Quickstart: Create an Azure Cosmos account, database, container, and items from the Azure portal


Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft's globally distributed multi-model database service. You can use Azure Cosmos DB to quickly create and query key/value databases, document databases, and graph databases, all of which benefit from the global distribution and horizontal scale capabilities at the core of Azure Cosmos DB.

This quickstart demonstrates how to use the Azure portal to create an Azure Cosmos DB SQL API account, create a document database, and container, and add data to the container.


An Azure subscription or free Azure Cosmos DB trial account

Create an Azure Cosmos DB account

Go to the Azure portal to create an Azure Cosmos DB account. Search for and select Azure Cosmos DB.

The Azure portal Databases pane

  1. Select Add.

  2. On the Create Azure Cosmos DB Account page, enter the basic settings for the new Azure Cosmos account.

    Setting Value Description
    Subscription Subscription name Select the Azure subscription that you want to use for this Azure Cosmos account.
    Resource Group Resource group name Select a resource group, or select Create new, then enter a unique name for the new resource group.
    Account Name A unique name Enter a name to identify your Azure Cosmos account. Because documents.azure.com is appended to the name that you provide to create your URI, use a unique name.

    The name can only contain lowercase letters, numbers, and the hyphen (-) character. It must be between 3-31 characters in length.
    API The type of account to create Select Core (SQL) to create a document database and query by using SQL syntax.

    The API determines the type of account to create. Azure Cosmos DB provides five APIs: Core (SQL) and MongoDB for document data, Gremlin for graph data, Azure Table, and Cassandra. Currently, you must create a separate account for each API.

    Learn more about the SQL API.
    Capacity mode Provisioned throughput or Serverless Select Provisioned throughput to create an account in provisioned throughput mode. Select Serverless to create an account in serverless mode.
    Apply Azure Cosmos DB free tier discount Apply or Do not apply With Azure Cosmos DB free tier, you will get the first 400 RU/s and 5 GB of storage for free in an account. Learn more about free tier.
    Location The region closest to your users Select a geographic location to host your Azure Cosmos DB account. Use the location that is closest to your users to give them the fastest access to the data.
    Account Type Production or Non-Production Select Production if the account will be used for a production workload. Select Non-Production if the account will be used for non-production, e.g. development, testing, QA, or staging. This is an Azure resource tag setting that tunes the Portal experience but does not affect the underlying Azure Cosmos DB account. You can change this value anytime.
    Geo-Redundancy Enable or Disable Enable or disable global distribution on your account by pairing your region with a pair region. You can add more regions to your account later.
    Multi-region Writes Enable or Disable Multi-region writes capability allows you to take advantage of the provisioned throughput for your databases and containers across the globe.
    Availability Zones Enable or Disable Availability Zones help you further improve availability and resiliency of your application.


You can have up to one free tier Azure Cosmos DB account per Azure subscription and must opt-in when creating the account. If you do not see the option to apply the free tier discount, this means another account in the subscription has already been enabled with free tier.


The following options are not available if you select Serverless as the Capacity mode:

  • Apply Free Tier Discount
  • Geo-redundancy
  • Multi-region Writes

The new account page for Azure Cosmos DB

  1. Select Review + create. You can skip the Network and Tags sections.

  2. Review the account settings, and then select Create. It takes a few minutes to create the account. Wait for the portal page to display Your deployment is complete.

    The Azure portal Notifications pane

  3. Select Go to resource to go to the Azure Cosmos DB account page.

    The Azure Cosmos DB account page

Add a database and a container

You can use the Data Explorer in the Azure portal to create a database and container.

  1. Select Data Explorer from the left navigation on your Azure Cosmos DB account page, and then select New Container.

    You may need to scroll right to see the Add Container window.

    The Azure portal Data Explorer, Add Container pane

  2. In the Add container pane, enter the settings for the new container.

    Setting Suggested value Description
    Database ID ToDoList Enter ToDoList as the name for the new database. Database names must contain from 1 through 255 characters, and they cannot contain /, \\, #, ?, or a trailing space. Check the Provision database throughput option, it allows you to share the throughput provisioned to the database across all the containers within the database. This option also helps with cost savings.
    Throughput 400 Leave the throughput at 400 request units per second (RU/s). If you want to reduce latency, you can scale up the throughput later.

    Note: This setting is not available when creating a new container in a serverless account.
    Container ID Items Enter Items as the name for your new container. Container IDs have the same character requirements as database names.
    Partition key /category The sample described in this article uses /category as the partition key.

    Don't add Unique keys for this example. Unique keys let you add a layer of data integrity to the database by ensuring the uniqueness of one or more values per partition key. For more information, see Unique keys in Azure Cosmos DB.

  3. Select OK. The Data Explorer displays the new database and the container that you created.

Add data to your database

Add data to your new database using Data Explorer.

  1. In Data Explorer, expand the ToDoList database, and expand the Items container. Next, select Items, and then select New Item.

    Create new documents in Data Explorer in the Azure portal

  2. Add the following structure to the document on the right side of the Documents pane:

        "id": "1",
        "category": "personal",
        "name": "groceries",
        "description": "Pick up apples and strawberries.",
        "isComplete": false
  3. Select Save.

    Copy in json data and select Save in Data Explorer in the Azure portal

  4. Select New Document again, and create and save another document with a unique id, and any other properties and values you want. Your documents can have any structure, because Azure Cosmos DB doesn't impose any schema on your data.

Query your data

You can use queries in Data Explorer to retrieve and filter your data.

  1. At the top of the Items tab in Data Explorer, review the default query SELECT * FROM c. This query retrieves and displays all documents from the container ordered by ID.

    Default query in Data Explorer is SELECT * FROM c

  2. To change the query, select Edit Filter, replace the default query with ORDER BY c._ts DESC, and then select Apply Filter.

    Change the default query by adding ORDER BY c._ts DESC and clicking Apply Filter

    The modified query displays the documents in descending order based on their time stamp, so now your second document is listed first.

    Changed query to ORDER BY c._ts DESC and clicking Apply Filter

If you're familiar with SQL syntax, you can enter any supported SQL queries in the query predicate box. You can also use Data Explorer to create stored procedures, UDFs, and triggers for server-side business logic.

Data Explorer provides easy Azure portal access to all of the built-in programmatic data access features available in the APIs. You also use the portal to scale throughput, get keys and connection strings, and review metrics and SLAs for your Azure Cosmos DB account.

Clean up resources

When you're done with your app and Azure Cosmos DB account, you can delete the Azure resources you created so you don't incur more charges. To delete the resources:

  1. In the Azure portal Search bar, search for and select Resource groups.

  2. From the list, select the resource group you created for this quickstart.

    Select the resource group to delete

  3. On the resource group Overview page, select Delete resource group.

    Delete the resource group

  4. In the next window, enter the name of the resource group to delete, and then select Delete.

If you wish to delete just the database and use the Azure Cosmos account in future, you can delete the database with the following steps:

  • Got to your Azure Cosmos account.
  • Open Data Explorer, right click on the database that you want to delete and select Delete Database.
  • Enter the Database ID/database name to confirm the delete operation.

Next steps

In this quickstart, you learned how to create an Azure Cosmos DB account, create a database and container using the Data Explorer. You can now import additional data to your Azure Cosmos DB account.