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Predicate indexes

Filtering on a predicate by applying a function requires an index.

Indices are defined in the Dgraph types schema using @index directive.

Here are some examples:

name: string @index(term) .
release_date: datetime @index(year) .
description_vector: float32vector @index(hnsw(metric:"cosine")) .

When filtering by applying a function, Dgraph uses the index to make the search through a potentially large dataset efficient.

All scalar types can be indexed.

Types int, float, bool and geo have only a default index each: with tokenizers named int, float, bool and geo.

Types string and dateTime have a number of indices.

Type float32vector supports hnsw index.

String Indices

The indices available for strings are as follows.

Dgraph function Required index / tokenizer Notes
eq hash, exact, term, or fulltext The most performant index for eq is hash. Only use term or fulltext if you also require term or full-text search. If you’re already using term, there is no need to use hash or exact as well.
le, ge, lt, gt exact Allows faster sorting.
allofterms, anyofterms term Allows searching by a term in a sentence.
alloftext, anyoftext fulltext Matching with language specific stemming and stopwords.
regexp trigram Regular expression matching. Can also be used for equality checking.
Warning Incorrect index choice can impose performance penalties and an increased transaction conflict rate. Use only the minimum number of and simplest indexes that your application needs.

Vector Indices

The indices available for float32vector are as follows.

Dgraph function Required index / tokenizer Notes
similar_to hnsw HNSW index supports parameters metric and exponent.

hnsw (Hierarchical Navigable Small World) index supports the following parameters

  • metric : indicate the metric to use to compute vector similarity. One of cosine, euclidean, and dotproduct. Default is euclidean.

  • exponent : An integer, represented as a string, roughly representing the number of vectors expected in the index in power of 10. The exponent value,is used to set “reasonable defaults” for HNSW internal tuning parameters. Default is “4” (10^4 vectors).

Here are some examples:

simple_vector: float32vector @index(hnsw) .
description_vector: float32vector @index(hnsw(metric:"cosine")) .
large_vector: float32vector @index(hnsw(metric:"euclidean",exponent:"6")) .

DateTime Indices

The indices available for dateTime are as follows.

Index name / Tokenizer Part of date indexed
year index on year (default)
month index on year and month
day index on year, month and day
hour index on year, month, day and hour

The choices of dateTime index allow selecting the precision of the index. Applications, such as the movies examples in these docs, that require searching over dates but have relatively few nodes per year may prefer the year tokenizer; applications that are dependent on fine grained date searches, such as real-time sensor readings, may prefer the hour index.

All the dateTime indices are sortable.

Sortable Indices

Not all the indices establish a total order among the values that they index. Sortable indices allow inequality functions and sorting.

  • Indexes int and float are sortable.
  • string index exact is sortable.
  • All dateTime indices are sortable.

For example, given an edge name of string type, to sort by name or perform inequality filtering on names, the exact index must have been specified. In which case a schema query would return at least the following tokenizers.

  "predicate": "name",
  "type": "string",
  "index": true,
  "tokenizer": [

Count index

For predicates with the @count Dgraph indexes the number of edges out of each node. This enables fast queries of the form:

  q(func: gt(count(pred), threshold)) {

List Type

Predicate with scalar types can also store a list of values if specified in the schema. The scalar type needs to be enclosed within [] to indicate that its a list type.

occupations: [string] .
score: [int] .
  • A set operation adds to the list of values. The order of the stored values is non-deterministic.
  • A delete operation deletes the value from the list.
  • Querying for these predicates would return the list in an array.
  • Indexes can be applied on predicates which have a list type and you can use Functions on them.
  • Sorting is not allowed using these predicates.
  • These lists are like an unordered set. For example: ["e1", "e1", "e2"] may get stored as ["e2", "e1"], i.e., duplicate values will not be stored and order may not be preserved.

Filtering on list

Dgraph supports filtering based on the list. Filtering works similarly to how it works on edges and has the same available functions.

For example, @filter(eq(occupations, "Teacher")) at the root of the query or the parent edge will display all the occupations from a list of each node in an array but will only include nodes which have Teacher as one of the occupations. However, filtering on value edge is not supported.

Reverse Edges

A graph edge is unidirectional. For node-node edges, sometimes modeling requires reverse edges. If only some subject-predicate-object triples have a reverse, these must be manually added. But if a predicate always has a reverse, Dgraph computes the reverse edges if @reverse is specified in the schema.

The reverse edge of anEdge is ~anEdge.

For existing data, Dgraph computes all reverse edges. For data added after the schema mutation, Dgraph computes and stores the reverse edge for each added triple.

type Person {
type Car {
owner: uid @reverse .
regnbr: string @index(exact) .
name: string @index(exact) .

This makes it possible to query Persons and their cars by using:

q(func: type(Person)) {
  ~owner { regnbr }

To get a different key than ~owner in the result, the query can be written with the wanted label (cars in this case):

q(func: type(Person)) {
  cars: ~owner { regnbr }

This also works if there are multiple “owners” of a car:

owner [uid] @reverse .

In both cases the owner edge should be set on the Car:

_:p1 <name> "Mary" .
_:p1 <dgraph.type> "Person" .
_:c1 <regnbr> "ABC123" .
_:c1 <dgraph.type> "Car" .
_:c1 <owner> _:p1 .

Querying Schema

A schema query queries for the whole schema:

schema {}
Note Unlike regular queries, the schema query is not surrounded by curly braces. Also, schema queries and regular queries cannot be combined.

You can query for particular schema fields in the query body.

schema {

You can also query for particular predicates:

schema(pred: [name, friend]) {
Note If ACL is enabled, then the schema query returns only the predicates for which the logged-in ACL user has read access.

Types can also be queried. Below are some example queries.

schema(type: Movie) {}
schema(type: [Person, Animal]) {}

Note that type queries do not contain anything between the curly braces. The output will be the entire definition of the requested types.