Entity Framework Code First has a unique constraint.

code-first entity-framework unique-constraint



Is it possible to define a unique constraint on a property using either the fluent syntax or an attribute? If not, what are the workarounds?

I have a user class with a primary key, but I would like to make sure the email address is also unique. Is this possible without editing the database directly?

Solution (based on Matt's answer)

public class MyContext : DbContext {
    public DbSet<User> Users { get; set; }

    public override int SaveChanges() {
        foreach (var item in ChangeTracker.Entries<IModel>())
            item.Entity.Modified = DateTime.Now;

        return base.SaveChanges();

    public class Initializer : IDatabaseInitializer<MyContext> {
        public void InitializeDatabase(MyContext context) {
            if (context.Database.Exists() && !context.Database.CompatibleWithModel(false))

            if (!context.Database.Exists()) {
                context.Database.ExecuteSqlCommand("alter table Users add constraint UniqueUserEmail unique (Email)");
3/1/2017 9:23:22 PM

Accepted Answer

As far as I can tell, there's no way to do this with Entity Framework at the moment. However, this isn't just a problem with unique constraints... you may want to create indexes, check constraints, and possibly triggers and other constructs too. Here's a simple pattern you can use with your code-first setup, though admittedly it's not database agnostic:

public class MyRepository : DbContext {
    public DbSet<Whatever> Whatevers { get; set; }

    public class Initializer : IDatabaseInitializer<MyRepository> {
        public void InitializeDatabase(MyRepository context) {
            if (!context.Database.Exists() || !context.Database.ModelMatchesDatabase()) {

                context.ObjectContext.ExecuteStoreCommand("CREATE UNIQUE CONSTRAINT...");
                context.ObjectContext.ExecuteStoreCommand("CREATE INDEX...");

Another option is if your domain model is the only method of inserting/updating data in your database, you could implement the uniqueness requirement yourself and leave the database out of it. This is a more portable solution and forces you to be clear about your business rules in your code, but leaves your database open to invalid data getting back-doored.

12/13/2010 2:31:37 AM

Popular Answer

Starting with EF 6.1 it is now possible:

[Index(IsUnique = true)]
public string EmailAddress { get; set; }

This will get you a unique index instead of unique constraint, strictly speaking. For most practical purposes they are the same.

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