Inserting and updating

See also:


Records can be inserted to a collection with insert

collection.insert(docs[[, options], callback])


  • docs is a single document object or an array of documents
  • options is an options object.
  • callback - callback function to run after the record is inserted.

For example

var document = {name:"David", title:"About MongoDB"};
collection.insert(document, {w: 1}, function(err, records){
  console.log("Record added as "+records[0]._id);

If trying to insert a record with an existing _id value, then the operation yields in error.

collection.insert({_id:1}, {w:1}, function(err, doc){
  // no error, inserted new document, with _id=1
  collection.insert({_id:1}, {w:1}, function(err, doc){
    // error occured since _id=1 already existed


Shorthand for insert/update is save - if _id value set, the record is updated if it exists or inserted if it does not; if the _id value is not set, then the record is inserted as a new one.{_id:"abc", user:"David"},{w:1}, callback)

callback gets two parameters - an error object (if an error occured) and the record if it was inserted or 1 if the record was updated.


Updates can be done with update

collection.update(criteria, update[[, options], callback]);


  • criteria is a query object to find records that need to be updated (see Queries)
  • update is the replacement object
  • options is an options object (see below)
  • callback is the callback to be run after the records are updated. Has three parameters, the first is an error object (if error occured), the second is the count of records that were modified, the third is an object with the status of the operation.

Update options

There are several option values that can be used with an update

  • multi - update all records that match the query object, default is false (only the first one found is updated)
  • upsert - if true and no records match the query, insert update as a new record
  • raw - driver returns updated document as bson binary Buffer, default:false

Replacement object

If the replacement object is a document, the matching documents will be replaced (except the _id values if no _id is set).

collection.update({_id:"123"}, {author:"Jessica", title:"Mongo facts"});

The example above will replace the document contents of id=123 with the replacement object.

To update only selected fields, $set operator needs to be used. Following replacement object replaces author value but leaves everything else intact.

collection.update({_id:"123"}, {$set: {author:"Jessica"}});

See MongoDB documentation for all possible operators.

Find and Modify

To update and retrieve the contents for one single record you can use findAndModify.

collection.findAndModify(criteria[, sort[, update[, options]]], callback)


  • criteria is the query object to find the record
  • sort indicates the order of the matches if there’s more than one matching record. The first record on the result set will be used. See Queries->find->options->sort for the format.
  • update is the replacement object
  • options define the behavior of the function
  • callback is the function to run after the update is done. Has two parameters - error object (if error occured) and the record that was updated.


Options object can be used for the following options:

  • remove - if set to true (default is false), removes the record from the collection. Callback function still gets the object but it doesn’t exist in the collection any more.
  • new - if set to true, callback function returns the modified record. Default is false (original record is returned)
  • upsert - if set to true and no record matched to the query, replacement object is inserted as a new record


var MongoClient = require('mongodb').MongoClient
  , format = require('util').format;

MongoClient.connect('mongodb://', function(err, db) {
if(err) throw err;

  {hello: 'world'}, // query
  [['_id','asc']],  // sort order
  {$set: {hi: 'there'}}, // replacement, replaces only the field "hi"
  {}, // options
  function(err, object) {
      if (err){
          console.warn(err.message);  // returns error if no matching object found



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