What Is Binary Data Type in MongoDB?


Larry Thompson

The Binary data type in MongoDB is used to store binary data. It can hold any type of binary data, such as images, audio files, video files, or even serialized objects.

Storing Binary Data in MongoDB

To store binary data in MongoDB, you need to create a field with the Binary data type. The Binary constructor takes two arguments: the binary subtype and the actual binary data.

The binary subtype is an optional parameter that specifies the format or encoding of the binary data. MongoDB supports various subtypes, such as:

  • 0x00: Generic binary subtype
  • 0x01: Function subtype (deprecated)
  • 0x02: UUID subtype (deprecated)
  • 0x03: MD5 subtype (deprecated)
  • 0x04: User-defined subtype
  • 0x05: Encrypted BSON value subtype (deprecated)
  • 0x80-0xFF: Reserved for internal use/subtypes

You can create a new document with a binary field using the following syntax:

{ "fieldName" : new Binary(data, subType) }

Retrieving Binary Data from MongoDB

To retrieve binary data from MongoDB, you can use the same field name used during storage. The retrieved value will be an instance of the Binary class.

// Assuming 'document' is the retrieved document
var binaryData = document.fieldName;

You can then access the binary data using methods provided by the Binary class, such as length() to get the length of the binary data or subtype() to get the subtype of the binary.

Working with Binary Data in MongoDB

Binary data stored in MongoDB can be manipulated using various programming languages and frameworks. For example, if you are using JavaScript, you can convert binary data to a base64 string using the bson library:

// Assuming 'binaryData' is a Binary instance
var base64String = bson.Binary.toBase64(binaryData);

You can also convert a base64 string back to binary data:

// Assuming 'base64String' is a base64-encoded string
var binaryData = bson.fromBase64(base64String);

This allows you to easily work with binary data in your applications while storing it efficiently in MongoDB.


The Binary data type in MongoDB provides a convenient way to store and retrieve binary data. By utilizing this data type, you can efficiently handle various types of binary content within your MongoDB collections.

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