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The $lookup stage in MongoDB is a powerful aggregation pipeline operator that allows you to perform left outer join between two collections. It is used for combining data from multiple collections in a single aggregation pipeline operation.

Here’s a brief summary of $lookup operator:


The $lookup operator uses the following syntax:

  "$lookup": {
    "from": "<collection_name>",
    "localField": "<field_from_input_documents>",
    "foreignField": "<field_from_documents_of_the_from_collection>",
    "as": "<output_array_field>"


  • from: The target collection to perform the join operation with.
  • localField: The field from the input collection (i.e., the collection on which the $lookup is applied).
  • foreignField: The field from the target collection (i.e., the from collection).
  • as: The name of the output array field that will store the joined documents.


Suppose you have two collections, orders and products. The orders collection contains documents with following fields: orderId, productId, and quantity. The products collection contains documents with fields: productId, productName, and price.

To calculate the total amount of each order, you can use the $lookup operator along with other aggregation stages:

    $lookup: {
      from: 'products',
      localField: 'productId',
      foreignField: 'productId',
      as: 'productDetails',
    $unwind: '$productDetails',
    $project: {
      orderId: 1,
      totalAmount: {
        $multiply: ['$quantity', '$productDetails.price'],

In this example, $lookup will join the orders and products collections based on productId. The joined data will be stored in the new productDetails array field. Additional aggregation stages ($unwind and $project) are used to calculate and display the total amount of each order.

So, the $lookup operator becomes an essential tool when you need to work with data from multiple collections and perform complex data processing tasks in MongoDB.

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