MongoDB - Auto-Increment Sequence


MongoDB does not have out-of-the-box auto-increment functionality like SQL databases. By default, it uses the 12-byte ObjectId for the _id field as primary key to uniquely identify the documents. However, there may be scenarios where we may want the _id field to have some auto-incremented value other than the ObjectId.

Since this is not a default feature in MongoDB, we will programmatically achieve this functionality by using a counters collection as suggested by the MongoDB documentation.

Using counter Collection

Consider the following products document. We want the _id field to be an auto-incremented integer sequence starting from 1,2,3,4 upto n.

  "product_name": "Apple iPhone",
  "category": "mobiles"

For this, create a counters collection which will keep track of the last sequence value for all the sequence fields.


Now, we will insert the following document in the counters collection with productid as its key:

  "sequence_value": 0

The field sequence_value keeps track of the last value of the sequence.

Use the following code to insert this sequence document in the counters collection:


Creating Javascript Function

Now, we will create a function getNextSequenceValue which will take the sequence name as its input, increment the sequence number by 1 and return the updated sequence number. In our case, the sequence name is productid.

>function getNextSequenceValue(sequenceName){
   var sequenceDocument = db.counters.findAndModify(
         query:{_id: sequenceName },
         update: {$inc:{sequence_value:1}},
   return sequenceDocument.sequence_value;

Using the Javascript Function:

We will now use the function getNextSequenceValue while creating a new document and assigning the returned sequence value as document's _id field.

Insert two sample documents using the following code:

   "product_name":"Apple iPhone",

   "product_name":"Samsung S3",

As you can see, we have used the getNextSequenceValue function to set value for the _id field.

To verify the functionality, let us fetch the documents using find command:


The above query returned the following documents having the auto-incremented _id field:

{ "_id" : 1, "product_name" : "Apple iPhone", "category" : "mobiles"}

{ "_id" : 2, "product_name" : "Samsung S3", "category" : "mobiles" }