Extracts a range of characters from a string.


SUBSTRING(str, start, len)
SUBSTR(str, start, len)


  • str: any string or binary object

  • start: the one-indexed position to start at. If negative, counts from the end.

  • len: the number of characters to extract

Return Type



  • In SUBSTR or SUBSTRING, the starting index point of a string is 1 (not 0).


In the following example, the starting index 3 represents the third character in the string, because the index starts from 1.

SELECT SUBSTRING('1234567890', 3, 3);
| SUBSTRING('1234567890', 3, 3) |
| 345                           |

In the following example, the substring is returned from the end, because the starting index is a negative number.

SELECT SUBSTRING('1234567890', -3, 3);
| SUBSTRING('1234567890', -3, 3) |
| 890                            |


When character_server is set to utf8, string literals with characters using 4-byte encoding are implicitly assigned binary collation and processed as a sequence of bytes rather than characters. This implicit conversion to binary collation causes string functions to return unexpected results. To avoid using implicit binary collation, either use explicit type casting or use database columns defined with the utf8mb4 character set. For more information, refer to Implicit Collation in Special Cases.