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Column-level lineage#

For assets that produce database tables, column-level lineage can be a powerful tool for improving collaboration and debugging issues. Column lineage enables data and analytics engineers alike to understand how a column is created and used in your data platform.

How it works#

Emitted as materialization metadata, column lineage can be:

  • Specified on assets defined in Dagster
  • Enabled for assets loaded from integrations like dbt

Dagster uses this metadata to display the column's upstream and downstream dependencies, accessible via the asset's details page in the Dagster UI. Note: Viewing column-level lineage in the UI is a Dagster+ feature.

Enabling column-level lineage#

For assets defined in Dagster#

To enable column-level lineage on Dagster assets that produce database tables, you'll need to:

  1. Return a MaterializeResult object containing a metadata parameter
  2. In metadata, use the dagster/column_lineage key to create a TableColumnLineage object
  3. In this object, use TableColumnLineage.deps_by_column to define a list of columns
  4. For each column, use TableColumnDep to define its dependencies. This object accepts asset_key and column_name arguments, allow you to specify the name of the asset and column that make up the dependency.

Let's take a look at an example:

from dagster import (

@asset(deps=[AssetKey("source_bar"), AssetKey("source_baz")])
def my_asset():
    yield MaterializeResult(
            "dagster/column_lineage": TableColumnLineage(
                    "new_column_foo": [
                    "new_column_qux": [

When materialized, the my_asset asset will create two columns: new_column_foo and new_column_qux.

The new_column_foo column is dependent on two other columns:

  1. column_bar from the source_bar asset
  2. column_baz from the source_baz asset

And the second column, new_column_qux has is dependent on column_quuz from the source_bar asset.

If using Dagster+, you can view the column-level lineage in the Dagster UI.

For assets loaded from integrations#

Column-level lineage is currently supported for the dbt integration. Refer to the dbt documentation for more information.

Viewing column-level lineage in the Dagster UI#

Viewing column lineage in the UI is a Dagster+ feature.
  1. In the Dagster UI, open the Asset details page for an asset with column-level lineage enabled.

  2. Navigate to the Overview tab if it isn't already open.

  3. In the Columns section, click the branch icon in the row of the column you want to view. The icon is on the far right side of the row:

    Highlighted column lineage icon in the Asset details page of the Dagster UI

The graph will display the column's column dependencies, grouped by asset:

Column lineage for a credit_utilization column in the Dagster UI

To view another column's lineage, click the Column dropdown and select another column.

APIs in this guide#

@assetA decorator used to define assets.
MaterializeResultAn object representing a successful materialization of an asset.
TableColumnLineageClass that defines column outputs to column inputs for a tabular asset.
TableColumnDepObject that represents a column in an asset.