I've installed MySQL 5.7.10 on my Mac using Homebrew. My Mac is running OSX 10.11.3.

When I'm running the MySQL command line client, I cannot tab-complete keywords, table or column names.

How do I get it to tab-complete?

joenyland@Joes-MBP ~ $ mysql --auto-rehash
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 10
Server version: 5.7.10 Homebrew

Copyright (c) 2000, 2015, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its
affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


Here's the output from otool:

joenyland@Joes-MBP ~ $ otool -L /usr/local/bin/mysql
    /usr/lib/libedit.3.dylib (compatibility version 2.0.0, current version 3.0.0)
    /usr/local/opt/openssl/lib/libssl.1.0.0.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.0.0)
    /usr/local/opt/openssl/lib/libcrypto.1.0.0.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.0.0)
    /usr/lib/libc++.1.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 120.1.0)
    /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1226.10.1)
  • Maybe this would have been better suited on superuser.com 😕 – JoeNyland Mar 16 '16 at 22:36
  • Probably, but half of the content here is similar. – Thomas Dickey Mar 17 '16 at 22:06
  • You might first use database before you try to auto-complete tables or column names. – Otheus Mar 17 '16 at 22:26
  • 1
    @Otheus Oh my! That's it! Once I use a database, I can tab-complete everything - DBs, columns, tables, etc. However before that, pressing tab does not do anything. Want to add an answer? – JoeNyland Mar 17 '16 at 22:31

Tab completion for tables and columns works only when you are connected or using a database that has such tables. When you run mysql and connect to a sever, unless you have specified on the command line (or via cnf files) the database to connect to, you can see only the mysql system tables. Simply execute use mydatabase; to allow all the tables in mydatabase to work with tab-completion. Or connect to the database directly on the command line with

mysql mydatabase

If your mysql client is built with readline, you can do this using the auto-rehash feature. These are possible solutions:

  • command-line option --auto-rehash
  • command (in mysql), type rehash
  • configuration file called .my.cnf in your home directory, containing:

    [mysql] auto-rehash

Further reading:

The OSX libedit library is more or less the same as readline (some interface differences with the same functionality). MySQL could be built with either. For example, these mention it:

  • I still don't get tab-completion with the --auto-rehash option. How do I know if I'm using readline? I've installed from Homebrew, if that helps... – JoeNyland Mar 17 '16 at 11:55
  • In OSX, otool can show which shared libraries a program is linked with. – Thomas Dickey Mar 17 '16 at 21:56
  • I've just updated the question with the output form otool -L. Does this help? It means nothing to me, except suggest that I'm not using readline. – JoeNyland Mar 17 '16 at 22:06

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