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Specify Which Fields to Return

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  • Overview
  • Sample Documents
  • Single Field
  • Multiple Fields

Use a projection to control which fields appear in the documents returned by read operations. Many requests only require certain fields, so projections can help you limit unnecessary network bandwidth usage. Projections work in two ways:

  • Explicitly include fields with a value of 1. This has the side-effect of implicitly excluding all unspecified fields.

  • Implicitly exclude fields with a value of 0. This has the side-effect of implicitly including all unspecified fields.

These two methods of projection are mutually exclusive: if you explicitly include fields, you cannot explicitly exclude fields, and vice versa.

To follow the examples in this guide, use the following code snippet to insert documents that describe fruits into the myDB.fruits collection:

const myDB = client.db("myDB");
const myColl = myDB.collection("fruits");
await myColl.insertMany([
{ "_id": 1, "name": "apples", "qty": 5, "rating": 3 },
{ "_id": 2, "name": "bananas", "qty": 7, "rating": 1 },
{ "_id": 3, "name": "oranges", "qty": 6, "rating": 2 },
{ "_id": 4, "name": "avocados", "qty": 3, "rating": 5 },
]);

Note

Your query operation may return a reference to a cursor that contains matching documents. To learn how to examine data stored in the cursor, see the Cursor Fundamentals page.

In the following query, pass the projection to only return the name field of each document:

// return only* the name field
const projection = { name: 1 };
const cursor = myColl.find().project(projection);
for await (const doc of cursor) {
console.dir(doc);
}

The projection document specifies a value of 1 for name. This instructs the operation to include the name field of each returned document in the results and exclude the qty and rating fields. Passing this projection to find() with an empty query document and no sort document yields the following results:

{ "_id": 1, "name": "apples" }
{ "_id": 2, "name": "bananas" }
{ "_id": 3, "name": "oranges" }
{ "_id": 4, "name": "avocados" }

Although this projection only explicitly included the name field, the query returned the _id field as well.

The _id field is a special case because it is always included in every query unless explicitly specified otherwise. This is because _id is a unique identifier for each document, a property that is often used when constructing queries. The movies collection data demonstrates why this property is necessary: two or more movies can share the same title, such as movie remakes. Because of this, you need a unique _id value to reliably reference a specific movie. _id is the only exception to the mutually exclusive include-exclude behavior in projections: you can explicitly exclude _id even when explicitly including other fields if you do not want _id to be present in returned documents.

// return only the name field
const projection = { _id: 0, name: 1 };
const cursor = myColl.find().project(projection);
for await (const doc of cursor) {
console.dir(doc);
}

The projection document specifies a value of 1 for name and 0 for _id. This instructs the operation to include the name field of each returned document in the results and exclude the _id, qty, and rating fields. Passing this projection to find() with an empty query document and no sort document yields the following results:

{ "name": "apples" }
{ "name": "bananas" }
{ "name": "oranges" }
{ "name": "avocados" }

You can also specify multiple fields to include in your projection. Note: the order in which you specify the fields in the projection does not alter the order in which they are returned.

const projection = { _id: 0, rating: 1, name: 1 };
const cursor = myColl.find().project(projection);
for await (const doc of cursor) {
console.dir(doc);
}

This example that identifies two fields to include in the projection yields the following results:

{ "name": "apples", "rating": 3 }
{ "name": "bananas", "rating": 1 }
{ "name": "oranges", "rating": 2 }
{ "name": "avocados", "rating": 5 }

For more projection examples, see the MongoDB Manual page on Project Fields to Return from Query.

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