Launch Timeline from investigation guidesedit

Detection rule investigation guides suggest steps for triaging, analyzing, and responding to potential security issues. For custom rules, you can create an interactive investigation guide that includes buttons for launching runtime queries in Timeline, using alert data and hard-coded literal values. This allows you to start detailed Timeline investigations directly from an alert using relevant data.

Interactive investigation guides are compatible between Elastic Stack versions 8.7.0 and later. Query buttons created in 8.6.x use different syntax and won’t render correctly in later versions, and vice versa.

Alert details flyout with interactive investigation guide

Under the Investigation section, click Show investigation guide to open the Investigation tab in the left panel of the alert details flyout.

Alert details flyout with interactive investigation guide

The Investigation tab displays query buttons, and each query button displays the number of event documents found. Click the query button to automatically load the query in Timeline, based on configuration settings in the investigation guide.

Timeline with query pre-loaded from investigation guide action

Add investigation guide actions to a ruleedit

You can only create interactive investigation guides with custom rules because Elastic prebuilt rules can’t be edited. However, you can duplicate a prebuilt rule, then configure the investigation guide for the duplicated rule.

You can configure an interactive investigation guide when you create a new rule or edit an existing rule.

  1. When configuring the rule’s settings (the About rule step for a new rule, or the About tab for an existing rule), expand the Advanced settings, then scroll down to the Investigation guide Markdown editor.

    Investigation guide editor field
  2. Place the editor cursor where you want to add the query button in the investigation guide, then select the Investigate icon (Investigate icon) in the toolbar. The Add investigation query builder form appears.

    Add investigation guide UI
  3. Complete the query builder form to create an investigation query:

    1. Label: Enter the text to appear on the query button.
    2. Description: (Optional) Enter additional text to include with the button.
    3. Filters: Select fields, operators, and values to build the query. Click OR or AND to create multiple filters and define their relationships.

      To use a field value from the alert as a query parameter, enter the field name surrounded by double curly brackets — such as {{kibana.alert.example}} — as a custom option for the filter value.

      Add investigation guide UI
    4. Relative time range: (Optional) Select a time range to limit the query, relative to the alert’s creation time.
  4. Click Save changes. The syntax is added to the investigation guide editor.

    If you need to change the query button’s configuration, you can either edit the syntax directly in the editor (refer to the syntax reference below), or delete the syntax and use the query builder form to recreate the query.

  5. Save and enable the rule.
Query button syntaxedit

The following syntax defines a query button in an interactive investigation guide.

Field Description

!{investigate{ }}

The container object holding all the query button’s configuration attributes.


Identifying text on the button.


Additional text included with the button.


A two-level nested array that defines the query to run in Timeline. Similar to the structure of queries in Timeline, items in the outer level are joined by an OR relationship, and items in the inner level are joined by an AND relationship.

Each item in providers corresponds to a filter created in the query builder UI and is defined by these attributes:

  • field: The name of the field to query.
  • excluded: Whether the query result is excluded (such as is not one of) or included (is one of).
  • queryType: The query type used to filter events, based on the filter’s operator. For example, phrase or range.
  • value: The value to search for. Either a hard-coded literal value, or the name of an alert field (in double curly brackets) whose value you want to use as a query parameter.
  • valueType: The data type of value, such as string or boolean.

relativeFrom, relativeTo

(Optional) The start and end, respectively, of the relative time range for the query. Times are relative to the alert’s creation time, represented as now in date math format. For example, selecting Last 15 minutes in the query builder form creates the syntax "relativeFrom": "now-15m", "relativeTo": "now".

Some characters must be escaped with a backslash, such as \" for a quotation mark and \\ for a literal backslash. Divide Windows paths with double backslashes (for example, C:\\Windows\\explorer.exe), and paths that already include double backslashes might require four backslashes for each divider. A clickable error icon (Error icon) displays below the Markdown editor if there are any syntax errors.

Example syntaxedit
  "label": "Test action",
  "description": "Click to investigate.",
  "providers": [
      {"field": "", "excluded": false, "queryType": "phrase", "value": "{{}}", "valueType": "string"}
      {"field": "event.action", "excluded": false, "queryType": "phrase", "value": "rename", "valueType": "string"},
      {"field": "", "excluded": false, "queryType": "phrase", "value": "{{}}", "valueType": "string"}
  "relativeFrom": "now-15m",
  "relativeTo": "now"

This example creates the following Timeline query, as illustrated below:

( : <alert value>)
OR (event.action : "rename" AND : <alert value>)

Timeline query
Timeline template fieldsedit

When viewing an interactive investigation guide in contexts unconnected to a specific alert (such a rule’s details page), queries open as Timeline templates, and parameter fields are treated as Timeline template fields.

Timeline template