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How drafts work, and how you disable them

In Sanity Studio, when you create a new document or edit one that has already been published, a draft document is created. Drafts capture in-flight updates while the original published document remains intact. This enables keeping changes separated from what is presented to users until those changes are ready to be explicitly rolled-out.

A draft document does not appear on the APIs to unauthenticated users. While you may refer to it as a reference, you can only publish a document that references a draft if that reference field is a weak reference.

When you publish a document it becomes available on the public APIs and you may (strongly) reference it from other documents.

When you start working on a published document a new draft gets created. This creates a new event in the document history. You can access the document history from the context menu:

Access the document history from the context menu

Behind the scenes

Drafts are saved in a document with an id beginning with the path drafts.. When you publish a document it is copied from the draft into a document without the drafts.-prefix (e.g. drafts.ca307fc7-4413-42dc-8e38-2ee09ab6fb3d vs ca307fc7-4413-42dc-8e38-2ee09ab6fb3d). When you keep working a new draft is created and kept read protected in the drafts document until you publish again.


The published and draft document both have _createdAt and _updatedAt fields.

  • _createdAt is the same value for both and reflects the time when the document was first created.
  • _updatedAt on the draft is the time of when it was last edited
  • _updatedAt on the published is the time when it last got published

A matter of perspectives

When querying your content from a frontend it's common to face a situation where you are interested in either drafted changes or published content, and specifically not both at the same time. You can use Content Lake's Perspectives feature to have your queries return with all in-flight changes applied โ€“ useful for previewing โ€“ or with all changes ignored entirely โ€“ useful for production deployments. Visit the article Presenting and Previewing Content to learn more about how Perspectives can be used in your presentation layers.

We're doing it live

Sometimes you might not need drafts at all. Say you're using listeners to update a ranking list in an app and you just want the changes in the studio to go out in real-time on the wire as mutations as the order is being changed.

To disable drafts for a data type simply include liveEdit: true in the schema definition:

export default {
  name: 'author',
  title: 'Author',
  type: 'document',
  liveEdit: true,

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