Splunk Multi-value csv lookups

1 minute read

This is a TIL post. Thanks to Matt, Duane, and Dave H for this.

Turns out there is a hidden option (supported, but not in docs) for Splunk’s outputlookup command.

Namely, the option output_format which has the following values:

  • splunk_sv_csv (default)
  • splunk_mv_csv

What does this do? This controls how Splunk will output fields in a lookup, and allow you to output fields in a correct multi-value fashion.

Here’s an example. Let’s say we have a field where we might have a different values, but we want to have one entry from a lookup command. Without a properly formatted multi-value aware lookup file, you would have to have two entries. Let’s look at some searches.

Normal CSV lookup

To create a sample lookup, we can use:

| makeresults | eval foo=mvappend("yomama","mymama"), bar="sofat" | fields - _time| outputlookup mylookup.csv

The resulting mylookup.csv looks like this:


Notice the newline in the results.

If we try to perform a lookup against it, won’t work:

| makeresults | eval foo="mymama" | lookup mylookup.csv foo

This results in an empty bar field.

MV CSV lookup

If we create a mv lookup:

| makeresults | eval foo=mvappend("yomama","mymama"), bar="sofat" | fields - _time| outputlookup mymvlookup.csv output_format=splunk_mv_csv

The resulting CSV looks like this:


So, lets use that in a lookup:

| makeresults | eval foo="mymama" | lookup mymvlookup.csv foo

Bringo. We get some results:

mv lookup results