What Is Signed Data Type in MySQL?


Larry Thompson

MySQL is a popular relational database management system that is widely used for storing and retrieving data. One of the key features of MySQL is its support for various data types, including signed data types. In this article, we will explore what signed data types are and how they can be used in MySQL.

What are Signed Data Types?

Signed data types in MySQL are used to store numeric values that can represent both positive and negative numbers. These data types allow you to store a wide range of numeric values, from small integers to large floating-point numbers.

Why Use Signed Data Types?

Signed data types are useful when you need to represent values that can be both positive and negative. For example, if you are working with financial data, you may need to store values such as account balances, which can be positive or negative depending on whether the account is in credit or debit.

By using signed data types, you can ensure that your database can handle a wide range of numeric values and accurately represent them in your application.

Types of Signed Data Types

MySQL provides several signed data types that you can use based on your specific needs:

  • TINYINT: This type allows you to store small integers ranging from -128 to 127.
  • SMALLINT: With this type, you can store medium-sized integers between -32,768 and 32,767.
  • MEDIUMINT: This type allows you to store integers ranging from -8,388,608 to 8,388,607.
  • INT: The INT type is commonly used for storing large integers between -2,147,483,648 and 2,147,483,647.
  • BIGINT: This type is suitable for storing very large integers ranging from -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807.
  • FLOAT: If you need to store floating-point numbers with a decimal component, you can use the FLOAT type.
  • DOUBLE: Similar to FLOAT but with a higher precision for storing larger floating-point numbers.
  • DECIMAL: This type allows you to store fixed-point decimal numbers with high precision and scale.

Example Usage

Let’s say you have a table named “transactions” that stores financial transactions. You can define a column named “amount” as a DECIMAL data type to store the transaction amount. Using the signed data type ensures that the amount can be positive or negative.

Here’s an example of how you can create the “transactions” table:

CREATE TABLE transactions (
  amount DECIMAL(10,2) NOT NULL,
  description VARCHAR(255)

In this example, the “amount” column is defined as DECIMAL(10,2), which means it can store up to 10 digits with 2 decimal places. The DECIMAL data type allows you to accurately represent monetary values in your database.


Signed data types in MySQL are an essential feature for handling numeric values that can be both positive and negative. By using signed data types appropriately in your database schema design and queries, you can ensure the accuracy and flexibility of your application when dealing with numeric values.

Remember to choose the appropriate signed data type based on the range and precision required for your specific use case. MySQL provides a wide range of signed data types to cater to different needs, from small integers to large floating-point numbers.

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