complicated. For example, the Chinese sets must allow for thousands of different characters. See Section 10.9.7.1, “The cp932 Character Set”, for additional information about the cp932 and sjis character sets.

  • big5 (Big5 Traditional Chinese) collations:

    • big5_bin

    • big5_chinese_ci (default)

  • cp932 (SJIS for Windows Japanese) collations:

    • cp932_bin

    • cp932_japanese_ci (default)

  • eucjpms (UJIS for Windows Japanese) collations:

    • eucjpms_bin

    • eucjpms_japanese_ci (default)

  • euckr (EUC-KR Korean) collations:

    • euckr_bin

    • euckr_korean_ci (default)

  • gb2312 (GB2312 Simplified Chinese) collations:

    • gb2312_bin

    • gb2312_chinese_ci (default)