Docs Menu

Docs HomeView & Analyze DataMongoDB Shell

Differences Between require() and load()

On this page

  • Types of Scripts in mongosh
  • Availability of require() and load()
  • File Paths for require() and load()
  • require() Packaging Considerations
  • Access to the mongosh API

The require() and load() methods include files and modules in your scripts for added functionality. However, require() and load() differ in their behaviors and availability.

You can use the following types of scripts with mongosh:

  • mongosh scripts, which can be any of the following:

    • Code entered directly into the REPL.

    • The mongoshrc.js file.

    • Code loaded with the load() method.

  • Node.js scripts, which are any scripts loaded with require(), including npm packages. These scripts are always files.

The require() and load() methods differ in availability depending on the type of script you are using.

  • In mongosh scripts, both require() and load() are available.

  • In Node.js scripts, only require() is available.

The type of script determines how you specify file paths with require() or load().

  • In mongosh scripts:

    • require() uses the standard Node.js module resolution algorithm, starting from the current working directory of the shell.

    • load() takes either:

      • An absolute path, or

      • A relative path. When using a relative path, the path is always interpreted as relative to the current working directory of the shell.

  • In Node.js scripts, require() uses the standard Node.js module resolution algorithm, starting from the file where require() was called.


To return the current working directory of the shell, run the pwd() method from your script.

To change the shell's working directory, use the cd() method in your script.

You can load external code in a mongosh script file, such as an npm package or a separate mongosh script.

  • To load a mongosh script from another mongosh script, use the __dirname environment variable. The __dirname environment variable returns the absolute path of the directory containing the file being executed.


    To load a mongosh script named test-suite.js from another mongosh script, add the following line to your script:

    load(__dirname + '/test-suite.js')

    Using the _dirname variable to specify an absolute path ensures that the separate script you are loading is not affected by external factors such as where mongosh started.

  • To load a Node.js script from a mongosh script, use the require() method.


    To load the date-fns module from a mongosh script called test-suite2.js, add the following lines to your script:

    const localRequire = require('date-fns').createRequire(__filename);
    const fileExports = localRequire('./test-suite2.js'); }

There are two packaging standards for Node.js modules.

Packaging Standard
Works with require()
CommonJS (CJS)
ECMAScript Module (ES Module)

You cannot require() an ES module in mongosh. If you want to use functionality from an ES module, check to see if there is a CommonJS version that you can use instead. For more information, see:

  • mongosh scripts can use the mongosh API.

  • Node.js scripts do not have access to the mongosh API.

For example, the db global variable (used to display the current database) is available inside of mongosh scripts. It is not available inside of Node.js scripts.


mongosh scripts and Node.js scripts run in different contexts. They may exhibit different behaviors when the same command is run in each type of script, such as returning different data types. Therefore, you may observe unexpected results if you run mongosh code inside of a Node.js script.

Generally, you should not keep mongosh-specific code inside Node.js scripts.

← Include External Files and Modules in Scripts