Template Variables


Template variables allow you to dynamically filter one or more widgets in a dashboard. You can build saved views from your template variable selections to organize and navigate your visualizations through the dropdown selections.

A template variable is defined by:

  • Tag or Attribute:
  • Name: A unique name for the template variable that appears in queries on the dashboard. Template variables are automatically named after the selected tag or attribute.
  • Default Value: The tag or attribute value that appears automatically when the dashboard is loaded. Defaults to *.
  • Available Values: The tag or attribute values available for selection in the dropdown menu. Defaults to (all). The list of available values always includes *, which queries all values of the tag or attribute.

Add a template variable

To add a template variable in a dashboard:

  1. Click Add Variables.
  2. If template variables are already defined, hover over the dashboard header and click the Edit button to enter edit mode.
  3. In edit mode, click the + (plus) icon to create a new template variable.
  4. (Optional) After selecting a tag, click the + Configure Dropdown Values button to rename the variable and set default or available values.
    Add Variable popover showing the Configure Dropdown Values button

Edit a template variable

To edit a template variable in a dashboard:

  1. Click the Edit button in the dashboard header.
  2. In edit mode, click on a template variable and make changes in the popover.
  3. To rearrange variables in the header, hover over a variable, then click and drag the drag icon handle.
    Template variable edit mode popover showing the drag icon allowing you to rearrange the order

Apply a template variable to widgets

To add a template variable to widget queries:

  1. Click the Edit button in the dashboard header.
  2. In edit mode, click on a template variable to open its popover.
  3. Click Select Widgets to enter widget selection mode.
  4. The banner displays the number of sources using the variable. In the example below, the template variable env is used in 20 graphs on the dashboard:
    Example dashboard displaying confirmation to apply 'env' template variable to 20 widgets
  5. Click on individual widgets to preview the graph with the template variable interpolated.
  6. To add or remove from all widgets in a group, toggle the checkbox on the right corner of the group.
  7. To add or remove from all widgets on the dashboard, click Select All or Deselect All in the selection banner.
  8. Click Save or X in the banner to exit widget selection mode.

Saved views


Click on the Saved Views dropdown menu to the left of the template variables in your dashboard. When you update a template variable value, the value does not automatically save to a view.

Saved views dropdown options to set selected template variables as the default view or a saved view

To save your current template variables’ values in a view, select Save selections as view from the Saved Views dropdown menu. Enter a unique name for the view and click Save.

Your saved view appears in the dropdown menu. Click on the view to retrieve your previously saved template variable values.


To delete a view, click on the saved views dropdown menu and choose Manage views…. From there, a popup with your saved views is displayed with a trash bin icon next to each view. Click the appropriate trash bin icon to delete a view.


To modify the Default view, click on the pencil icon and update the template variable values. Then click Done to save. If any values in the other views are changed, save the values as a new view, and then delete the original view.


Template variables are used in widgets and event overlays.

Logs, APM, and RUM queries

Template variables work with log, APM, and RUM widgets because they share the same tags. You can define log, APM, and RUM template variables based on facets. These variables start with @, for example: @http.status_code.

On log, APM, and RUM widgets, you can use wildcards in the middle of a value (for example, eng*@example.com) or use multiple wildcards in a value (for example, *prod*).

Note: Using Add to all for this type of template variable adds the variable to all log, APM, and RUM widgets.


When creating or editing a widget, existing template variables display as options in the from field. For example, if you configure the environment template variable, the $environment option is available as a dynamic variable in the widget.

Template variable can be set dynamically in widgets

Selecting production for the environment value dynamically scopes widgets with the $environment variable to the production environment.

When you change the value of a template variable, the dashboard URL updates to reflect the template variable value with the format &tpl_var_<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_NAME>=<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_VALUE>. For example, a dashboard with the template variable $env changed to prod would have the URL parameter &tpl_var_env=prod.

To include the value in the query, append it with the syntax $<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_NAME>.value. For example, with a template variable named service, use env:staging-$service.value.

Hover over the template variable fields to see at a quick glance, the widgets that use that variable highlighted on the dashboard.

Associated template variables

When selecting a template variable value, associated values are displayed at the top of the selector. Associated values are calculated from other template variable values selected on the page, and seamlessly identify the related values without any configuration.


For text-based widgets, you can display a template variable’s tag/attribute and value with $<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_NAME>, its key with $<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_NAME>.key, or its value with $<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_NAME>.value. This can come after any non-alphanumeric character, and can be followed by whitespace or any of the following characters: #, $, %, =, ;, ", (, ), [, ], {, }, ^, *, +, |, and ?.

Note: The wildcard syntax is not supported following a template variable.

For example, with a template variable named env, with tag/attribute environment, and with a selected value of dev:

  • $env displays environment:dev
  • $env.key displays environment
  • $env.value displays dev
  • $env* looks for the exact value dev* NOT dev{dynamic-wildcard-value}

Events overlay

Use the events overlay search with template variables to find events that share certain tags with the metrics in your dashboard. The event overlay search is applied through an individual graph.

Values from dashboard template variables can be directly captured by using the $<TEMPLATE_VARIABLE_KEY>.value syntax in the event search field.

Note: Dashboard template variables must be metric tags, not event tags.


From your dashboard, search events with template variables using the format:


For example, searching for region:$region.value with a value of us-east1 for the region template variable displays events tagged with region:us-east1. Additionally, the timing of the events are marked by pink bars in the graphs.

Use commas to search using multiple template variables, for example: role:$role.value,env:$env.value

Note: Once you press enter to search, $region.value updates to the value in the template variable dropdown menu.


From your widgets, overlay the timing of the events using template variables with the format:


For example, enter $region in the event overlays search box. This searches for events with the value in the region template variable dropdown menu.

Further Reading