"Getting started" topic for new users who have been given dashboards with data?

I'm about to distribute (to a specific set of interested users) a Docker image that contains:

  • Elastic Stack
  • Some dashboards
  • Some data for use with those dashboards

Some of the users might be new to Kibana. (Docker, too.)

I've prepared a readme that essentially consists of:

  1. A link to the Docker website, to get Docker.
  2. A docker run command, to get the image and start a container.
  3. A Kibana URL that shows the list of dashboards, with a time range that matches the supplied data (the user might have to change the host name, and possibly also the port number).

So: the user installs Docker, enters a docker run command, browses to a list of dashboards, clicks a dashboard title, and then sees that dashboard populated with sample data.

A new Kibana user might ask: what now?

In the readme, I'd like to include a link to an appropriate "getting started" resource for such users: users who are new to Kibana and have been given dashboards with data. They don't need to know how to get data in or how to create visualizations and dashboards. They need to know how to "use" dashboards and how to navigate the supplied data, including (these are just a few examples):

  • Marquee-selecting within a date histogram to "zoom in" on a shorter time range (and how auto-interval visualizations adjust to the shorter time range).
  • Clicking items, such as tags in tag clouds or labels in legends, to create filters.
  • Creating custom filters.

I've Googled for such a resource, but haven't found one. Sure, the Kibana User's Guide covers all of the above and more, but mixed in with topics that these users don't need to know.

Suggestions, URLs welcome.

Hi Graham, thanks for the detailed explanation of what you're looking for! This is absolutely an area of Kibana that needs improvement, and we're currently working on a new getting started experience and in-app help system. I think we'll be able to address your needs with these new features. In the meantime, I think the best option you have is to compile a list of links to specific parts of the User's Guide, and sharing that with your users.


Hi CJ, thanks, I look forward to those new features. In the meantime, I'll do as you recommend.

Closely related to in-app help, but perhaps not quite the same: I've been thinking how to provide ("contextual"?) help for dashboards and visualizations (as in: what does this dash/viz tell me? what can I do with that information?). One idea that occurred to me is an optional "Help" property on dash/viz (perhaps even search) objects whose value would be the ID of a Markdown visualization; if that property has a value, the dash/viz/search shows a help (?) icon in the top-right corner; click the icon to view the Markdown viz. I don't have a clear idea of how to display that Markdown viz in this context: pop up, sidebar? I wouldn't want to permanently add such "help" viz's to each dashboard; too much clutter, and I'm no fan of scrolling regions with scrolling regions.

Hi again CJ,

I just went looking in the Kibana User's Guide for topics that describe the features I mentioned in my original post:

I've not had much success.

The only topic I have found that covers any of them is Filtering by Field, which contains instructions "To manually add a filter", which effectively covers "Creating custom filters" (albeit, in the context of the Discover page, rather than a dashboard).

I can't find any topics in the User's Guide that explicitly mention:

  • Marquee-selecting within a date histogram to “zoom in” on a shorter time range (and how auto-interval visualizations adjust to the shorter time range).
  • Clicking items, such as tags in tag clouds or labels in legends, to create filters.

These are really nice features that I'd like new Kibana users (of my dashboards) to know about. I realize I'm very likely just overlooking the topics in which these features are described. But they're eluding me. Could you please do me a favor and point me to the User's Guide topics that cover these features?

Hi Graham, I took a look and couldn't find anything either. I don't think these docs exist yet.

If you're interested, we'd welcome with open an arms a pull request to address this discrepancy. You can clone Kibana and make changes to the asciidoc files in the docs/ directory. Then you can clone our documentation tooling and refer to the README for steps on how to build and view the docs locally. This is what I'm running in Terminal to do this:

/path/to/docs/build_docs.pl --doc /path/to/kibana/docs/index.asciidoc --open

If you do decide to submit a PR, please feel free to ping me (@cjcenizal) and I can help get the appropriate reviewers involved so we can merge and publish your changes quickly.


Hi CJ, thanks for checking for those topics, and also for the invitation and the details. Yes, I'm interested, and I would get a real kick of out contributing directly to the Kibana docs. Realistically, though, it's unlikely I'll have time to do that in the short term; I'm very busy at work. (Who isn't, who has a job?!) But I will if I can.

In case it's of any interest to you or other members of the Elastic team, here's a link to the Docker image I mentioned in my original post, demonstrating some (admittedly relatively simple) Kibana 5.5 dashboards, with sample data:
Operations Analytics for z/OS in Elastic.

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