Models are fancy constructors compiled from Schema definitions. An instance of a model is called a document. Models are responsible for creating and reading documents from the underlying MongoDB database.

Compiling your first model

When you call mongoose.model() on a schema, Mongoose compiles a model for you.

const schema = new mongoose.Schema({ name: String, size: String });
const Tank = mongoose.model('Tank', schema);

The first argument is the singular name of the collection your model is for. Mongoose automatically looks for the plural, lowercased version of your model name. Thus, for the example above, the model Tank is for the tanks collection in the database.

Note: The .model() function makes a copy of schema. Make sure that you've added everything you want to schema, including hooks, before calling .model()!

Constructing Documents

An instance of a model is called a document. Creating them and saving to the database is easy.

const Tank = mongoose.model('Tank', yourSchema);

const small = new Tank({ size: 'small' });

// or

await Tank.create({ size: 'small' });

// or, for inserting large batches of documents
await Tank.insertMany([{ size: 'small' }]);

Note that no tanks will be created/removed until the connection your model uses is open. Every model has an associated connection. When you use mongoose.model(), your model will use the default mongoose connection.

await mongoose.connect('mongodb://');

If you create a custom connection, use that connection's model() function instead.

const connection = mongoose.createConnection('mongodb://');
const Tank = connection.model('Tank', yourSchema);


Finding documents is easy with Mongoose, which supports the rich query syntax of MongoDB. Documents can be retrieved using a model's find, findById, findOne, or where static functions.

await Tank.find({ size: 'small' }).where('createdDate').gt(oneYearAgo).exec();

See the chapter on queries for more details on how to use the Query api.


Models have static deleteOne() and deleteMany() functions for removing all documents matching the given filter.

await Tank.deleteOne({ size: 'large' });


Each model has its own update method for modifying documents in the database without returning them to your application. See the API docs for more detail.

// Updated at most one doc, `res.nModified` contains the number
// of docs that MongoDB updated
await Tank.updateOne({ size: 'large' }, { name: 'T-90' });

If you want to update a single document in the db and return it to your application, use findOneAndUpdate instead.

Change Streams

Change streams provide a way for you to listen to all inserts and updates going through your MongoDB database. Note that change streams do not work unless you're connected to a MongoDB replica set.

async function run() {
  // Create a new mongoose model
  const personSchema = new mongoose.Schema({
    name: String
  const Person = mongoose.model('Person', personSchema);

  // Create a change stream. The 'change' event gets emitted when there's a
  // change in the database
    on('change', data => console.log(new Date(), data));

  // Insert a doc, will trigger the change stream handler above
  console.log(new Date(), 'Inserting doc');
  await Person.create({ name: 'Axl Rose' });

The output from the above async function will look like what you see below.

2018-05-11T15:05:35.467Z 'Inserting doc'
2018-05-11T15:05:35.487Z 'Inserted doc'
2018-05-11T15:05:35.491Z { _id: { _data: ... },
  operationType: 'insert',
  fullDocument: { _id: 5af5b13fe526027666c6bf83, name: 'Axl Rose', __v: 0 },
  ns: { db: 'test', coll: 'Person' },
  documentKey: { _id: 5af5b13fe526027666c6bf83 } }

You can read more about change streams in mongoose in this blog post.


MongoDB Views are essentially read-only collections that contain data computed from other collections using aggregations. In Mongoose, you should define a separate Model for each of your Views. You can also create a View using createCollection().

The following example shows how you can create a new RedactedUser View on a User Model that hides potentially sensitive information, like name and email.

// Make sure to disable `autoCreate` and `autoIndex` for Views,
// because you want to create the collection manually.
const userSchema = new Schema({
  name: String,
  email: String,
  roles: [String]
}, { autoCreate: false, autoIndex: false });
const User = mongoose.model('User', userSchema);

const RedactedUser = mongoose.model('RedactedUser', userSchema);

// First, create the User model's underlying collection...
await User.createCollection();
// Then create the `RedactedUser` model's underlying collection
// as a View.
await RedactedUser.createCollection({
  viewOn: 'users', // Set `viewOn` to the collection name, **not** model name.
  pipeline: [
      $set: {
        name: { $concat: [{ $substr: ['$name', 0, 3] }, '...'] },
        email: { $concat: [{ $substr: ['$email', 0, 3] }, '...'] }

await User.create([
  { name: 'John Smith', email: '', roles: ['user'] },
  { name: 'Bill James', email: '', roles: ['user', 'admin'] }

// [{ _id: ..., name: 'Bil...', email: 'bil...', roles: ['user', 'admin'] }]
console.log(await RedactedUser.find({ roles: 'admin' }));

Note that Mongoose does not currently enforce that Views are read-only. If you attempt to save() a document from a View, you will get an error from the MongoDB server.

Yet more

The API docs cover many additional methods available like count, mapReduce, aggregate, and more.

Next Up

Now that we've covered Models, let's take a look at Documents.