Skip to content

Scopes and Collections

Scopes and collections allow you to organize your documents within a database.

At a glance

Use collections to organize your content in a database

For example, if your database contains travel information, airport documents can be assigned to an airports collection, hotel documents can be assigned to a hotels collection, and so on.

  • Document names must be unique within their collection.

Use scopes to group multiple collections

Collections can be assigned to different scopes according to content-type or deployment-phase (for example, test versus production).

  • Collection names must be unique within their scope.

Default Scopes and Collections

Every database you create contains a default scope and a default collection named _default.

If you create a document in the database and don’t specify a specific scope or collection, it is saved in the default collection, in the default scope.

If you upgrade from a version of Couchbase Lite prior to 3.1, all existing data is automatically placed in the default scope and default collection.

The default scope and collection cannot be dropped.

Create a Scope and Collection

In addition to the default scope and collection, you can create your own scope and collection when you create a document.

Naming conventions for collections and scopes:

  • Must be between 1 and 251 characters in length.
  • Can only contain the characters A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and the symbols _, -, and %.
  • Cannot start with _ or %.
  • Scope names must be unique in databases.
  • Collection names must be unique within a scope.


Scope and collection names are case sensitive.

Example 1. Create a scope and collection

// create the collection "Verlaine" in the default scope ("_default")
var collection1: Collection? = db.createCollection("Verlaine")
// both of these retrieve collection1 created above
collection1 = db.getCollection("Verlaine")
collection1 = db.defaultScope.getCollection("Verlaine")

// create the collection "Verlaine" in the scope "Television"
var collection2: Collection? = db.createCollection("Television", "Verlaine")
// both of these retrieve  collection2 created above
collection2 = db.getCollection("Television", "Verlaine")
collection2 = db.getScope("Television")!!.getCollection("Verlaine")

In the example above, you can see that db.createCollection() can take two parameters. The first is the scope assigned to the created collection, if this parameter is omitted then a collection of the given name will be assigned to the _default scope. In this case, creating a collection called Verlaine.

The second parameter is the name of the collection you want to create, in this case Verlaine. In the second section of the example you can see db.createCollection("Television", "Verlaine"). This creates the collection Verlaine and then checks to see if the scope Television exists. If the scope Television exists, the collection Verlaine is assigned to the scope Television. If not, a new scope, Television, is created and then the collection Verlaine is assigned to it.


You cannot create an empty user-defined scope. A scope is implicitly created in the db.createCollection() method.

Index a Collection

Example 2. Index a Collection

// Create an index named "nameIndex1" on the property "lastName" in the collection using the IndexBuilder
collection.createIndex("nameIndex1", IndexBuilder.valueIndex("lastName")))

// Create a similar index named "nameIndex2" using an IndexConfiguration
collection.createIndex("nameIndex2", ValueIndexConfiguration("lastName"))

// get the names of all the indices in the collection
val indices = collection.indexes

// delete all the collection indices
indices.forEach { collection.deleteIndex(it) }

Drop a Collection

Example 3. Drop a Collection

db.getCollection(collectionName, scopeName)?.let {


There is no need to drop a user-defined scope. User-defined scopes are dropped when the collections associated with them contain no documents.

List Scopes and Collections

Example 4. List Scopes and Collections

// List all of the collections in each of the scopes in the database
db.scopes.forEach { scope ->
    println("Scope :: ${}")
    scope.collections.forEach {
        println("    Collection :: ${}")