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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


New in Looker 21.0, cross-filtering is available to users without having to enable a Labs feature.

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 blue 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


New in Looker 21.0, word cloud charts, donut multiple charts, funnel charts, timeline charts, waterfall charts, boxplot charts, and custom visualizations are supported visualization types for cross-filtering.

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.