3.2 Invoking MySQL Programs
To invoke a MySQL program at the command line (that is, from your shell or command prompt), enter the program name followed by any options or other arguments needed to instruct the program what you want it to do. The following commands show some sample program invocations. "shell>" represents the prompt for your command interpreter; it is not part of what you type. The particular prompt you will see depends on your command interpreter. Typical prompts are $ for sh or bash, % for csh or tcsh, and C:\> for Windows command.com or cmd.exe.
shell> mysql test shell> mysqladmin extended-status variables shell> mysqlshow --help shell> mysqldump --user=root personnel
Arguments that begin with a dash are option arguments. They typically specify the type of connection a program should make to the server or affect its operational mode. Options have a syntax that is described in Section 3.3, "Specifying Program Options."
Non-option arguments (arguments with no leading dash) provide additional information to the program. For example, the mysql program interprets the first non-option argument as a database name, so the command mysql test indicates that you want to use the test database.
Later sections that describe individual programs indicate which options a program understands and describe the meaning of any additional non-option arguments.
Some options are common to a number of programs. The most common of these are the --host, --user, and --password options that specify connection parameters. They indicate the host where the MySQL server is running, and the username and password of your MySQL account. All MySQL client programs understand these options; they allow you to specify which server to connect to and the account to use on that server.
You may find it necessary to invoke MySQL programs using the pathname to the bin directory in which they are installed. This is likely to be the case if you get a "program not found" error whenever you attempt to run a MySQL program from any directory other than the bin directory. To make it more convenient to use MySQL, you can add the pathname of the bin directory to your PATH environment variable setting. Then to run a program you need only type its name, not its entire pathname.
Consult the documentation for your command interpreter for instructions on setting your PATH. The syntax for setting environment variables is interpreter-specific.