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Custom Vertex ID

JanusGraph has a built-in ID manager that allocates unique IDs for vertices, edges, and properties. By default, all these IDs are numbers of long type, but JanusGraph allows you to define custom vertex IDs.


There are two boolean options you can control: graph.set-vertex-id and graph.allow-custom-vid-types. Once the first option is enabled, you would be able to and must provide a vertex ID when you create a vertex. The vertex ID must be long-type, unless you turn on the second option. The second option allows to you either provide a long-type ID or a string-type ID. Note that if you turn on graph.allow-custom-vid-types, you must also turn on graph.set-vertex-id.

Both of the two options are GLOBAL_OFFLINE, with default values being false. Being global offline means once they are set, you would have to bring down the entire JanusGraph cluster to alter the value. See the below two scenarios.

Create a new Graph

Simply set graph.set-vertex-id=<true/false> and graph.allow-custom-vid-types=<true/false> in your config file. When the graph is created, this value is loaded and persisted. After the graph is created, changing the option value in the config file would make no difference as JanusGraph simply ignores the value.

Alter an existing Graph

To alter a global offline config (not limited to the aforementioned two options), you need to shut down all JanusGraph instances. Then open a gremlin console, connect to JanusGraph instance and run the following:

mgmt = graph.openManagement();
mgmt.set("graph.set-vertex-id", true);
// optional, if you want to provide string ID
mgmt.set("graph.allow-custom-vid-types", true);

It will return an error if you have open JanusGraph instances. Otherwise, it will succeed and now your global configs would have been updated.

Custom Long ID

To provide a long vertex ID, you must call graph.getIDManager().toVertexId(long) to retrieve a transformed JanusGraph ID. The input number must be positive. This is because certain range of long IDs are reserved for internal usage, so you have to always call the aforementioned utility to convert your ID. Unfortunately, this is not supported in all gremlin clients as it is a JanusGraph specific utility. You can create vertices as follows:

g = graph.traversal()
g.addV().property(, graph.getIDManager().toVertexID(123L)).next()

Note that if you want to get back the original ID you provided, you need to call graph.getIDManager().fromVertexID(long).

Custom String ID

A string vertex ID can have arbitrary length as long as the underlying storage and index backends permit. Elasticsearch, for example, requires the length of the ID to be smaller than or equal to 512.

The string value must consist of printable ASCII characters only, and it cannot contain JanusGraph reserved relation delimiter (a single character string). By default, this reserved delimiter is - (dash), which means you cannot use UUID string as a vertex ID since it contains a - character. You can create vertices as follows:

g = graph.traversal()
g.addV().property(, "custom_vid_001").next()

Override reserved Character

If you create a new graph (using 1.0.0 or later version), JanusGraph allows you to set JANUSGRAPH_RELATION_DELIMITER system property, a single character string which can be any printable ASCII character. Once it is set, JanusGraph will prohibit that specific character instead of the default - character. Alternatively, you can set JANUSGRAPH_RELATION_DELIMITER environment variable, which is evaluated if and only if the JANUSGRAPH_RELATION_DELIMITER system property is not present. For example, you can use the following command to set system property when opening gremlin console:


and then you should be able to use UUID as custom id since now the reserved character becomes @ rather than -.

g = graph.traversal()
g.addV().property(, UUID.randomUUID().toString()).next()
g.addV().property(, "custom-vid-001").next()


If you decide to replace default JANUSGRAPH_RELATION_DELIMITER, you MUST always set the system property or environment value consistently across all JanusGraph instances, including servers and clients, during the entire lifecycle of the graph. Otherwise, data corruption could happen. For example, if you only set it on client side, then the server will not be able to deserialize any property or edge because of the setting mismatch. Also, you must not use this setting on a legacy graph. In other words, you cannot alter this property at any time.