MongoDB insertMany

Summary: in this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the MongoDB insertMany() method to insert multiple documents into a collection.

Introduction to the MongoDB insertMany() method

The insertMany() allows you to insert multiple documents into a collection. Here is the syntax of the insertMany() method:

db.collection.insertMany( [document1, document2, ...], { writeConcern: <document>, ordered: <boolean> } )
Code language: CSS (css)

The insertMany() methods accepts two arguments:

[document1, document2, …]

The first argument is an array of documents that you want to insert into the collection.

Option

The second argument is a document that contains two optional field-and-value pairs:

{ writeConcern: <document>, ordered: <boolean> }
Code language: CSS (css)

The writeConcern specifies the write concern. If you omit it, the insertMany() method will use the default write concern.

The ordered is a boolean value that determines whether MongoDB should perform an ordered or unordered insert.

When the ordered is set to true, the insertMany() method inserts documents in order. This is also the default option.

If the ordered is set to false, MongoDB may reorder the documents before inserts to increase performance. Therefore, you should not depend on the ordering of inserts if the ordered is set to false. You’ll see how the ordered affects the behaviors of the insert in the example section.

The insertMany() method returns a document that contains:

  • The acknowledged key sets to true if operation executed with a write concern or false if the write concern was disabled.
  • An array of _id values of successfully inserted documents.

Collection creation

If the collection doesn’t exist, the insertMany() method will create the collection and insert the documents. And it only creates the collection when the insert operation is successful.

_id field

If you don’t specify the _id field for the document, the MongoDB generates a unique ObjectId value, assigns it to the _id field, and adds the _id field to the document before insert.

If you specify the _id fields for the document, it must be unique within the collection or you’ll get a duplicate key error.

Error handling

The insertMany() throws a BulkWriteError exception in case of an error.

If an error occurs, the ordered insert will stop while the unordered insert will continue to process for the remaining documents in the queue.

MongoDB insertMany() method examples

First, launch mongo shell from the Terminal on macOS and Linux or Command Prompt on Windows and connect to the bookdb database on the local MongoDB server

mongo bookdb

1) Using MongoDB insertMany() method to insert multiple documents without specifying _id fields

The following statement uses the insertMany() method to insert multiple documents without the _id fields:

db.books.insertMany([ { title: "NoSQL Distilled", isbn: "0-4696-7030-4"}, { title: "NoSQL in 7 Days", isbn: "0-4086-6859-8"}, { title: "NoSQL Database", isbn: "0-2504-6932-4"}, ]);
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Output:

{ "acknowledged" : true, "insertedIds" : [ ObjectId("5f31ed7f66f3befba528a80d"), ObjectId("5f31ed7f66f3befba528a80e"), ObjectId("5f31ed7f66f3befba528a80f") ] }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

Because we did not specify the _id fields for the documents, MongoDB added the _id field with unique ObjectId to each document.

To retrieve the inserted documents, you use the find() method like this:

db.books.find().pretty()
Code language: CSS (css)

Output:

{ "_id" : ObjectId("5f31ee6b66f3befba528a810"), "title" : "NoSQL Distilled", "isbn" : "0-4696-7030-4" } { "_id" : ObjectId("5f31ee6b66f3befba528a811"), "title" : "NoSQL in 7 Days", "isbn" : "0-4086-6859-8" } { "_id" : ObjectId("5f31ee6b66f3befba528a812"), "title" : "NoSQL Database", "isbn" : "0-2504-6932-4" }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

2) Using MongoDB insertMany() method to insert multiple documents with _id fields

The following statement uses the insertMany() method to insert multiple documents with the _id fields:

db.books.insertMany([ { _id: 1, title: "SQL Basics", isbn: "0-7925-6962-8"}, { _id: 2, title: "SQL Advanced", isbn: "0-1184-7778-1"} ]);
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Output:

{ "acknowledged" : true, "insertedIds" : [ 1, 2 ] }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

The following statement attempts to insert documents whose _id value already exist:

db.books.insertMany([ { _id: 2, title: "SQL Performance Tuning", isbn: "0-6799-2974-6"}, { _id: 3, title: "SQL Index", isbn: "0-5097-1723-3"} ]);
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Since the _id: 2 already exists, MongoDB threw the following exception:

BulkWriteError({ "writeErrors":[ { "index":0, "code":11000, "errmsg":"E11000 duplicate key error collection: bookstore.books index: _id_ dup key: { _id: 2.0 }", "op":{ "_id":2, "title":"SQL Performance Tuning", "isbn":"0-6799-2974-6" } } ], "writeConcernErrors":[], "nInserted":0, "nUpserted":0, "nMatched":0, "nModified":0, "nRemoved":0, "upserted":[] }) )
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

3) Unordered insert example

The following example uses the insertMany() method to perform an unordered insert:

db.books.insertMany( [{ _id: 3, title: "SQL Performance Tuning", isbn: "0-6799-2974-6"}, { _id: 3, title: "SQL Trees", isbn: "0-6998-1556-8"}, { _id: 4, title: "SQL Graph", isbn: "0-6426-4996-0"}, { _id: 5, title: "NoSQL Pros", isbn: "0-9602-9886-X"}], { ordered: false } );
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

In this example, the _id: 3 is duplicate, MongoDB threw an error.

Since this example used the unordered insert, the operation continued to insert the documents with _id 4 and 5 into the books collection.

The following statement retrieves the inserted documents:

db.books.find().pretty()
Code language: CSS (css)

Output:

{ "_id" : ObjectId("5f31f4700b00e828a48a7160"), "title" : "NoSQL Distilled", "isbn" : "0-4696-7030-4" } { "_id" : ObjectId("5f31f4700b00e828a48a7161"), "title" : "NoSQL in 7 Days", "isbn" : "0-4086-6859-8" } { "_id" : ObjectId("5f31f4700b00e828a48a7162"), "title" : "NoSQL Database", "isbn" : "0-2504-6932-4" } { "_id" : 1, "title" : "SQL Basics", "isbn" : "0-7925-6962-8" } { "_id" : 2, "title" : "SQL Advanced", "isbn" : "0-1184-7778-1" } { "_id" : 3, "title" : "SQL Performance Tuning", "isbn" : "0-6799-2974-6" } { "_id" : 4, "title" : "SQL Graph", "isbn" : "0-6426-4996-0" } { "_id" : 5, "title" : "NoSQL Pros", "isbn" : "0-9602-9886-X" }
Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

Summary

  • Use the db.collection.insertMany() method to insert multiple documents into a collection.
  • When the ordered is true, the insertMany() performs an unordered insert; otherwise, it performs an unordered insert.
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