Custom document model

An alternate Document model can be used to add custom behaviour and additional fields.

You need to complete the following steps in your project to do this:

  • Create a new document model that inherits from wagtail.documents.models.AbstractDocument. This is where you would add additional fields.
  • Point WAGTAILDOCS_DOCUMENT_MODEL to the new model.

Here’s an example:

from wagtail.documents.models import Document, AbstractDocument

class CustomDocument(AbstractDocument):
    # Custom field example:
    source = models.CharField(
        # This must be set to allow Wagtail to create a document instance
        # on upload.

    admin_form_fields = Document.admin_form_fields + (
        # Add all custom fields names to make them appear in the form:


Fields defined on a custom document model must either be set as non-required (blank=True), or specify a default value. This is because uploading the document and entering custom data happens as two separate actions. Wagtail needs to be able to create a document record immediately on upload.

Then in your settings module:

# Ensure that you replace app_label with the app you placed your custom
# model in.
WAGTAILDOCS_DOCUMENT_MODEL = 'app_label.CustomDocument'

Migrating from the builtin document model

When changing an existing site to use a custom document model, no documents will be copied to the new model automatically. Copying old documents to the new model would need to be done manually with a data migration.

Any templates that reference the builtin document model will still continue to work as before.

Referring to the document model


Get the document model from the WAGTAILDOCS_DOCUMENT_MODEL setting. Defauts to the standard Document model if no custom model is defined.