A hidden Kibana Gem - Static Lookup

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Used:   elasticsearch v6.4.0  kibana v6.4.0 

Kibana v6.4.0 is released. There are major improvements and enhancements. Under all these enhancements, a hidden gem and long-awaited feature is finally available: the Static Lookup Field Formatter.

About Static Lookup

What does it do? It translates document keys into human-friendly semantic values. For instance, think of currencies and countries. A currency or country is unique with its ISO-code. Since all humans are not living dictionaries, it is hard to remember all associations.

For instance, working in the finance sector, this is always familiar:

756CHFSwiss Franc

What about 392? I have to look that up.

392JPYJapanese Yen

Create Data Index

Let me make an example of a dataset. We have currencies and its usage of countries. First I create an index with field mapping.

PUT currencies
  "settings": {
    "index": {
      "number_of_shards": 1,
      "number_of_replicas": 0
  "mappings": {
    "doc": {
      "properties": {
        "code": {
          "type": "keyword"
        "country": {
          "type": "keyword"
  • The code field contains the currency code and is of type keyword.
  • The country field contains an array of countries of type keyword.
  • The choice for the keyword type is mandatory since the Kibana Static Lookup works only for text fields.

Insert Documents

We create documents for CHF, EUR and USD.

PUT currencies/doc/756


PUT currencies/doc/978


PUT currencies/doc/840

Kibana View

Now we add a Kibana Index Pattern for the currencies index. In the discover view you see the raw result.

Kibana without Static Lookup

Configure Static Lookup

Go to the Kibana Index Pattern page and press edit on the field currency and country. Choose the Static Lookup from the list.

Static Lookup Formatter

Enter some values for currencies.

Currency Lookup Values

Enter some values for countries. For this demonstration, we do not require a complete set of translation. This gap is intentional to show the differences.

Country Lookup Values

Examine Lookup

The Kibana fields country should have the field formatter Static Lookup. Below picture shows it only for currency. You should see two entries if you reproduce my example.

Static Lookup

View Results

If you open the Discover Page, you can see the translated values between the untranslated values.

Kibana Results with Static Lookup


One word of advice. Elasticsearch is not a relational database. It is about efficient search. Stop making it look like one.

On the User Interface or Kibana, you should present human-friendly values. With the Static Lookup now we have a standard for this.

I can think of multiple use cases. Think of universal customer id’s that you can translate into semantic names if you don’t have the customer master data in Elasticsearch.

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