add created_at and updated_at fields to mongoose schemas


Is there a way to add created_at and updated_at fields to a mongoose schema, without having to pass them in everytime new MyModel() is called?

The created_at field would be a date and only added when a document is created. The updated_at field would be updated with new date whenever save() is called on a document.

I have tried this in my schema, but the field does not show up unless I expcitly add it:

var ItemSchema = new Schema({
    name    : { type: String, required: true, trim: true }
  , created_at    : { type: Date, required: true, default: }
10/1/2012 8:13:47 AM

Accepted Answer

If use update() or findOneAndUpdate()

with {upsert: true} option

you can use $setOnInsert

var update = {
  updatedAt: new Date(),
  $setOnInsert: {
    createdAt: new Date()
9/4/2014 3:01:28 PM

UPDATE: (5 years later)

Note: If you decide to use Kappa Architecture (Event Sourcing + CQRS), then you do not need updated date at all. Since your data is an immutable, append-only event log, you only ever need event created date. Similar to the Lambda Architecture, described below. Then your application state is a projection of the event log (derived data). If you receive a subsequent event about existing entity, then you'll use that event's created date as updated date for your entity. This is a commonly used (and commonly misunderstood) practice in miceroservice systems.

UPDATE: (4 years later)

If you use ObjectId as your _id field (which is usually the case), then all you need to do is:

let document = {
  updatedAt: new Date(),

Check my original answer below on how to get the created timestamp from the _id field. If you need to use IDs from external system, then check Roman Rhrn Nesterov's answer.

UPDATE: (2.5 years later)

You can now use the #timestamps option with mongoose version >= 4.0.

let ItemSchema = new Schema({
  name: { type: String, required: true, trim: true }
  timestamps: true

If set timestamps, mongoose assigns createdAt and updatedAt fields to your schema, the type assigned is Date.

You can also specify the timestamp fileds' names:

timestamps: { createdAt: 'created_at', updatedAt: 'updated_at' }

Note: If you are working on a big application with critical data you should reconsider updating your documents. I would advise you to work with immutable, append-only data (lambda architecture). What this means is that you only ever allow inserts. Updates and deletes should not be allowed! If you would like to "delete" a record, you could easily insert a new version of the document with some timestamp/version filed and then set a deleted field to true. Similarly if you want to update a document – you create a new one with the appropriate fields updated and the rest of the fields copied over.Then in order to query this document you would get the one with the newest timestamp or the highest version which is not "deleted" (the deleted field is undefined or false`).

Data immutability ensures that your data is debuggable – you can trace the history of every document. You can also rollback to previous version of a document if something goes wrong. If you go with such an architecture ObjectId.getTimestamp() is all you need, and it is not Mongoose dependent.


If you are using ObjectId as your identity field you don't need created_at field. ObjectIds have a method called getTimestamp().


This will return the following output:


More info here How do I extract the created date out of a Mongo ObjectID

In order to add updated_at filed you need to use this:

var ArticleSchema = new Schema({
  updated_at: { type: Date }
  // rest of the fields go here

ArticleSchema.pre('save', function(next) {
  this.updated_at =;

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