Create Annotations in Kibana

Our step-by-step guide to highlight key information or anomalies in a Time Series visualization.

Create Annotations Kibana Guide

The TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Learn how we at reelyActive use Kibana annotations in TSVB visualisations to highlight specific occupancy and behaviour events.

What will this accomplish?
An annotated visualisation which highlights specific information such as the opening of a door.
Is there an easier way?
Manual observation and analysis using pen and paper?
So why would I read this?
To learn both how and why to annotate specific events in a TSVB visualisation.


reelyActive open source software with Elasticsearch and Kibana.

In order for there to be data to visualise, the reelyActive software must also have collected and written raddec data to Elasticsearch.

Selecting a TSVB visualisation   Step 1 of 2

Select an existing TSVB visualisation to which annotations should be added.

The annotations feature is only available in Time Series Visual Builder (TSBV) in Kibana.
Why Kibana?
Kibana makes it easy to visualise data from an Elasticsearch database, where the source data is stored.

Open Kibana and then:

  1. Select a TSVB visualization from the Visualize tab or Dashboard tab
  2. Click the gear icon
  3. Select Edit visualization
Add annotations

The TSVB visualization will open on the Metrics tab. The next step will be to define a meaningful annotation.

Add annotations

Adding annotations   Step 2 of 2

Define a meaningful annotation by filtering data and adding it to the visualisation

Why annotate?
To help users track information and deepen their understanding of visualisation.
Why filter the data?
Filtering removes data that is repetitive or irrelevant.

From the TSVB visualization:

  1. Click the third tab: Annotations from the main page
  2. Click the Add data source button
Add annotations

From the Annotations tab:

  1. Select your Index pattern
  2. Choose timestamp in the Time field
  3. Enter your query string in the Search area, by clicking in the Search area Kibana suggests filters
  4. Select an icon that will be display each time the event will appear
  5. Enter the Field that corresponds to your query
  6. Enter a text which will be displayed each time the mouse is over an event.

You should be able to visualise the annotations as below:

Add annotations

Annotations can be added to the TSVB visualisations of a space occupancy dashboard, such as that below.

Kibana dashboard example
Elastic Search Award

Winner of a 2020 Elastic Search Award!

For our innovation of making physical spaces searchable like the web.

Where to next?

Create other visualizations, or continue exploring our open architecture and all its applications.