Add entities to extract data

Create entities to extract key data from user utterances in Language Understanding (LUIS) apps. Extracted entity data is used by your client application to fullfil customer requests.

The entity represents a word or phrase inside the utterance that you want extracted. Entities describe information relevant to the intent, and sometimes they are essential for your app to perform its task. You can create entities when you add an example utterance to an intent or apart from (before or after) adding an example utterance to an intent.


This document uses the preview LUIS portal.

Plan entities, then create and label

Machine-learned entities can be created from the example utterances or created from the Entities page.

In general, a best practice is to spend time planning the entities before creating a machine-learned entity in the portal. Then create the machine-learned entity from the example utterance with as much detail in the subcomponents and descriptors and constraints as you know at the time. The decomposable entity tutorial demonstrates how to use this method.

As part of planning the entities, you may know you need text-matching entities (such as prebuilt entities, regular expression entities, or list entities). You can create these from the Entities page before they are labeled in example utterances.

When labeling, you can either label individual entities then build up to a parent machine-learned entity. Or you can start with a parent machine-learned entity and decompose into child entities.


Label all words that may indicate an entity, even if the words are not used when extracted in the client application.

Creating an entity before or with labeling

Use the following table to understand which entities where to create or add each entity to the app.

Entity type Where to create entity in the LUIS portal
Machine-learned entity Entities or Intent detail
List entity Entities or Intent detail
Regular expression entity Entities
Pattern.any entity Entities
Prebuilt entity Entities
Prebuilt domain entity Entities

You can create all the entities from the Entities page, or you can create a couple of the entities as part of labeling the entity in the example utterance on the Intent detail page. You can only label an entity in an example utterance from the Intent detail page.

Create a machine-learned entity

To take advantage of decomposable concepts, start with the machine-learned entity. Follow the machine-learned entity tutorial for steps on how to create this type of entity including examples of:

Create a text-matching entity

Use text-matching entities provide several ways to extract data:

Text-matching entities Purpose
List entity list of canonical names along with synonyms as alternative forms
Regular expression entity match text using a regular expression entity
Prebuilt entity match common data types such as number, email, date
Prebuilt domain entity match using selected subject domains
Pattern.any to match entities that may be easily confused with the surrounding text

Prebuilt entities work without providing any custom training data. The other entities need you to provide either customer training data (such as List entity's items) or an expression (such as a regular expression or pattern.any).

How to create a new custom entity

  1. In the LUIS portal, goto the Manage section, then the Entities page.
  2. Select + Create, then select the entity type.
  3. Continue configuring the entity then select Create when you are done.

Add list entities for exact matches

List entities represent a fixed, closed set of related words. While you, as the author, can change the list, LUIS won't grow or shrink the list. You can also import to an existing list entity using a [list entity .json format(

The following list demonstrates the canonical name and the synonyms.

Color - list item name Color - synonyms
Red crimson, blood, apple, fire-engine
Blue sky, azure, cobalt
Green kelly, lime

Use the procedure to create a list entity. Once the list entity is created, you don't need to label example utterances in an intent. List items and synonyms are matched using exact text.

  1. From the Build section, select Entities in the left panel, and then select + Create.

  2. In the Create an entity type dialog box, enter the name of the entity, such as Colors and select List.

  3. In the Create a list entity dialog box, in the Add new sublist...., enter the list item name, such as Green, then add synonyms.

    Create a list of colors as a list entity in the Entity detail page.

  4. When you are finished adding list items and synonyms, select Create.

    When you are done with a group of changes to the app, remember to Train the app. Do not train the app after a single change.


    This procedure demonstrates creating and labeling a list entity from an example utterance in the Intent detail page. You can also create the same entity from the Entities page.

Add a role for an entity

A role is a named subtype of an entity, based on context.

Add a role to distinguish different contexts

In the following utterance, there are two locations, and each is specified semantically by the words around it such as to and from:

Pick up the package from Seattle and deliver to New York City.

In this procedure, add origin and destination roles to a prebuilt geographyV2 entity.

  1. From the Build section, select Entities in the left panel.

  2. Select + Add prebuilt entity. Select geographyV2 then select Done. This adds a prebuilt entity to the app.

    If you find that your pattern, when it includes a Pattern.any, extracts entities incorrectly, use an explicit list to correct this problem.

  3. Select the newly added prebuilt geographyV2 entity from the Entities page list of entities.

  4. To add a new role, select + next to No roles added.

  5. In the Type role... textbox, enter the name of the role Origin then enter. Add a second role name of Destination then enter.

    Screenshot of adding Origin role to Location entity

    The role is added to the prebuilt entity but isn't added to any utterances using that entity.

Label text with a role in an example utterance

  1. Go to the Intent details page, which has example utterances that use the role.

  2. To label with the role, select the entity label (solid line under text) in the example utterance, then select View in entity palette from the drop-down list.

    Screenshot of selecting View in entity Palette

    The entity palette opens to the right.

  3. Select the entity, then go to the bottom of the palette and select the role.

    Screenshot of selecting View in entity Palette

Add a pattern.any entity

Pattern.any entities are only valid in patterns, not intents' example utterances. This type of entity helps LUIS find the end of entities of varying length and word choice. Because this entity is used in a pattern, LUIS knows where the end of the entity is in the utterance template.

Steps to create a pattern.any entity

  1. From the Build section, select Entities in the left panel, and then select + Create.

  2. In the Choose an entity type dialog box, enter the entity name in the Name box, and select Pattern.Any as the Type then select Create.

    Once you create a pattern utterance using this entity, the entity is extracted with a combined machine-learned and text-matching algorithm.

Create a pattern template utterance to use pattern.any entity

To use the pattern.any entity, add a pattern on the Patterns page, in the Improve app performance section, with the correct curly brace syntax, such as Where is **{HumanResourcesFormTitle}** on the server?.

If you find that your pattern, when it includes a Pattern.any, extracts entities incorrectly, use an explicit list to correct this problem.

Do not change entity type

LUIS does not allow you to change the type of the entity because it doesn't know what to add or remove to construct that entity. In order to change the type, it is better to create a new entity of the correct type with a slightly different name. Once the entity is created, in each utterance, remove the old labeled entity name and add the new entity name. Once all the utterances have been relabeled, delete the old entity.

Next steps

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