Below is a list of all the annotations and a brief description of how to use them.


Indexes can be defined on each field directly for single field indexing or at the class level for compund indexes. To see the next few annotations in context, please refer to or in the Morphia source.


The @Index documentation can be found here. There are two pieces to this annotation that are mutually exclusive. The first group of parameters are considered legacy. They are safe to use but will be removed in the 2.x series. These options and more have been conglomerated in the @IndexOptions annotation.


The @Field annotation defines indexing on a specific document field. Multiple instances of this annotation may be passed to the @Index annotation to define a compound index on multiple fields.


The @IndexOptions annotation defines the options to apply to an index definition. This annotation replaces the fields found directly on the @Index annotation. This annotation was added to ensure that index options are consistent across the various index definition approaches.


The @Collation annotation defines the collation options to apply to the index definition. In addition to defining a collation as part of an index, a collation can be specified as part of a query as well. The Options classes provide facilities for specifying a specific collation to be used for any given operation. This collation does not have to match the one defined on the index but will, of course, be faster if it does. See CountOptions, DeleteOptions, FindOptions, MapReduceOptions, and FindAndModifyOptions for more information.


@Indexed, applied to a Java field, marks the field to be indexed by MongoDB. This is used for simple, single-field indexes. As stated above, the options value replaces the individual setting values on the @Indexed annotation itself.

Entity Mapping

Morphia provides a number of annotations providing for the customization of object mapping.


@Entity marks entities to be stored directly in a collection. This annotation is optional in most cases but is required if an entity is to be mapped to a specifically named collection. If no mapping is given, the collection is named after the class itself. There are two different mechanisms for mapping cross-object relationships in Morphia: references and embedding.


@Reference marks a field as a reference to a document stored in another collection and is linked (by a DBRef field). When the Entity is loaded, the referenced entity is also be loaded. Any object referenced via an @Reference field must have already have a non-null @Id value in the referenced entity. This can be done by either saving the referenced entities first or by manually assigning them ID values. By default, these referenced entities are automatically loaded by Morphia along with the referencing entity. This can result in a high number of database round trips just to load a single entity. To resolve this, lazy = true can be passed to the annotation. This will create a dynamic proxy which will lazily load the entity the first time it is referenced in code.

Fields annotated with @Reference will show up in MongoDB as DBRef fields by default. A DBRef stores not only the entity’s ID value but also the collection name. In most cases, this is probably redundant information as the collection name is already encoded in the entity’s mapping information. To reduce the amount of storage necessary to track these references, use idOnly = true in the mapping. This will result in only the ID value being stored in the document.

Morphia 1.5.0 introduced a new experimental API help with some of the complications involved with the annotation based mapping. As this is an experimental API, details may change and the entire API might be removed. But users are encouraged to experiment with the API and provide any feedback via GitHub Issues. Further documentation can be found here.


In contrast to @Reference where a nested Java reference ends up as a separate document in a collection, @Embedded tells Morphia to embed the document created from the Java object in the document of the parent object. This annotation can be applied to the class of the embedded type or on the field holding the embedded instance.


@Validation allows for the definition of a document validation schema to applied to all writes to MongoDB. Validation rules are specified on a per-collection basis using any query operators, with the exception of $near, $nearSphere, $text, and $where. This validation definition is done using the MongoDB query syntax as shown here:

@Validation("{ number : { $gt : 10 } }")
public class SomeEntity {
    private int number;

Various operations on Datastore and AdvancedDatastore can bypass this validation via their Options classes. For these operations, specify the bypassDocumentValidation option to disable document validation for a specific operation. See InsertOptions, UpdateOptions, MapReduceOptions, and FindAndModifyOptions for more information.


@Id marks a field in an entity to be the _id field in MongoDB. This annotation is required on all top level entities regardless of the presence of an @Entity annotation. If a class is marked with @Embedded this annotation is not required since embedded documents are not required to have _id fields.


@Property is an optional annotation instructing Morphia to persist the field using the given name in the document saved in MongoDB. By default, the field name is used as the property name. This can be overridden by passing a String with the new name to the annotation.


@Transient instructs Morphia to ignore this field when converting an entity to a document. The Java keyword transient can also be used instead.


@Serialized instructs Morphia to serialize this field using JDK serialization. The field’s value gets converted to a byte[] and passed to MongoDB.


@NotSaved instructs Morphia to ignore this field when saving but will still be loaded from the database when the entity is read.


@AlsoLoad instructs Morphia to look for a field under different names than the mapped name. When a field gets remapped to a new name, you can either update the database and migrate all the fields at once or use this annotation to tell Morphia what older names to try if the current one fails. It is an error to have values under both the old and new key names when loading a document. These alternate names are not used in queries, however, so if there are queries against this field they should be updated to use the alternate names as well or the database should be updated such that every instance of the old name is renamed.


@Version marks a field in an entity to control optimistic locking. If the versions change in the database while modifying an entity (including deletes) a ConcurrentModificationException will be thrown. This field will be automatically managed for you — there is no need to set a value and you should not do so. If another name beside the Java field name is desired, a name can be passed to this annotation to change the document’s field name.

Lifecycle Annotations

There are various annotations which can be used to register callbacks on certain lifecycle events. These include Pre/Post-Persist, Pre-Save, and Pre/Post-Load.

  • @PreLoad - Called before mapping the datastore object to the entity (POJO); the DBObject is passed as an argument (you can add/remove/change values)

  • @PostLoad - Called after mapping to the entity

  • @PrePersist - Called before save, it can return a DBObject in place of an empty one.

  • @PreSave - Called before the save call to the datastore

  • @PostPersist - Called after the save call to the datastore


This is one of the test classes.

All parameters and return values are optional in your implemented methods.


Here is a simple example of an entity that always saves the Date it was last updated at.

class BankAccount {
  @Id String id;
  Date lastUpdated = new Date();

  @PrePersist void prePersist() {lastUpdated = new Date();}


In addition, you can separate the lifecycle event implementation in an external class, or many.

public class BankAccount {
  @Id String id;
  Date lastUpdated = new Date();

class BankAccountWatcher{

  @PrePersist void prePersist(BankAccount act) {act.lastUpdated = new Date();}