Deciphering MySQL Error 1059: Strategies for Resolving Excessively Long Identifier Names

When working with MySQL, you may come across Error 1059, which is flagged by SQLSTATE: 42000 (ER_TOO_LONG_IDENT). This error message indicates that an identifier name in your query, such as a table name, column name, index name, or alias, exceeds the maximum length allowed by MySQL. The identifier length limit in MySQL is 64 characters, and anything beyond this will trigger Error 1059. This guide will help you understand the error’s causes and provide you with clear solutions to address the problem.

Understanding Error 1059

MySQL Error 1059 is straightforward: it tells you that an identifier name is too long. This can happen in various contexts:

  • Creating Tables or Columns: When defining a new table or adding a column with a name longer than 64 characters.
  • Defining Indexes: When creating an index with a name that exceeds the limit.
  • Using Aliases: When assigning an alias to a table or column within a query that is too lengthy.

Diagnosing and Fixing Error 1059

Shorten Identifier Names

The most direct solution is to shorten the identifier name to be within the 64-character limit. For example:

-- This will cause Error 1059
CREATE TABLE this_table_name_is_far_too_long_and_will_cause_an_error_because_of_its_length (...);

-- Shorten the name to resolve the error
CREATE TABLE shortened_table_name (...);

Review and Rename Existing Identifiers

If you encounter this error with existing database objects, you’ll need to rename them. Use the RENAME TABLE or CHANGE COLUMN statements to update the identifiers:

-- Rename a table
RENAME TABLE overly_long_table_name TO shorter_table_name;

-- Rename a column
ALTER TABLE table_name CHANGE overly_long_column_name shorter_col_name column_definition;

Replace overly_long_table_name, shorter_table_name, table_name, overly_long_column_name, shorter_col_name, and column_definition with the actual names and column definitions.

Adjust Index Names

When defining indexes, ensure the name is within the character limit. If you need to rename an index, you’ll have to drop the old one and create a new one:

-- Drop the old index
ALTER TABLE table_name DROP INDEX long_index_name;

-- Create a new index with a shorter name
ALTER TABLE table_name ADD INDEX short_idx (column_name);

Replace table_name, long_index_name, short_idx, and column_name with the actual table and column names.

Use Appropriate Aliases

When writing queries, choose aliases that are short and concise:

-- Using a long alias will cause Error 1059
SELECT column_name AS alias_name_that_is_definitely_too_long_for_good_practice FROM table_name;

-- Use a shorter alias to resolve the error
SELECT column_name AS short_alias FROM table_name;


Resolving MySQL Error 1059 requires revisiting the identifiers that have exceeded the 64-character limit and shortening them to comply with MySQL’s restrictions. By systematically reviewing and renaming tables, columns, indexes, and aliases, you can eliminate this error and ensure your database schema adheres to best practices for naming conventions. Remember, shorter, descriptive names not only prevent errors but also enhance the readability and maintainability of your database structures.

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