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;


Which fields to index are defined with the @Field annotation. An arbitrary number of @Fields can be given but at least one must be present. 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 indexing as discussed below.

Index Options

Options for an index are defined on the @IndexOptions. More complete documenation can be found in the manual. Using the options allows you to run indexing in the background, e.g. 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.

By default Morphia will attempt to validate the fields specified but in some cases that isn’t desirable so you can turn it off via the options refernce. IndexOptions lets you define TTL, sparse, and partial indexes as well. IndexOptions can also be used to give an index a more human friendly name.

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

Partial Indexes

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 class SomeClass {

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 particularfield 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.


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 a @Collation instance.