Virtual Assistants Overview
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Concepts and Terminology
Help & Learning Resources
Quick Start Guide
Accessing the Platform
Navigating the XO Platform
Building a Virtual Assistant
Using Workspaces
Release Notes
Current Version
Previous Versions
Request a Feature
Conversation Designer
Dialog Tasks
Mock Scenes
Dialog Tasks
Navigate Dialog Tasks
Build Dialog Tasks
Nodes & Connections
Node Types
Intent Node
Dialog Node
Entity Node
Entity Rules
Form Node
Confirmation Node
Message Nodes
Logic Node
Bot Action Node
Service Node
Webhook Node
Script Node
Process Node
Agent Transfer
Node Connections Setup
Context Object
Sub-Intent Scoping
User Prompts
Voice Call Properties
Dialog Task Management
Event Handlers
Supported Entity Types
Supported Company Names
Supported Colors
Knowledge Graph
Knowledge Extraction
Build Knowledge Graph
Create Node Structure
Build the Graph
Add FAQs
Add FAQs from an Existing Source
Run a Task
Traits, Synonyms, and Stop Words
Manage Variable Namespaces
Update Knowledge Graph
Move Question and Answers Between Nodes
Edit and Delete Terms
Edit Questions and Responses
Knowledge Graph Analysis
Knowledge Graph Import and Export
Prepare Data for Import
From a CSV File
From a JSON File
Importing Knowledge Graph
Exporting Knowledge Graph
Auto-Generate Knowledge Graph
Alert Tasks
Small Talk
Digital Skills
Digital Forms
Digital Views
NLP Optimization
ML Engine
Model Validation
FM Engine
KG Engine
Traits Engine
Ranking and Resolver
Training Validations
NLP Configurations
NLP Guidelines
Default Standard Responses
Contextual Memory
Contextual Intents
Interruption Management
Multi-intent Detection
Amending Entities
Default Conversations
Conversation Driven Dialog Builder
Sentinment Management
Tone Analysis
Test & Debug
Talk to Bot
Utterance Testing
Batch Testing
Conversation Testing
Health and Monitoring
Overview Dashboard
Conversations Dashboard
Users Dashboard
Performance Dashboard
Custom Dashboards
Custom Meta Tags
Create Custom Dashboard
NLP Insights
Conversations History
Conversation Flows
Analytics Dashboard Filters
Usage Metrics
Containment Metrics
Smart Bots
Universal Bots
Universal Bot Definition
Universal Bot Creation
Training a Universal Bot
Universal Bot Customizations
Enabling Languages
Manage Assistant
Plan & Usage
Usage Plans
Support Plans
Multilingual Virtual Assistants
Get Started
Supported Components & Features
Manage Languages
Manage Translation Services
Multiingual Virtual Assistant Behavior
Masking PII Details
IVR Settings
General Settings
Assistant Management
Manage Namespace
Data as Service
Data Table
Table Views
App Definitions
Sharing Data Tables or Views
Build a Travel Planning Assistant
Travel Assistant Overview
Create a Travel Virtual Assistant
Design Conversation Skills
Create an ‘Update Booking’ Task
Create a Change Flight Task
Build a Knowledge Graph
Schedule a Smart Alert
Design Digital Skills
Configure Digital Forms
Configure Digital Views
Train the Assistant
Use Traits
Use Patterns
Manage Context Switching
Deploy the Assistant
Configure Agent Transfer
Use Bot Functions
Use Content Variables
Use Global Variables
Use Web SDK
Build a Banking Assistant
Design Conversation Skills
Create a Sample Banking Assistant
Create a Transfer Funds Task
Create a Update Balance Task
Create a Knowledge Graph
Set Up a Smart Alert
Design Digital Skills
Configure Digital Forms
Configure Digital Views
Add Data to Data Tables
Update Data in Data Tables
Add Data from Digital Forms
Train the Assistant
Composite Entities
Use Traits
Use Patterns for Intents & Entities
Manage Context Switching
Deploy the Assistant
Configure an Agent Transfer
Use Assistant Functions
Use Content Variables
Use Global Variables
Intent Scoping using Group Node
Analyze the Assistant
Create a Custom Dashboard
Use Custom Meta Tags in Filters
API Reference
API Introduction
API List
API Collection
koreUtil Libraries
SDK Reference
SDK Introduction
SDK Security
SDK Registration
Web Socket Connect and RTM
Using the BotKit SDK
BotKit SDK Tutorial - Blue Prism
Widget SDK Tutorial
Web SDK Tutorial
Introduction to Admin Console
Administration Dashboard
User Management
Add Users
Manage Groups
Manage Roles
Assistant Management
Invite Users
Send Bulk Invites
Import User Data
Synchronize Users from AD
Security & Control
Using Single-Sign On
Security Settings
Cloud Connector
  1. Home
  2. Docs
  3. Virtual Assistants
  4. Builder
  5. Dialog Task
  6. Working with Composite Entities

Working with Composite Entities


Introduction & Use Case 

Composite Entities help you capture multiple entity values in a user utterance. These multiple entity values are optional and come in any order in the user utterance.

Let us consider the below example.

A travel agency receives a typical request, which can be of the form:

I am interested in traveling tomorrow from LA to NYC, first class, and I want a window seat.

In such a query, the Virtual Assistant needs to process information such as: travel date, departure city, arrival city, flight class and seat preference, in order to respond to this enquiry.

Each of these multiple values or details come from different independent entities. Composite Entities enable you to combine these independent entities or sub-entities.

How it Works?

When a composite entity reaches the dialog flow:

  • If the input is received as a JSON object, the input JSON object is added to the Context object under the corresponding entity without any analysis.
  • If the input is received as a text input
    • All the possible sub-entities from the defined composite entity patterns are identified.
    • All possible instances of those sub-entities are located in the user utterance and the location recorded.
    • The composite entity patterns are then evaluated to identify the specific pattern that matches the set of sub-entity instances captured.

    i.e. the composite entity pattern is not used to identify the sub-entities but to match the entire pattern.

Composite Entity Patterns

These patterns help you to establish the relationship between the sub-entities. Sub-entities are included in the composite entity using the @ tag, i.e.,@subentity in the composite entity pattern. These sub-entities must be pre-defined and should not be part of the current dialog flow. The sub-entities come from other Dialog Tasks too.

Various patterns like AND, OR, etc,. are built similar to the ones used in defining Entity Patterns (refer here for more).

The Composite Entity values take the form of a JSON object wherein the sub-entities are referenced as properties of that object, i.e. to access a sub-entity value, you can use: {{context.entities.<<composite_entity>>.<<sub_entity>> }}

You can access each of the sub-entities using the structure they are defined with, as they are accessed when used independently of the composite entity. For example, if the sub-entity is of the type Airport, then one can access the airport name as follows: {{context.entities.<<composite_entity>>.<<sub_entity>>.AirportName }}

Create a Composite Entity

Building a composite entity involves the following steps:

  1. Create sub-entities
  2. Establish a relationship between these sub-entities.[/vc_column_text]

Create Sub-Entities

Since the Composite Entity is a combination of other entities, you need to build individual entities in the dialog task. To capture the Flight Information from the above example, you must create sub-entities that capture the required details. Here is a sample mapping of sub-entities for a primary entity called Flight , for which we create a few sub-entities to capture relevant information:


Travel Date

Date: To capture the travel date from the user utterance. The VA recognizes dates automatically.

Departure City

List of Items: To capture the name of the departure city  from the user utterance. As a developer, you must build this list in the entity.

Arrival City 

List of Items: To capture the name of the arrival city from the user utterance. As a developer, you must build this list in the entity.


List of items: : To capture the flight class from the user utterance. As a developer, you must build this list in the entity. 

Seat Preference

List of items: To capture the seat preference from the user. As a developer, you need to build the list in the entity. 

Note: Sub-entities can only be combined into a composite entity and are recommended not to use for any other purpose in the dialog task. If you are creating sub-entities in the current dialog task, remove all transitions to these sub-entities, so that they are not a part of the dialog task flow.


Define a Composite Entity

Add a Composite Entity after a relevant node in the dialog task. To make this entity capture multiple entity values, you need to create Composite Patterns. To create, follow the below steps:

  1. On the Entity window, click the NLP Properties tab.
  2. On the NLP Properties tab, under the Composite Patterns for Entity section, add relevant patterns. The various patterns built are similar to the ones used in defining Entity Patterns (refer here for more).

    For the above composite entity patterns, the following are the sample utterances and the output:
Sample Utterance Corresponding Pattern Output
I want to fly from LA to NY tomorrow, first class with a window seat. @departurecity @arrivalcity @traveldate @class @seatpreference
"Flight": {
"Departure": "LA",
"Arrival": "NYC", "Date": tomorrow,
"class": 1,"Seatpreference": Window,

You can also define the Synonyms and Patterns as with any other entity.



  • The Sub-entity with Description cannot be part of a composite entity.
  • Make sure that the sub-entities are not part of the dialog flow in the task using the composite entity.
  • If the sub-entity allows multi-items, the parent composite entity accepts only one value for the sub-entity and not a list.

Passing Values

You can pass values to composite entities using the entity pre-assignment from source Dialog tasks, refer here for more on entity pre-assignment.

In terms of composite entities following scenarios can be addressed:

  1. From composite to standard entity: Works as long as the target is of the same entity type as the one used in the source composite.
    For example, context.entities.targetMyCity = context.entities.sourceComposite.sourceTravelCity
  2. From composite to composite: As long as the target is of the same entity type as the one used in the source composite.
    For example, context.entities.sourceComposite.destinationCity = context.entities.targetCompsite.myCity
  3. From standard to composite: As long as the target is of the same entity type as the one used in the source composite.
    For example, context.entities.targetCompsite.myCity = context.entities.sourceCity

Post v8.0.07, you can use the Entity Pre-Assignments and Entity Post-Assignments from the Dialog Node, Instance Properties as shown in the image below (the numbers in the below image correspond to the number in the above use case):

JSON Object for Composite Entity

In v8.0 of the platform, the Composite Entity is enhanced to handle the JSON object as input. This helps in handling the scenarios where the enabled channels send data as a JSON object. For example, MS Teams and Cisco Spark channels. The user input received from these channels is stored as a JSON object in the Context object under the respective composite entity name.

To enable the composite entity to handle JSON object data, do not add any Patterns from the NLP Properties tab.