Docs Menu

Docs HomeMongoDB Manual

Configure the mongo Shell

On this page

  • Customize the Prompt
  • Use an External Editor in the mongo Shell
  • Change the mongo Shell Batch Size


The following document pertains to the mongo shell, included in the MongoDB Server Download. For information on the new MongoDB Shell (mongosh) refer to the mongosh documentation.

To understand the differences between the two shells, see Comparison of the mongo Shell and mongosh.

You may modify the content of the prompt by setting the variable prompt in the mongo shell. The prompt variable can hold strings as well as JavaScript code. If prompt holds a function that returns a string, the mongo shell can display dynamic information in each prompt.

You can add the logic for the prompt in the .mongorc.js file to set the prompt each time you start up the mongo shell.

For example,to create a mongo shell prompt with the number of operations issued in the current session, define the following variables in the mongo shell:

cmdCount = 1;
prompt = function() {
return (cmdCount++) + "> ";

The prompt would then resemble the following:


To create a mongo shell prompt in the form of <database>@<hostname>$, define the following variables:

host = db.serverStatus().host;
prompt = function() {
return db+"@"+host+"$ ";

The prompt would then resemble the following:


To create a mongo shell prompt that contains the system up time and the number of documents in the current database, define the following prompt variable in the mongo shell:

prompt = function() {
return "Uptime:"+db.serverStatus().uptime+" Documents:"+db.stats().objects+" > ";

The prompt would then resemble the following:

Uptime:5897 Documents:6 >

You can use your own editor in the mongo shell by setting the EDITOR environment variable before starting the mongo shell.

export EDITOR=vim

Once in the mongo shell, you can edit with the specified editor by typing edit <variable> or edit <function>, as in the following example:

  1. Define a function myFunction:

    function myFunction () { }
  2. Edit the function using your editor:

    edit myFunction

    The command should open the vim edit session. When finished with the edits, save and exit vim edit session.

  3. In the mongo shell, type myFunction to see the function definition:


    The result should be the changes from your saved edit:

    function myFunction() {
    print("This was edited");


As the mongo shell interprets code edited in an external editor, it may modify code in functions, depending on the JavaScript compiler. For example, the mongo shell may convert 1+1 to 2 or remove comments. The actual changes affect only the appearance of the code and will vary based on the version of JavaScript used but will not affect the semantics of the code.

The db.collection.find() method is the JavaScript method to retrieve documents from a collection. The db.collection.find() method returns a cursor to the results; however, in the mongo shell, if the returned cursor is not assigned to a variable using the var keyword, then the cursor is automatically iterated up to 20 times to print up to the first 20 documents that match the query. The mongo shell will prompt Type it to iterate another 20 times.

You can set the DBQuery.shellBatchSize attribute to change the number of documents from the default value of 20, as in the following example which sets it to 10:

DBQuery.shellBatchSize = 10;
←  Legacy mongo ShellAccess the mongo Shell Help →
Share Feedback
© 2023 MongoDB, Inc.


  • Careers
  • Investor Relations
  • Legal Notices
  • Privacy Notices
  • Security Information
  • Trust Center
© 2023 MongoDB, Inc.