Environment variables

Defining environment variables can be useful when you want to avoid persisting sensitive data in your versioning system. These environment variables will be injected in your pipeline steps, and can be retrieved using the native way of your language of choice, e.g. os.environ["MY_VAR"] in Python.

It is possible to define environment variables at the project, pipeline or job level. Defining environment variables with the same name at different levels, will cause the value set in lower priority levels to be overwritten. The hierarchy is as follows (the higher in the list, the higher the priority):

  1. Job environment variables.

  2. Pipeline environment variables.

  3. Project environment variables.

Thus pipeline level environment variables would overwrite project level environment variables. For example, given that MY_VAR=PROJ_VALUE is defined at the project level and MY_VAR=PIP_VALUE at the pipeline level, the value of MY_VAR for interactive pipeline runs is PIP_VALUE.


Keep in mind that environment variables are strings, and will be stored and injected as such. For example the values postgres and "postgres" (as specified in the UI) will be injected as postgres and "postgres" respectively.


Environment variables are persisted within Orchest. Make sure only authorized people have access to your instance and sensible data. See how to setup authentication and how to setup Orchest on the cloud.

Project environment variables

Every variable defined at the project level will be visible to every interactive pipeline run of a pipeline belonging to the project.

You can access your project environment variables through the project settings:

  1. Open the Projects view in the left menu pane.

  2. Click on the row representing the project of interest to get to its settings.

  3. Towards the top you will find the Project environment variables section.

  4. Set your variables.

  5. Make sure to press the blue Save button at the bottom of your screen.

Pipeline environment variables

You can access your pipeline environment variables through the pipeline settings:

  1. Open a pipeline via the Pipelines option in the left menu pane.

  2. Click on Settings in the top right corner.

  3. Click on the Environment variables tab.

  4. Set your variables.

  5. Make sure to press the blue Save button at the bottom of your screen.

Job environment variables

Since a job is related to a pipeline, its environment variables are initialized by merging the project and pipeline env variables; those are the variables that would be defined for an interactive pipeline run of the given pipeline.

You can then edit those variables (or add new ones) before submitting the job. Every pipeline run belonging to the job will have these environment variables set.


Only cron jobs can have their environment variables edited after they have started.

Environment variables inside Notebooks

Environment variables will also be available in kernels that are launched in JupyterLab. To refresh the environment variables for kernels a restart of the interactive session is required. As per usual the environment variables defined at the pipeline level override the project defined environment variables.