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Cross-filtering dashboards

Cross-filtering is available only for dashboards; it is not available for legacy dashboards.

Cross-filtering makes it easier and more intuitive for viewers of dashboards to interact with a dashboard’s data and understand how one metric affects another. With cross-filtering, users can click a data point in one dashboard tile to have all dashboard tiles automatically filter on that value.

Multiple cross-filters can be created at one time, and cross-filters can be used in conjunction with standard dashboard filters.

Enabling cross-filtering on dashboards

Cross-filtering requires two setup steps: first, a Looker admin must turn on the appropriate Labs features; and then cross-filtering must be enabled on each dashboard individually.

Enabling the Labs feature

To enable cross-filtering on dashboards, first your Looker admin must enable the Cross-filtering Labs feature. As of Looker 7.18, the Cross-filtering Labs feature defaults to on.

Enabling cross-filtering for individual dashboards

Once the Labs feature is enabled, cross-filtering must be turned on for each dashboard individually.

All dashboard tiles must be created from the same Explore for cross-filtering to be turned on successfully.

You can turn on cross-filtering on a dashboard with the following steps:

  1. Make sure you have the Manage Access, Edit access level for the dashboard.
  2. Enter the dashboard’s edit mode by selecting Edit dashboard from the three-dot dashboard menu.
  3. Once in edit mode, click Filters in the purple toolbar at the top of the dashboard, and then enable the Cross-filtering switch.

  4. If the dashboard contains any unsupported visualization types, a pop-up window appears to indicate that the dashboard contains tiles that cannot initiate cross-filtering:


    Click OK to continue enabling cross-filters.
  5. Click Save in the toolbar.

Once cross-filtering is enabled on an instance and a dashboard, you can create cross-filters.

LookML developers may be able to use aggregate awareness to optimize cross-filtering performance. To learn more about using aggregate awareness with dashboards, visit the Creating User-Defined Dashboards documentation page.

Creating cross-filters on dashboards

To create a cross-filter:

  1. Click a data point within a tile containing a supported visualization.

    For bar, column, line, area, scatterplot, and pie charts, you can also click the chart legend to initiate cross-filtering.
  2. All data tiles will be filtered by the value of that data point.
  3. The cross-filter field and value appear at the top of the dashboard for reference.
  4. To add an additional value to an existing cross-filter, hold down the Command (Mac) or Control (Windows) key on your keyboard while clicking on additional data points or legends. For example, if you are already cross-filtering on the Traffic Source field for a value of Search and you want to add Organic as an additional traffic source, hold down the Command or Control key and then click the Organic region of a supported visualization.
  5. The tiles will filter on the additional value as well.
  6. The additional value for the cross-filter will appear at the top of the dashboard.
  7. To add a new cross-filter, click another data point on any tile containing a supported visualization type.
  8. All tiles will be filtered by that cross-filter as well, and an additional field and value appear at the top of the dashboard.

Supported and unsupported visualization types

Each data tile on a dashboard contains a visualization, and the type of visualization determines whether you can use the data points on that tile to create cross-filters or not.

The following visualization types are supported and can create cross-filters:

The following visualization types are not supported and cannot create cross-filters; however, they can be filtered by cross-filters:

Regardless of visualization type, you cannot create cross-filters (or standard dashboard filters) on a custom field.

Using cross-filters together with standard dashboard filters

A dashboard can contain both cross-filters and standard dashboard filters. Both types of filters appear at the top of the dashboard. Cross-filters appear after standard filters and are a darker blue. For example, in the image below, the filter on Status is a standard filter and the filters on Created Month and Traffic Source are cross-filters:

Cross-filters differ from standard dashboard filters in a few ways:

While using cross-filters, you can still make temporary changes to a dashboard’s filter values. However, if you create a cross-filter on the same field that a standard filter is using, the standard filter value cannot be changed until the cross-filter is removed.

If you have edit permissions for a dashboard, you can continue to edit and create standard dashboard filters while cross-filters are enabled. However, entering edit mode to edit or add standard filters will clear any current cross-filters.

Sharing cross-filtered dashboards

Cross-filters are not saved to a dashboard, but they can be shared in the following ways:

Drilling when cross-filtering is enabled

When cross-filtering is enabled on a dashboard, you can drill by:

In other words, drill into unsupported visualizations in the same way that you would typically drill in Looker; however, for supported visualizations, right-click to drill into the visualization’s data.

Removing cross-filters

There are two options to remove an individual cross-filter:

  1. Click the data point being cross-filtered again.
  2. Click the X next to the cross-filter value at the top of the dashboard.

If there are multiple cross-filters, you can clear them all by clicking the X to the right of the filter values at the top of the dashboard.

Entering edit mode also clears all cross-filters.

Optimizing cross-filtering performance using aggregate awareness

LookML developers may be able to optimize query performance of cross-filtered dashboards by using aggregate awareness. With aggregate awareness, developers can create aggregate tables under LookML explore parameters, which can optimize queries for one or more tiles in a dashboard. The first step is to get the aggregate table LookML, which appears under the Get LookML option in the dashboard three-dot menu. For more information, see the aggregate_table documentation page.

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