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Graphs and variants

In Apollo Studio

A graph in Apollo Studio represents a unified graph in your organization. Each graph has one or more variants, which correspond to the different environments where that graph runs (such as staging and production). Each variant has its own GraphQL schema, which means schemas can differ between environments.

Creating a graph

To create a graph in Apollo Studio, click New Graph in the top right. The following dialog appears:

There are two types of graph architectures in Studio:

  • Supergraph - This is any graph that uses Apollo Federation, consisting of a gateway and one or more subgraphs.
  • Monolith - This is any graph that doesn't use Apollo Federation, consisting of a single GraphQL server.

Registering a schema

You can register your schema to a Studio graph with one of the following methods:

Viewing graph information

After selecting an organization in Studio, click on a particular graph to view its editable README, schema, data, and settings. All of a Studio organization's members can access the data and settings for every graph that belongs to that organization.

Enterprise accounts can set member roles to configure access for individual members of their organization.

The README page

When a user opens one of your graph's variants in Apollo Studio, its README page is shown:

GraphQL codeblock in README

Like the typical homepage for a Git repository, this page displays a Markdown-based README that you can edit with any content you like.

Note: Only organization members with the Org Admin, Graph Admin, Contributor, or Documenter role can edit a variant's README. If a variant is protected, Contributors cannot edit its README.

Each variant has its own README. If you edit one variant's README, those edits are not applied to other variants. Among other uses, this enables you to provide different information to external consumers in a public variant.

Supported Markdown

The README supports all basic Markdown syntax and most extended syntax (including tables, code blocks, and footnotes).

You can define a GraphQL code block with the following syntax:

query MyQuery {
users {

This renders the code block with buttons you can use to copy an operation or open it in the Explorer:

GraphQL codeblock in README

README shortcodes

The README supports a set of shortcodes you can use to populate it with data that's specific to your variant, such as the graph's name and the variant's graph ref:

# Overview of {{ }}
Graph ref: {{ graph.ref }}

For a list of all supported shortcodes, click Graph shortcodes in the bottom-left corner of the README editor.

Exploring your schema

Apollo Studio provides helpful views for exploring your registered schema:

  • The Explorer, which helps you build new operations against your graph
  • The Schema page, which enables you to filter your schema's type and field definitions (and also view your schema's raw SDL)

The Explorer

Apollo Studio provides a powerful Explorer IDE that helps you visualize your graph and run queries against it. It's available from your graph's Explorer tab in Studio.

The Schema page

The Schema page lists the different kinds of definitions in your schema (objects, scalars, etc.):

Schema page list of type definitions in Studio

Select a kind of definition to view a table of all corresponding types:

Schema page list of type definitions in Studio

Each type definition in the table includes:

  • The type's name
    • You can click the name to view additional details for the type (such as fields for an object, or possible types for a union).
  • The type's description (if your schema includes one)
  • Which subgraphs define the type (if you have a federated supergraph)
    • Users with the Consumer role can't view subgraph details.
Filtering your schema

The top of the Schema page provides a Filter Schema box you can use to find types and fields that match a set of filters:

Schema page filter box and dropdowns
  • Click the arrow button to the left of the filter box to show/hide the filter selection dropdowns.
  • Click the button to the right of the filter box to copy a shareable URL for your currently active set of filters (you can also copy your browser's address bar directly).

Any filters you set remain active as you move between definitions on the Schema page.

You can filter your schema definitions by type/field name (as shown above), along with any combination of the following:


Include results defined in any of the specified subgraphs.

Valid only for federated supergraphs.



If your graph uses the @tag directive, include results that have a @tag with any of the specified names. If viewing a table of objects, also include objects with at least one field that has a specified @tag.

If your graph doesn't use the @tag directive, this filter is not available.



Include results that have any of the specified directives applied. If viewing a table of objects, also include objects with at least one field that has a specified directive.



Include results with any of the specified return types. If viewing a table of objects, include objects with at least one field that has a specified return type.

This filter includes all fields that return a particular type, regardless of each field's nullability or whether it returns a list. For example, if you specify returnType:Int, the filter includes fields that return any of Int, Int!, or [Int].



Include results that take a GraphQL argument with any of the the specified names. If viewing a table of objects, include objects with at least one field that takes a specified argument.


Filtering rules
  • If you list multiple possible values in a single filter, those values use "OR" logic.
    • For example, if you filter by subgraph:products,reviews the result includes definitions from each subgraph.
  • If you apply multiple types of filters, those filters use "AND" logic.
    • For example, if you filter by subgraph:products and returnType:Int, the result includes only definitions that fulfill both criteria.
  • Currently, it isn't possible to use "AND" logic for multiple filters of the same type.
    • For example, it isn't possible to filter by subgraph:products "AND" subgraph:reviews to include only definitions that are present in both subgraphs.

Tracking schema changes

The Changelog page in Studio displays a timeline of changes made to your graph's schema:

Schema Changelog tab

Only schema changes that you publish to Studio are included in this timeline, which is one of the most important reasons to include schema registration in your continuous delivery pipeline.

Managing variants

To distinguish between instances of the same graph running in different environments (such as staging and production), you can define variants for a deployed graph. Each variant has its own schema, along with its own change history and metrics:

Schema Changelog tab

Adding a variant

To add a variant to your graph, you register a schema to the graph and include a variant name in the registration. If a variant with the specified name doesn't exist yet, Studio creates it.

Associating metrics with a variant

You can configure Apollo Server to associate the metrics it sends to Apollo Studio with a particular variant. To do so, set the APOLLO_GRAPH_REF environment variable to the appropriate variant before initializing Apollo Server.

For example, to associate metrics with the production variant of the docs-example-graph graph:


Make sure you associate metrics with the correct variant! Otherwise, metrics from your staging and test environments might be included in reports for your production graph.

Public variants

You can enable public access for individual variants of your graph. If you do, anyone with that variant's public link can view the following pages for that variant in Studio:

This enables consumers of your graph to learn about your graph's schema and any special usage information (such as authentication details) that you've documented in the public variant's README. They can also run properly authenticated operations against your graph with the Explorer.

People outside your organization can't view any other pages for a public variant (Fields, Operations, etc.), and they can never view any pages for private variants. New variants always start as private.

Making a variant public

Only organization members with the Org Admin or Graph Admin role can toggle a variant's public visibility.

  1. Go to your variant's Settings page and open the This Variant tab.

  2. Find the Public card and click Change:

    Toggle public variant in Studio
  3. Toggle your selection and click Save.

You can toggle the switch back to Off to make the variant private again.

After you make a variant public, you can click the variant's PUBLIC label at the top of Apollo Studio to get its public link:

Public variant label in Studio

Protected variants (Enterprise only)

If you have an Enterprise plan, you can designate particular variants of a graph as protected variants. Making a variant protected specifically affects the ability of users with the Contributor role to make certain changes to the variant:

  • Contributors cannot push schema updates to a protected variant.
  • Contributors cannot manage Explorer-related settings for a protected variant, like setting its URL.
  • Graph API Keys with the Contributor permission cannot report usage metrics to your graph.

These are the only operations (other than creating new protected variants and creating new graphs) that can be performed by Contributors and not by Observers, so one way of thinking of protected variants are that they are variants where Contributors are treated as Observers.

Graph Admins and Org Admins can configure whether a variant is protected from the This Variant tab of the variant's Settings page.

Internal graph visibility (Enterprise only)

For external graph visibility, see Public variants.

By default, deployed graphs are visible to all members of your organization. If you have an Enterprise plan, you can set a deployed graph to instead be visible only to members you invite.

You can configure visibility and grant your organization's members explicit access to your graph from the Access tab of your graph's Settings page.

Note that Org Admins can always see all graphs in your organization.

Transferring graph ownership

You can transfer a graph to a different Studio organization you belong to by visiting the graph's Settings page and changing the graph owner.

Deleting a graph

Deleting a graph cannot be undone!

You can delete a graph from Studio by visiting its Settings page and clicking Delete Graph.

Edit on GitHub
Protocol reference (advanced)
Federated graphs