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Looker documentation will be moving to cloud.google.com in mid-2022!
All the information you rely on will be migrated and all docs.looker.com URLs will be redirected to the appropriate page.
Labs

Labs overview

Looker Labs features are new, in-progress features whose details may change over time. Labs features are split into two categories:

You can choose to use these features or leave them disabled. You’ll see a list of these features on the Labs page in the General section of the Admin panel.

Each feature has a short description underneath it explaining the functionality that it adds to or changes in Looker.

Enabling and disabling Labs features

To enable or disable a feature, click the switch next to the feature name.

Use caution when disabling a Labs feature. If users or developers have relied on the feature to create a certain behavior, disabling the feature will break that functionality.

Current Labs features

Looker supports the following beta and experimental Labs features.

Beta features

Beta Labs features are expected to remain in the product, and errors are expected to be resolved at some point. However, their details may change, and errors may not be fixed with the same speed as they would be for normal features.

Custom buttons for dashboard

This Labs feature is enabled by default.

If this feature is enabled, users can add custom buttons to a dashboard.

If this feature is disabled after users have created buttons on dashboards, the existing buttons will remain; however, users will not be able to create new buttons.

Custom Fields

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

When it’s enabled, this feature lets users with the create_custom_fields permission create additional, temporary fields on the Explore page that (unlike table calculations) become part of the query that is running in the database. Other users can see the new fields if they have the create_custom_fields permission themselves, if they are given the Explore query’s URL, or if they are given access to a Look or dashboard that uses that field.

Use the Custom Fields Labs feature if you want to let some of your business users have these capabilities:

For more information, see the Adding custom fields documentation page.

Dashboards Filter Location Setting

This Labs feature is enabled by default.

When this feature is enabled, users can use the dashboard Settings window to choose to display dashboard filters on a sidebar to the right of the dashboard instead of at the top of the dashboard.

This Labs feature affects whether dashboard creators and editors can use the Settings window in user-defined dashboards. It does not affect the options to set filters to the top or to the right using the API or LookML.

Database Connection Pooling

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature enables the use of preconfigured database connection pools on the Amazon Redshift, PostgreSQL, and Snowflake database dialects.

This option allows Looker to use pools of connections through the JDBC driver. Database connection pooling enables faster query performance; a new query does not need to create a new database connection but can instead use an existing connection from the connection pool. The connection pooling capability ensures that a connection is cleaned up after a query execution and is available for reuse after the query execution ends.

Embed Content Management

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature enables content management features like moving, copying, and deleting content from the new embed navigation pane.

Forecasting

This Labs feature is enabled by default.

This feature enables forecasting in visualizations. Forecasting lets analysts quickly add data projections to new or existing Explore queries to help users predict and monitor specific data points.

Improved LookML Generation

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature improves the LookML generation experience and adds new features like auto-generated measures, inline comment explanations, and a README doc to new LookML projects that are generated from your database.

This feature also adds a Generate LookML from Database option to the + menu in the Looker IDE file browser toolbar.

New Explore Visualizations

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New in Looker 22.10, the New Explore Visualizations Labs feature applies its changes to Looks, embedded Looks, and embedded Explores, in addition to the content it already affects.

The New Explore Visualizations Labs feature is enabled by default.

When this feature is enabled, the Explore page, Looks, embedded Looks or Explores, and dashboard tile edit windows display the same style of funnel chart, timeline, single value, and table visualizations as those that appear on dashboard tiles, instead of the styles that appear in legacy dashboards.

Additionally, when you enable the New Explore Visualizations Labs feature, the drill overlay that appears when you drill into an Explore matches the style of the drill overlay that appears in dashboards, instead of the style that appears in legacy dashboards and Looks.

Render Long Tables

This Labs feature is enabled by default.

This feature reduces the dashboard PDF rendering times for dashboards that contain tables with many rows, by displaying an experimental faster table.

If Render Long Tables is enabled and the Expand Tables to Show All Rows download or schedule option is selected, dashboard tiles that contain table visualizations may look slightly different in downloaded or delivered PDFs than they do inside Looker. The following differences may be noticeable in the PDF:

Additionally, for tables with more than 20,000 cells, the following differences may be noticeable in the PDF:

SQL Runner Vis

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature adds the ability to visualize ad hoc queries from SQL Runner.

Visual Drilling

This Labs feature is enabled by default.

The Visual Drilling Labs feature is not supported by dashboards. For these dashboards, visual drilling is possible through the use of the link parameter without needing to enable the Lab feature.

When Visual Drilling is turned off, the drill overlay always displays the data table.

When Visual Drilling is enabled, the drill overlays for Looks, Explores, and legacy dashboards select the best visualization based on the underlying data, which may be a table visualization or some other visualization type. Or, with Visual Drilling enabled, a drill visualization can be customized by using the link parameter, as shown on the link parameter documentation page and in the More powerful data drilling Help Center article. When the visualization from a drill is not a table, buttons let the user switch between the default visualization type and a data table.

For more information about visualization types, see the Visualization types documentation page.

Experimental features

Experimental Labs features may or may not remain in the product, and errors may or may not be corrected. These experimental features are intended to show you functionality that could be incorporated into Looker in the future. We always welcome your feedback.

BI Engine Optimizations

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

When the BI Engine Optimizations Labs feature is enabled, Looker will generate experimental SQL patterns for certain types of LookML queries. These SQL changes are designed specifically to execute faster on Google BigQuery’s BI Engine, but may provide performance enhancements for all database dialects. This feature should have no effect on query results, only runtime.

Dashboards in Drill Menus

Automatically suggests dashboards with matching filters.

Suggested dashboards will appear in the drill menu. In systems with many dashboards, this feature decreases dashboard performance.

Guided analyses in System Activity

When enabled, the History System Activity Explore displays guided analysis options to leverage a question-and-answer format for performing analyses.

Instant Dashboards

Dashboards display previous data while new queries are run.

If Instant Dashboards are enabled, when a dashboard loads, Looker pulls data from the cache to immediately display data from the previous run. The dashboard issues new queries that run in the background, and dashboard tiles are then updated as new data is retrieved. The spinner icon appears on the top right of each tile that is still loading, indicating that a query is running in the background and that the currently displayed data is from the last time the query was run. This has the advantage of users not seeing a blank dashboard while it’s loading, but the disadvantage of possibly showing stale data while the new queries run. Instant Dashboards are only supported by legacy dashboards.

Enabling Instant Dashboards also affects how long data is stored in the cache, since this feature relies on the existence of cached data to display.

Local Project Import

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

A LookML project can reference files in other locally maintained projects through the use of the local_dependency keyword in a manifest file. Enabling this Labs feature is not required to use the remote_dependency keyword.

New Groups Page

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

The Groups page in the Users section of the Admin menu lists and lets you manage all the user groups on your Looker instance.

When New Groups Page is enabled, the Groups page displays a new, redesigned table and pagination that simplifies group management and increases performance on instances that have a large number of groups. For more information, see the New Groups Page section of the Groups documentation page.

New Users Page

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

The updated Users page in the Users section of the Admin menu lets you manage all the users on your Looker instance.

When New Users Page is enabled, the Users page displays a new, redesigned table and pagination that simplifies user management and increases performance on instances that have a large number of users.

Prerender Iframes (before data loads) for custom visualizations

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature reduces the custom visualization loading time by starting to render the iframe even before query data has been loaded.

Reduce Filter Queries

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature reduces the number of queries that are sent by filters. This moves any filter that requests suggestions into a popover where it will not fetch suggestions until a user clicks on it.

Redux DevTools

This Labs feature is disabled by default.

This feature enables Redux DevTools for debugging application state.

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