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Adding Information to a Dashboard


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In addition to standard chart types, such as graphs or lists, dashboards can also contain two special chart types – text notes, and event feeds.

Adding a text note to a dashboard

A text note is a type of chart. A text note in a dashboard can be useful when you want to include explanatory information about the chart for future reference. For example, you could display links to external references related to the charts in context.

To add a text note to a dashboard, you can do any of the following:

  • Select Text Note from the Create menu.
  • Click New Text Note in the New Chart placeholder image that is at the bottom of every dashboard.
  • While in the Chart Builder, choose Text Note as your chart type.

You will see a text or markdown editor, which shows some tips on creating markdown.

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Markdown is high-level plaintext format which is converted into HTML. This cheatsheet on Markdown syntax can further help guide what you do in the editor.

In the text/markdown editor, you can clear the tips and write your own text or markdown. A preview will be on the right hand side of the text editor.

If you don’t have write permissions for the dashboard you are viewing, or you are in a built-in dashboard, you will have to use Save as to save the text note.

Adding an event feed chart to a dashboard

An event feed chart shows a list of events that meet criteria you specify, including:

  • events created when a detector triggers or clears an alert
  • custom events that you have manually created in SignalFx
  • custom events that have been sent in from an external source

You can use the Metrics Sidebar to quickly add simple event feed charts to your dashboard (see Finding metrics and events). (Click the Events checkbox in the Metrics Sidebar to include only events in your search results.)

To add charts with more robust event feeds to a dashboard, open the dashboard and then select Chart from the dashboard’s Actions menu. (Alternately, you can click New Chart in the placeholder image at the bottom of every dashboard.) From the chart type selector, select Event Feed. The process for adding an event to an event feed chart is identical to Displaying events as they occur.

If you don’t have write permissions for the dashboard you are viewing, or you are in a built-in dashboard, you will have to use Save as to save the chart.

You can add multiple event types to the feed by adding a new plot line for each event. Events will be listed in the feed in reverse chronological order.

If you add events generated when a detector triggered an alert, the severity of the alert will be shown in the feed.

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Click Save As to save the event feed to the dashboard; it will be placed at the bottom of the dashboard. Once in the dashboard, the event feed can be moved and resized like any other chart. You can also click on custom events listed in the feed to edit or delete them.

When you hover over an event in a dashboard’s event feed chart, a vertical line will be displayed in all the charts at the time the event occurred. This feature makes it easy for you to visualize correlations between metric values and the event. (Of course, a line is displayed only when the event occurred during the time frame displayed in the dashboard.)

You can export the contents of an event feed chart to a JSON object from the chart’s Actions menu. The most recent events that occurred during the time range of the chart will be exported, up to a maximum of 1000 events.

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Overlaying event markers on charts in a dashboard

As discussed in Finding metrics and events and Seeing events on a chart, you can display event markers on a chart by adding the event as a plot. This option works fine when you always want to see those events on the chart, but if you want to see the events on multiple charts, you have to add a plot for the event to every chart on which you want to see it.

Instead of manually adding plots for events to multiple charts, you can overlay events onto all charts in a dashboard. This lets you show event markers on the fly while viewing a dashboard. You can select multiple events to display, including events that are triggered by a detector, SessionLog events, and custom events.

For background information on events, see View Additional Data with Events.

To select events to display on a dashboard, click Event Overlay.

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If you (or someone else) in your organization has specified suggested events to choose from, these will be displayed in a dropdown menu. To search for other events, begin typing in the Event Overlay search box. As you type, matching events are shown in the dropdown menu.

Tip

If you aren’t sure of the names of events you want to overlay, you can display the Events sidebar to see a list of the most recent events. Click the Show Sidebar icon, then select the Events tab.

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In the Event Overlay dropdown list, select the event(s) you want to overlay onto the dashboard, then click Show events. (You may have to scroll to the bottom of the event list to see Show events.)

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If events have occurred in the time frame for the charts in the dashboard, event markers will be displayed, as shown below. In this illustration, the event we searched for was “Analytics Worker Overloaded”.

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By default, events shown in the Events sidebar will be filtered to show only the events that are being overlaid on the dashboard. To remove the filter, click Show All Events.

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To close the Events sidebar, click the Close Sidebar icon.

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If you want the overlaid events to persist when the dashboard is next opened, click Save to save the dashboard with the overlay, or use Save As from the dashboard’s Actions menu to create a new version of the dashboard with the overlaid events displayed.

Suggesting overlay events for a dashboard

Depending on which charts are on a dashboard, there might be certain events that are regularly overlaid onto the charts. For example, on a system stats dashboard, users might generally want to see events related to high CPU utilization or low disk space. To make it quick and easy for users to overlay these events, you (or anyone in your organization) can specify events that will be suggested by default for that dashboard in the Event Overlay selector.

To manage suggested events, select Event Overlay Suggestions from the dashboard’s Actions menu. The Event Overlay tab will be displayed.

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Click Add event to add a new event to the suggested events list. (If you can’t edit events, you are in a built-in dashboard or a read-only dashboard.) Search for the event just as you would when adding an overlay to the dashboard. You can also specify a filter and name for the event, the color that should be used for the event (available only for custom events), and whether vertical lines are displayed at times where event markers are shown.

The following illustrations show an example of adding a custom event as a suggested overlay event, and how the events would look on the dashboard.

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