How to edit values of SET data type

How to edit values of SET data type

You have a table with a column of SET data type:

…and you want to edit the value in `animal` field. One approach is to read old value, edit and save new value; but this solution is very common and a bit difficult.


Another appoach is to use capabilityies of the SET data type – to use it as is. Internally the SET data type is a 8 byte integer, where each bit specifies a value.


SET(\’dog\’ – 1st bit, \’cat\’ – 2nd bit, \’snake\’ – 3rd bit, \’pig\’ – 4th bit). So, the value \’dog,cat,snake,pig\’ equals to 1+2+4+8=15, or \’1111\’ in binary form.


This query shows `animal` field values and their decimal and binary forms –


To edit SET values we can apply bitwise operations. Here is an example:


1. If you want to add \’cat\’ value to \’dog,snake\’, use bitwise OR operation: 5 OR 2 => 7.


2. Vice versa: if you want to remove \’cat\’ from the value \’dog,cat,snake\’, use bitwise AND operation for inverse value of \’cat\’: 7 AND ~2 => 5


In addition, to remove value by its string name, use FIND_IN_SET function which is optimized to use bit arithmetic for column of type SET.

How do we write a query that removes the \’snake\’ value? Here is an example:


…FIND_IN_SET function returns number of bit, for \’snake\’ it is 3, we just convert it to the real value – \’100\’ in binary form or 4 in decimal.

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