Use different columns for valueColumn and filterColumn in a Dropdown Filter


I am trying to understand how exactly the dropdown filter in Kibana works. Since I am able to separately specify columns for valueColumn and filterColumn, I assumed that it would be possible to use one column to display values in the dropdown and another column for the actual filter. But I cannot get this to work, so I was hoping you could clear things up for me.

This is what I am trying to accomplish:

  • There are two indices
    1. One index maps a display name to a UUID (and very possibly stores additional information)
    2. Another index stores some data, where each entry can be mapped to one of the UUIDs
  • On the canvas are
    • a dropdown filter
      • For the sake of clarity the dropdown menu should not display the UUIDs themselves, but their mapped display names
    • a metric element
      • depending on the selection the rows should be filtered based on the UUID
    • both elements are in the same filter group
    • and for testing purposes also two table elements, displaying the currently filtered rows of both indices

Expression for the dropdown filter:

essql query="
    SELECT *
    FROM \"dropdown-example*\"
| dropdownControl valueColumn="uuid" filterColumn="uuid.keyword" filterGroup="myfiltergroup"
| render

Expression for the metric element:

filters group="myfiltergroup" ungrouped=true
| essql query="
    SELECT some_value, id
    FROM \"my-metrics*\"
| math "sum(some_value)"
| metric "Units" 
  metricFont={font size=48 family="'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif" color="#000000" align="center" lHeight=48} 
  labelFont={font size=14 family="'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif" color="#000000" align="center"} metricFormat="0,0.[000]"
| render

And for completeness the expressions for the tables:

filters group="myfiltergroup" ungrouped=true
| essql query="SELECT * FROM \"dropdown-example*\""
| table
| render containerStyle={containerStyle border="1px solid "}
filters group="myfiltergroup" ungrouped=true
| essql query="SELECT * FROM \"my-metrics*\""
| table perPage=50
| render containerStyle={containerStyle border="1px solid "}

I populated the first index with two entries and the second with 15 (please see below for a quick python script).

I set the valueColumn to 'display_name' and the filterColumn to 'uuid.keyword'.

Any selection other then '-- ANY --' now returns zero filtered entries for both indices.

I change the valueColumn from 'display_name' to 'uuid'.

Entries for both indices are now getting properly filtered, but the dropdown values are no longer 'intuitive'.

I also tried this without success with other column types (e.g. the number column 'id').

Quick python script to quickly populate the sample data:

#!/usr/bin/env python

Generate some test data in elastic search, to test in kibana.

import random
from elasticsearch import Elasticsearch

uuids= [

def gen_dropdown_data(es_index_name, es_obj):
    for idx in range(len(uuids)):
        doc = {
            'id': idx,
            'uuid': uuids[idx],
            'display_name': f'Display name {idx}'

        res = es_obj.index(index=es_index_name, doc_type='_doc', id=uuids[idx],

def gen_metrics_data(es_index_name, es_obj):
    for idx in range(15):
        cur_choice = random.randint(0, len(uuids) - 1)

        doc = {
            'id': cur_choice,
            'uuid': uuids[cur_choice],
            'some_value': 1

        res = es_obj.index(index=es_index_name, doc_type='_doc',
                id=idx, body=doc)

def main():
    es = Elasticsearch()
    es_dropdown_index = 'dropdown-example-27x3kf5g'
    es_metrics_index = 'my-metrics-27x3kf5g'

    gen_dropdown_data(es_index_name=es_dropdown_index, es_obj=es)
    gen_metrics_data(es_index_name=es_metrics_index, es_obj=es)

if __name__ == '__main__':

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Hi @steamed_buns

The Value column is the column from your data source that will populate the drop down filter.

The Filter column is the column that the selected value will be used to filter.

So when you do Value Column=display name and Filter Column = uuid then it will do a filter where uuid = selected display name

You can make an element to help you debug what's going on with filters with the expression

filters | render as="debug"

Hope that helps!

Hi @corey.robertson

Thank you for the reply, seems like I truly misunderstood the functionality of this widget. I also tried the tip with render as="debug", but at the moment it didn't really help me debug my problem.

Marked as solved!

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