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$out (aggregation)

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  • Definition
  • Syntax
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$out

Takes the documents returned by the aggregation pipeline and writes them to a specified collection. Starting in MongoDB 4.4, you can specify the output database.

The $out stage must be the last stage in the pipeline. The $out operator lets the aggregation framework return result sets of any size.

Warning

If the collection specified by the $out operation already exists, then the $out stage atomically replaces the existing collection with the new results collection upon completion of the aggregation. See Replace Existing Collection for details.

The $out stage has the following syntax:

  • $out can take a string to specify only the output collection (i.e. output to a collection in the same database):

    { $out: "<output-collection>" } // Output collection is in the same database
  • Starting in MongoDB 4.4, $out can take a document to specify the output database as well as the output collection:

    { $out: { db: "<output-db>", coll: "<output-collection>" } }
  • Starting in MongoDB 7.0.3 and 7.1, $out can take a document to output to a time series collection:

    { $out:
    { db: "<output-db>", coll: "<output-collection>",
    timeseries: {
    timeField: "<field-name>",
    metaField: "<field-name>",
    granularity: "seconds" || "minutes" || "hours" ,
    }
    }
    }

    Important

    Changing Time Series Granularity

    After creating a time series collection, you can modify its granularity using the collMod method. However, you can only increase the timespan covered by each bucket. You cannot decrease it.

    Field
    Description
    db

    The output database name.

    • For a replica set or a standalone, if the output database does not exist, $out also creates the database.

    • For a sharded cluster, the specified output database must already exist.

    coll

    The output collection name.

    timeseries

    A document that specifies the configuration to use when writing to a time series collection. The timeField is required. All other fields are optional.

    timeField

    Required when writing to a time series collection. .. include:: /includes/time-series/fact-time-field-description.rst

    metaField

    Optional. The name of the field which contains metadata in each time series document. The metadata in the specified field should be data that is used to label a unique series of documents. The metadata should rarely, if ever, change.

    The name of the specified field may not be _id or the same as the timeseries.timeField. The field can be of any type.

    granularity

    Optional. Do not use if setting bucketRoundingSeconds and bucketMaxSpanSeconds.

    Possible values are seconds (default), minutes, and hours.

    Set granularity to the value that most closely matches the time between consecutive incoming timestamps. This improves performance by optimizing how MongoDB stores data in the collection.

    For more information on granularity and bucket intervals, see Set Granularity for Time Series Data.

    bucketMaxSpanSeconds

    Optional. Use with bucketRoundingSeconds as an alternative to granularity. Sets the maximum time between timestamps in the same bucket.

    Possible values are 1-31536000.

    New in version 6.3.

    bucketRoundingSeconds

    Optional. Use with bucketMaxSpanSeconds as an alternative to granularity. Must be equal to bucketMaxSpanSeconds.

    When a document requires a new bucket, MongoDB rounds down the document's timestamp value by this interval to set the minimum time for the bucket.

    New in version 6.3.

Important

  • You cannot specify a sharded collection as the output collection. The input collection for a pipeline can be sharded. To output to a sharded collection, see $merge.

  • The $out operator cannot write results to a capped collection.

  • If you modify a collection with an Atlas Search index, you must first delete and then re-create the search index. Consider using $merge instead.

MongoDB provides two stages, $merge and $out, for writing the results of the aggregation pipeline to a collection. The following summarizes the capabilities of the two stages:

$out
  • Can output to a collection in the same or, starting in MongoDB 4.4, different database.

  • Can output to a collection in the same or different database.

  • Creates a new collection if the output collection does not already exist.

  • Creates a new collection if the output collection does not already exist.

  • Replaces the output collection completely if it already exists.

  • Can incorporate results (insert new documents, merge documents, replace documents, keep existing documents, fail the operation, process documents with a custom update pipeline) into an existing collection.

    Can replace the content of the collection but only if the aggregation results contain a match for all existing documents in the collection.

  • Cannot output to a sharded collection. Input collection, however, can be sharded.

  • Can output to a sharded collection. Input collection can also be sharded.

  • Starting in MongoDB 7.0.3 and 7.1, can output to a time series collection.

  • Cannot output to a time series collection.

  • Corresponds to the SQL statements:

    • INSERT INTO T2 SELECT * FROM T1
    • SELECT * INTO T2 FROM T1
  • Corresponds to the SQL statement:

    • MERGE T2 AS TARGET
      USING (SELECT * FROM T1) AS SOURCE
      ON MATCH (T2.ID = SOURCE.ID)
      WHEN MATCHED THEN
      UPDATE SET TARGET.FIELDX = SOURCE.FIELDY
      WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
      INSERT (FIELDX)
      VALUES (SOURCE.FIELDY)
    • Create/Refresh Materialized Views

Starting in MongoDB 5.0, $out can run on replica set secondary nodes if all the nodes in cluster have featureCompatibilityVersion set to 5.0 or higher and the Read Preference is set to secondary.

Read operations of the $out statement occur on the secondary nodes, while the write operations occur only on the primary nodes.

Not all driver versions support targeting of $out operations to replica set secondary nodes. Check your driver documentation to see when your driver added support for $out running on a secondary.

The $out operation creates a new collection if one does not already exist.

The collection is not visible until the aggregation completes. If the aggregation fails, MongoDB does not create the collection.

If the collection specified by the $out operation already exists, then upon completion of the aggregation, the $out stage atomically replaces the existing collection with the new results collection. Specifically, the $out operation:

  1. Creates a temp collection.

  2. Copies the indexes from the existing collection to the temp collection.

  3. Inserts the documents into the temp collection.

  4. Calls the renameCollection command with dropTarget: true to rename the temp collection to the destination collection.

If specified collection exists and the $out operation specifies timeseries options, then the following restrictions apply:

  1. The existing collection must be a time series collection.

  2. The existing collection must not be a view.

  3. The timeseries options included in the $out stage must exactly match those on the existing collection.

The $out operation does not change any indexes that existed on the previous collection. If the aggregation fails, the $out operation makes no changes to the pre-existing collection.

The pipeline will fail to complete if the documents produced by the pipeline would violate any unique indexes, including the index on the _id field of the original output collection.

If the $out operation modifies a collection with an Atlas Search index, you must delete and re-create the search index. Consider using $merge instead.

Starting in MongoDB 4.2, you can specify read concern level "majority" for an aggregation that includes an $out stage.

A mongodump started with --oplog fails if a client issues an aggregation pipeline that includes $out during the dump process. See mongodump --oplog for more information.

Restrictions
Description
An aggregation pipeline cannot use $out inside transactions.
In MongoDB versions prior to 7.0.3, an aggregation pipeline cannot use $out to output to a time series collection.
The $out stage is not allowed as part of a view definition. If the view definition includes nested pipeline (e.g. the view definition includes $lookup or $facet stage), this $out stage restriction applies to the nested pipelines as well.
$lookup stage
You can't include the $out stage in the $lookup stage's nested pipeline.
$facet stage
$facet stage's nested pipeline cannot include the $out stage.
$unionWith stage's nested pipeline cannot include the $out stage.
"linearizable" read concern

Starting in MongoDB 4.2, the $out stage cannot be used in conjunction with read concern "linearizable". That is, if you specify "linearizable" read concern for db.collection.aggregate(), you cannot include the $out stage in the pipeline.

In the test database, create a collection books with the following documents:

db.getSiblingDB("test").books.insertMany([
{ "_id" : 8751, "title" : "The Banquet", "author" : "Dante", "copies" : 2 },
{ "_id" : 8752, "title" : "Divine Comedy", "author" : "Dante", "copies" : 1 },
{ "_id" : 8645, "title" : "Eclogues", "author" : "Dante", "copies" : 2 },
{ "_id" : 7000, "title" : "The Odyssey", "author" : "Homer", "copies" : 10 },
{ "_id" : 7020, "title" : "Iliad", "author" : "Homer", "copies" : 10 }
])

If the test database does not already exist, the insert operation creates the database as well as the books collection.

The following aggregation operation pivots the data in the books collection in the test database to have titles grouped by authors and then writes the results to the authors collection, also in the test database.

db.getSiblingDB("test").books.aggregate( [
{ $group : { _id : "$author", books: { $push: "$title" } } },
{ $out : "authors" }
] )
First Stage ($group):

The $group stage groups by the authors and uses $push to add the titles to a books array field:

{ "_id" : "Dante", "books" : [ "The Banquet", "Divine Comedy", "Eclogues" ] }
{ "_id" : "Homer", "books" : [ "The Odyssey", "Iliad" ] }
Second Stage ($out):
The $out stage outputs the documents to the authors collection in the test database.

To view the documents in the output collection, run the following operation:

db.getSiblingDB("test").authors.find()

The collection contains the following documents:

{ "_id" : "Homer", "books" : [ "The Odyssey", "Iliad" ] }
{ "_id" : "Dante", "books" : [ "The Banquet", "Divine Comedy", "Eclogues" ] }

Note

For a replica set or a standalone, if the output database does not exist, $out also creates the database.

For a sharded cluster, the specified output database must already exist.

Starting in MongoDB 4.4, $out can output to a collection in a database different from where the aggregation is run.

The following aggregation operation pivots the data in the books collection to have titles grouped by authors and then writes the results to the authors collection in the reporting database:

db.getSiblingDB("test").books.aggregate( [
{ $group : { _id : "$author", books: { $push: "$title" } } },
{ $out : { db: "reporting", coll: "authors" } }
] )
First Stage ($group):

The $group stage groups by the authors and uses $push to add the titles to a books array field:

{ "_id" : "Dante", "books" : [ "The Banquet", "Divine Comedy", "Eclogues" ] }
{ "_id" : "Homer", "books" : [ "The Odyssey", "Iliad" ] }
Second Stage ($out):
The $out stage outputs the documents to the authors collection in the reporting database.

To view the documents in the output collection, run the following operation:

db.getSiblingDB("reporting").authors.find()

The collection contains the following documents:

{ "_id" : "Homer", "books" : [ "The Odyssey", "Iliad" ] }
{ "_id" : "Dante", "books" : [ "The Banquet", "Divine Comedy", "Eclogues" ] }
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