Sai A Sai A
Updated date Aug 14, 2023
In this blog, we will discover ways to efficaciously convert TEXT to VARCHAR in MySQL databases using diverse strategies. This blog provides step-through-step causes and real-international layout examples for each approach, in addition to compatibility. Explore the advantages of ALTER TABLE, create a new table, use transient scripts, and use saved approaches.
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Efficient data storage and retrieval are fundamental aspects of database management. When managing substantial textual data, utilizing the TEXT data type is common. However, conditions may additionally get up wherein changing TEXT to VARCHAR in MySQL will become critical. This blog provides various methods to achieve this conversion.

Method 1: Using ALTER TABLE

The simplest way to convert TEXT to VARCHAR involves the ALTER TABLE statement. This method directly modifies the data type of the targeted column.

-- Alter the data type of the 'description' column from TEXT to VARCHAR
ALTER TABLE products
MODIFY COLUMN description VARCHAR(255);

 ALTER TABLE is employed to modify the structure of an existing table. The MODIFY COLUMN clause, in this case, adjusts the 'description' column's data type to VARCHAR with a maximum length of 255 characters.


Upon executing the SQL statement, the 'description' column's data type is transformed to VARCHAR, enhancing storage efficiency.

Method 2: Creating a New Table

Creating a new table and migrating data is an alternate approach for converting TEXT to VARCHAR, providing more control and potential for data transformation.

-- Create a new table with VARCHAR column
CREATE TABLE products_new (
    description VARCHAR(255)

-- Migrate data from the old table to the new table
INSERT INTO products_new (id, description)
SELECT id, description
FROM products;

This method involves crafting a new table 'products_new' with a VARCHAR column 'description'. The INSERT INTO...SELECT statement copies data from the old 'products' table to the new one.


Executing the script results in a new table, 'products_new', with the desired VARCHAR data type for the 'description' column. Data is replicated from the original table.

Method 3: Utilizing Temporary Columns

Adding a temporary VARCHAR column, copying data, and subsequently dropping the original column presents another viable method.

-- Add a temporary VARCHAR column
ALTER TABLE products
ADD COLUMN temp_description VARCHAR(255);

-- Copy data from the old column to the temporary column
UPDATE products
SET temp_description = description;

-- Drop the old TEXT column
ALTER TABLE products
DROP COLUMN description;

-- Rename the temporary column to the original column name
ALTER TABLE products
CHANGE COLUMN temp_description description VARCHAR(255);

This approach begins by appending a temporary column, 'temp_description', with the VARCHAR data type. Data is then transferred from the original 'description' column using an UPDATE statement. Subsequently, the original TEXT column is removed, and the temporary column is renamed to 'description'.


Upon completion, the 'products' table showcases the 'description' column successfully converted to VARCHAR.

Method 4: Leveraging Stored Procedures

Complex conversions involving multiple columns benefit from a stored procedure. This approach streamlines the process and offers reusability.


CREATE PROCEDURE ConvertTextToVarchar()
    -- Convert TEXT columns to VARCHAR logic
    -- Example:
    ALTER TABLE products
    MODIFY COLUMN description VARCHAR(255);

    -- Repeat for other columns if needed

END //


-- Invoke the stored procedure to initiate the conversion
CALL ConvertTextToVarchar();

 A stored procedure 'ConvertTextToVarchar' is established to encapsulate the conversion logic. It can be customized to manage diverse scenarios. Invoking the procedure triggers the conversion process.


Executing this method produces results akin to Method 1, while the encapsulated logic facilitates reuse and management of complex conversions.


In this blog, we've explored the different techniques for converting TEXT to VARCHAR in MySQL. With clear explanations, examples, and accompanying outputs, you're now equipped to confidently navigate these conversion scenarios. 

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