MySQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint - Explained with Examples

Master MySQL's PRIMARY KEY constraint with clear examples. Elevate your database design skills, ensuring unique and efficient identification of records.

MySQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint

The PRIMARY KEY constraint uniquely identifies each record in a table.

Primary keys must contain UNIQUE values, and cannot contain NULL values.

A table can have only ONE primary key; and in the table, this primary key can consist of single or multiple columns (fields).


PRIMARY KEY on CREATE TABLE

The following SQL creates a PRIMARY KEY on the "ID" column when the "Persons" table is created:

CREATE TABLE Persons (
    ID int NOT NULL,
    LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
    FirstName varchar(255),
    Age int,
    PRIMARY KEY (ID)
);

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

CREATE TABLE Persons (
    ID int NOT NULL,
    LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
    FirstName varchar(255),
    Age int,
    CONSTRAINT PK_Person PRIMARY KEY (ID,LastName)
);

Note: In the example above there is only ONE PRIMARY KEY (PK_Person). However, the VALUE of the primary key is made up of TWO COLUMNS (ID + LastName).
 


PRIMARY KEY on ALTER TABLE

To create a PRIMARY KEY constraint on the "ID" column when the table is already created, use the following SQL:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD PRIMARY KEY (ID);

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD CONSTRAINT PK_Person PRIMARY KEY (ID,LastName);

Note: If you use ALTER TABLE to add a primary key, the primary key column(s) must have been declared to not contain NULL values (when the table was first created).


DROP a PRIMARY KEY Constraint

To drop a PRIMARY KEY constraint, use the following SQL:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP PRIMARY KEY;

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MySQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint - Explained with Examples
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