Docs » Metrics and Metadata » Using the Metric Finder

Using the Metric Finder 🔗

SignalFx’s Metric Finder makes it quick and easy to find the metrics you monitor, across infrastructure and over diverse applications and sources. To open the Metric Finder, click Metrics on the navigation bar.

You can also find metrics while you’re building a dashboard or editing a chart. To learn more see Finding metrics and events.

To read more about searching for metrics by name, or by related attributes like dimensions, see Searching metrics.

To learn about browsing for metrics, see the next section.

Browsing for metrics 🔗

When you click Metrics on the navigation bar, the Metric Finder opens with a browsable list of categories, drawn from your SignalFx integrations and custom categories, if configured. Custom categories help you quickly find metrics related to commonly used dimensions in your organization.


If your administrators have not created any custom categories, the custom categories section will not be visible.


If there are no custom categories, SignalFx administrators will see an option to add them.

When you select a custom category value or integration, a key:value pair is added as a search filter, and a metric search is run. In the following example, we selected the value us-east-1a from a custom category named aws_availability_zone.


If there are more than a few values for a custom category, you can click Show more to see the first 100 results. If you don’t see the value that you’re looking for in the longer list, you can type it in the search field to return more relevant search results.


Adding metric descriptions 🔗

Descriptions can help users understand what metrics are measuring, especially when the names of metrics are jargon or difficult to recognize. If a metric has a description, it is displayed next to the metric in the search results.

Click Edit description to edit the custom description of a metric, or Add description to add a description for a metric that doesn’t have one. When SignalFx provides a description for a metric (for example, from one of our integrations), this built-in description is always shown and is not editable.

Edit description

Descriptions are limited to 1,024 characters. Although the descriptions are included in the search result, the text of metric descriptions is not analyzed by the search.

Viewing metric tooltips 🔗

Hovering over a metric name opens a tooltip that shows information about the metric, including the metric name, description, the time it was created, its type, and the number of time series that it reports (filtered by any filters that have been applied to your search query).

Metric tool tip

Searching metrics 🔗

You can search for metrics using any information you know about what you’re looking for. This could include the name of the metric, the name of a dimension that’s reported along with it, or the value of a dimension or property that is associated with the metric, in any combination. Click Search metrics or hit Enter to run a search. Each search result is the name of a metric. Search results are URL-addressable; you can link to a set of search results using the URL for that search.


The Metric Finder does not support any special search syntax. Any non-alphanumeric characters in search terms are not included in matches (though these characters can be included in filter values). Advanced search operations like combining search terms with boolean operators, wildcard matching in plain text search terms, or exact matches on multiple search terms are not supported.

On the Metrics page, type search terms into the search field:

  • Search whatever you know: part of a metric name, the integration that sends it, or a property of the environment it’s reporting from.
  • Search for metadata (dimensions, properties, and tags) relevant to your target metric.
  • Paste exact values into the search field. For example, search a hostname to find out what’s reporting from the host.

For example, a plaintext search for docker cpu prod will return the top 100 metrics that contained docker, cpu, or prod in their name or metadata. The metric name or metadata will be highlighted to show which search term it matches. The following illustration shows the matches in one search result.


When you’re typing in the search field, you can type in a dot “.” to see a list of possible completions for the prefix you’ve already typed. Keep typing to refine the list of suggested components. Click on a suggested component, or highlight one with the arrow keys and press TAB or Enter to select it.


You can also type in the name of a dimension or property followed by “:” (colon) to see a list of possible values for that key in your data. Keep typing to refine the list of suggestions, then choose one to add it as a filter.


Increasing the number of search results 🔗

If your search did not match any metrics, try changing the query or removing a filter. Shorter search terms (like util) are likely to match more results than longer terms (like utilization). If you don’t see any results using a long search term, try shortening it to a prefix or separating it into a few smaller terms. For example, break NumRequests into num requests.

You can also uncheck Active metrics only to include inactive metrics that are no longer actively sending data to SignalFx in your search. (By default, the Metric Finder will only look for metrics that are actively sending data to SignalFx.) If this control is unchecked, the time series count shown when you hover over a metric name will include matching inactive time series as well as active time series.

Opening a chart from a metric 🔗

When you have found the metric you want, click on the metric name to open the Chart Builder and to start building a new chart with that metric. The new metric plot includes any filters that were part of your search, as well as any matching metadata on the search result that you clicked on. For more information on using the Chart Builder, see Plotting Metrics and Events in the Chart Builder.

Open chart from metric

To return to search results from the new chart, click either the Close button or the Back button in your browser. If you want to save the chart to a dashboard before exiting, click the Save as button.

Managing custom categories 🔗

Use custom categories to browse for metrics using features that are unique to your organization’s data, like custom tags or properties. If you use custom metrics, you can set up custom categories to surface key dimensions from your data to help your users get started. Custom categories are defined for the entire organization. Only SignalFx users with admin privileges will see a button to Add custom categories.


To select dimensions or properties to be displayed as custom categories on the Metrics page, click Add custom categories. The number of categories for each organization is limited. Once the limit has been reached, the “+” button will be disabled. Click Save and close when you have finished adding categories.


The custom categories you added are now available for use on the Metrics page. Clicking Edit lets you add, delete, or update existing custom categories. Non-administrators do not see the option to edit custom categories.