Use Live Tail to view logs in near real time - Amazon CloudWatch Logs
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China (PDF).

Use Live Tail to view logs in near real time

CloudWatch Logs Live Tail helps you quickly troubleshoot incidents by viewing a streaming list of new log events as they are ingested. You can view, filter, and highlight ingested logs in near real time, helping you to detect and resolve issues quickly. You can filter the logs based on terms you specify, and also highlight logs that contain specified terms to help you quickly find what you are looking for.

Live Tail sessions incur costs by session usage time, per minute. For more information about pricing, see the Logs tab at Amazon CloudWatch Pricing.


Live Tail is supported only for log groups in the Standard log class. For more information about log classes, see Log classes.

The following sections explain how to use Live Tail in the console. You can also start a Live Tail session programatically. For more information, see StartLiveTail. For SDK examples, see Start a Live Tail session using an Amazon SDK.

Start a Live Tail session

You use the CloudWatch console to start a Live Tail session. The following procedure explains how to start a Live Tail session by using the Live tail option in the left navigation pane. You can also start Live Tail sessions from the Log Groups page or the CloudWatch Logs Insights page.


If you are using data protection policies to mask sensitive data in a log group that you are viewing with Live Tail, the sensitive data always appears masked in the Live Tail session. For more information about masking sensitive data in log groups, see Help protect sensitive log data with masking.

To start a Live Tail session
  1. Open the CloudWatch console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Logs, Live tail.

  3. For Select log groups, select the log groups that you want to view events from, in the Live Tail session. You can select as many as 10 log groups.

  4. (Optional) If you selected only one log group, you can filter your Live Tail session further by selecting one or more log streams to view log events from. To do so, under Select log streams, select the names of the log streams from the drop down list. Alternatively, you can use the second box under Select log streams to enter a log stream name prefix, and then all log streams with names that match the prefix will be selected.

  5. (Optional) To display only log events that contain certain words or other strings, enter the word or string in Add filter patterns.

    For example, to display only log events that include the word Warning, enter Warning. The filters field is case-sensitive. You can include multiple terms and pattern operators in this field:

    • error 404 displays only log events that include both error and 404

    • ?Error ?error displays log events that include either Error or error

    • -INFO displays all log events that don't include INFO

    • { $.eventType = "UpdateTrail" } displays all JSON log events where the value of the event type field is UpdateTrail

    You can also use regular expression (regex) to filter:

    • %ERROR% uses regex to display all log events consisting of the ERROR keyword

    • { $.names = %Steve% } uses regex to display JSON log events where Steve is in the property "name"

    • [ w1 = %abc%, w2 ] uses regex to display space-delimited log events where the first word is abc

    For more information about pattern syntax, see Filter pattern syntax.

  6. (0ptional) To highlight some of the displayed log events, enter a term to search for and highlight under Live Tail. Enter highlight terms one at a time. If you add multiple terms to highlight, a different color is assigned to represent each term. A highlight indicator is displayed to the left of any log event that contains the specified term, and also appears under the term itself when you expand the log event in the main window to view the full log event.

    You can use filtering along with highlighting to quickly troubleshoot issues. For example, you might filter the events to display only the events that contain Error, and then also highlight the events that contain 404.

  7. To start the session, choose Apply filters

    Matching log events begin appearing in the window. The following information is also displayed:

    • The timer displays how long the Live Tail session has been active.

    • events/sec displays how many ingested log events per second match the filters that you have set.

    • To keep the session from scrolling too fast because many events match the filters, CloudWatch Logs might display only some matching events. If this happens, the percentage of matching events that are displayed on screen is shown in % displayed.

  8. To pause the flow of events to investigate what is currently displayed, click anywhere in the events window.

  9. During the session, you can use the following to see more details about each log event.

    • To display the entire text for a log event in the main window, choose the arrow next to that log event.

    • To display the entire text for a log event in a side window, choose the + magnifying glass next to that log event. The event flow pauses and the side window appears.

      Displaying a log event text in the side window can be useful to compare its text to other events in the main window.

  10. To stop the Live Tail session, choose Stop.

  11. To restart the session, optionally use the Filter panel to modify the filtering criteria, and choose Apply filters. Then choose Start.