How to Update a Document in Elasticsearch with Python

Elasticsearch is a powerful, open-source search and analytics engine that allows you to store, search, and analyze big volumes of data quickly and in near real-time. It is widely used for log or event data analysis, full-text search, and other applications where fast, scalable search is required. In this article, we'll dive into how you can update a document in Elasticsearch using the Python Elasticsearch client.

Understanding Elasticsearch Documents

Before we jump into updating documents, it's important to understand what a document in Elasticsearch represents. A document is essentially a basic unit of information that can be indexed. It's expressed in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), which is a lightweight data-interchange format. Each document is stored in an index and is assigned a unique ID.

Setting Up Elasticsearch and Python Environment

To follow along, you'll need to have Elasticsearch installed and running on your machine. You'll also need to install the Elasticsearch Python client. You can install the client using pip, Python’s package manager, by running the following command:

pip install elasticsearch

Updating a Document

Let's assume you already have an index named blog with a document that you wish to update. Documents in Elasticsearch can be updated using the update method provided by the Python Elasticsearch client. The update method requires the index name, the document ID, and the new data you want to update the document with.

Here's a simple example:

from elasticsearch import Elasticsearch

# Connect to the Elasticsearch server
es = Elasticsearch("http://localhost:9200")

# Document ID you want to update
doc_id = '1'

# The new data you want to update
doc = {
    "doc": {
        "title": "Updated Title"

# Update the document
es.update(index="blog", id=doc_id, body=doc)

In the above example, we're updating the title of a document in the blog index with the ID of 1. The doc key in the body dictionary is necessary as it indicates the partial document to be updated.

Handling Exceptions

When working with external services like Elasticsearch, it's crucial to handle exceptions that may occur during the operation. The Elasticsearch client for Python throws an elasticsearch.NotFoundError exception if the document or index does not exist. It’s a good practice to handle this and other potential exceptions to avoid crashing your application.

from elasticsearch import Elasticsearch, NotFoundError

    es.update(index="blog", id="non_existing_id", body=doc)
except NotFoundError:
    print("Document or index not found")


Updating documents in Elasticsearch using the Python client is straightforward once you understand the basics of Elasticsearch documents and indices. Remember to handle exceptions properly to build robust applications. With this knowledge, you can now efficiently manage and update your data stored in Elasticsearch.

Elasticsearch offers a wealth of features for working with large datasets, and mastering its usage with Python can significantly enhance your data processing and search capabilities. Happy coding!