Morphia provides annotations that allow developers to define indexes for a collection to be defined alongside the other mapping data on an entity’s source. In addition to the familiar ascending/descending index types, Morphia and MongoDB support TTL, text, and[geospatial] indexes. When defining text indexes there are certain restrictions which will be covered below. Full details for all these types are available in the manual.

There are two ways to define indexes: at the class level and at the field level.

Class Level Indexes

Class level indexing begins with the @Indexes annotation. This is a container annotation whose sole purpose is to hold a number of @Index annotations. This annotation has two primary components to cover here: fields and options. An index definition would take the following form:

    @Index(fields = @Field(value = "field2", type = DESC)),
      fields = @Field("field3"),
      options = @IndexOptions(name = "indexing_test")
public class IndexExample {
    private ObjectId id;
    private String field;
    private String field2;
    private String field3;


The fields to use in an index definition are defined with the @Field annotation. An arbitrary number of @Fields can be given but at least one must be present.


Indicates which field to use for indexing. The name used for the field can be either the Java field name or the mapped document field name as defined in the class’s mapping via, e.g., the @Property or @Embedded annotations. For most index types, this value is validated by default. An exception is made for text indexes as discussed below.


Default: IndexType.ASC

Indicates the "type" of the index (ascending, descending, geo2D, geo2d sphere, or text) to create on the field.



Specifies the weight to use when creating a text index. This value only makes sense when direction is IndexType.TEXT.

Index Options

Options for an index are defined on the @IndexOptions. More complete coverage can be found in the manual but we’ll provide some basic coverage here as well.


Default: false

This value determines if the index build is a blocking call or not. By default, creating an index blocks all other operations on a database. When building an index on a collection, the database that holds the collection is unavailable for read or write operations until the index build completes. For potentially long running index building operations, consider the background operation so that the MongoDB database remains available during the index building operation. The MongoDB manual has more detail.


Default: false

When ensuring indexes in the database, Morphia will attempt to ensure that the field names match either the Java field names or the mapped document names. Setting this to true disables this validation.


Default: false

When defining a unique index, if there are duplicate values found, the index creation will. Setting this value to true will instruct MongoDB to drop the documents with duplicate values.

As of MongoDB version 3.0, the dropDups option is no longer available.



Specifies a value, in seconds, as a TTL to control how long MongoDB retains documents in this collection. The field listed must contain values that are dates.



For text indexes, the language that determines the list of stop words and the rulesfor the stemmer and tokenizer. See Text Search Languages for the available languages and Specify a Language for Text Index for more information and examples. The default value is english.



For text indexes, the name of the field in the collection’s documents that contains the override language for the document. The default value is language. See Use any Field to Specify the Language for a Document for an example.



The name of the index. If unspecified, MongoDB generates an index name by concatenating the names of the indexed fields and the sort order.

Whether user specified or MongoDB generated, index names including their full namespace (i.e. database.collection) cannot be longer than the Index Name Limit.


Default: false

If true, the index only references documents with the specified field. These indexes use less space but behave differently in some situations (particularly sorts). See Sparse Indexes for more information.


Default: false

Creates a unique index so that the collection will not accept insertion of documents where the index key or keys match an existing value in the index. Specify true to create a unique index.



New in MongoDB 3.2, partial indexes only index the documents in a collection that meet a specified filter expression thereby reducing storage and maintenance costs. A partial filter is defined using a query as shown here:

@Indexes({@Index(options = @IndexOptions(partialFilter = "{ name : { $exists : true } }"),
        fields = {@Field(value = "name")})})
    public static class SomeClass { ... }



Collation allows users to specify language-specific rules for string comparison, such as rules for lettercase and accent marks. A collation can be defined using the collation() property on @IndexOptions and takes an @Collation instance.

Field Level Indexes

Field level indexing is a simpler approach to defining a basic, single key index. These indexes are defined by applying the @Indexed annotation to a particular field on a class. Because the index definition is applied at the field level, the index is created using only that field and so the @Field annotations are unnecessary. The options for the index are the same as defined above. A field level index definition would look like this:

private class FieldIndex {
    private ObjectId id;
    @Indexed(options = @IndexOptions(unique = true))
    private String name;
    private String color;

Text Indexing

Morphia’s indexing supports MongoDB’s text indexing and search functionality as we’ve briefly seen above. Full details can be found in the manual but there are a few Morphia specific details to cover. Indexed field names are validated by default but validation is disabled when an index is defined using MongoDB’s $** syntax. This special instruction tells MongoDB to create a text index on all fields with string content in a document. A compound index can be created incorporating a text index but it’s important to note there can only be one text index on a collection.

A wild card text index declaration would look like this:

    @Indexes(@Index(fields = @Field(value = "$**", type = TEXT)))

A collection can have at most one text index.