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Viewing Dashboards in Looker

Once you’ve found the content you’re looking for, this tutorial on dashboards and the next one on Looks will teach you how to view that content and make non-permanent changes like filtering the data or changing a time zone. You’ll also learn how to use the dashboard in other ways, such as downloading the dashboard or use the dashboard to start exploring your own related questions.

Don’t worry while you view existing content. You can view and click on dashboards and Looks as much as you want. You won’t impact anyone else unless you choose to edit something, make changes, and then save them. Keep learning about browsing and then about exploring data before starting to edit Looks or edit dashboards.

Dashboard Introduction

A dashboard is essentially a collection of saved queries, displayed like tiles together on one page:

Dashboards can contain queries that are specific to that dashboard and also can display saved Looks. A saved Look can be displayed on multiple dashboards. To view a dashboard, navigate to the space that contains the dashboard and click on the dashboard’s name (as shown in this section below). To learn more about creating and managing your own dashboard, see our Creating User-Defined Dashboards page.

Opening a Saved Dashboard

To open a saved dashboard:

  1. Click the Browse menu.
  2. Navigate to the appropriate Space or page.
  3. Click the dashboard name to open the dashboard.

Making Temporary Changes to a Dashboard

You can make some types of temporary changes to a dashboard without affecting anyone else, such as changing the time zone. If your dashboard has filters, you can also change the filter values to restrict the dashboard to certain types of data.

Changing Dashboard Filter Values

Looker dashboards often have one or more filters that affect one or more of the tiles. You can change a filter to see how the data changes. You will not affect anyone else by changing the filter unless you edit and save the dashboard.

For example, dashboards often have a filter that specifies the number of days to include. You can see the filter by clicking the Filter section:

Then you can use the drop-down menus to change the filter choices as desired:

In the drop-downs, one of the choices is Matches (Advanced), which enables you to use advanced filtering choices.

Configuring a Dashboard Time Zone

If your admin has enabled the User Specific Time Zone setting, you can use the time zone drop-down menu to specify the time zone in which a dashboard is run:

You can choose one of the following options:

Refreshing Data in a Dashboard

Looker dashboards aren’t static snapshots of data from a specific time. Looker fills dashboards using data from your live database when you load the page. Typically, Looker has access to the data as fast as the data reaches the database.

If you’ve already loaded a dashboard and want to get fresh data, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Clear Cache & Refresh to rerun the queries for all elements on the dashboard. If you want to refresh a specific dashboard element, click the gear icon on any tile and choose Clear Cache & Refresh.

Frequently using the Clear Cache & Refresh option on a dashboard with many tiles, or very large reports, can cause a strain on your database. You can check the age of the dashboard’s data to the left of the Run button to see if the refresh is truly needed.

Scheduling Dashboard Data Delivery

Looker lets you schedule periodic delivery of your dashboard to email recipients or to other data destinations. See the Scheduling Data Deliveries page for more information.

Sending Your Dashboard Immediately

Looker lets you send a dashboard immediately in an email to yourself or other people, or send the results to another data destination. See Sending Data Now for details.

Downloading Your Dashboard

Looker lets you download your dashboard so that you can store or share the current data. You can download the dashboard as a zipped collection of CSV files, or as a PDF.

Looker admins can see important information about downloading dashboards on this documentation page.

Downloading Your Dashboard as CSV Files

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. Select Download as CSVs to begin the download.

The zipped directory will have a separate CSV file for each dashboard tile. Each CSV file includes the formatted data used to create the tile in the dashboard:

Downloading Your Dashboard as a PDF

If your Looker admin has given you download permissions, you can also download your dashboard in PDF format:

If you don’t see the Download as PDF option, check with your Looker admin about enabling the Enhanced Rendering Labs feature and installing Chromium or PhantomJS for your Looker instance.

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. Select Download as PDF.
  3. Optionally, use the Filename box to change the name of the PDF file.
  4. Optionally, click the Single Column PDF if you want the PDF to show the dashboard tiles in a single vertical column. Leave the box unchecked if you want the PDF to show the tiles arranged as in the dashboard.
  5. Click Download.

Exploring the Data Used in a Dashboard

Dashboards are also starting points for further exploration. If given permission by your Looker admin, you can click the title of a tile to explore its underlying data, or you can select Explore From Here from the tile’s menu:

Once you arrive at the Explore page, you can continue to adjust the query for your particular interest.

You also can click or hover on some elements in the dashboard tiles (such as a slice of a pie chart) to view more details about the data. You can learn the skills to explore the details of a dashboard’s data on the exploring data pages.

Using Links and Actions

The presence of links or actions are indicated by three periods following the data in a field.

Using Links

In some cases, your Looker developers may have added clickable links to your data:

When you click on the data in the field, Looker provides an option to open the destination of the link. In the example above, the developers added a link to the Brand column. When you click on a brand listing, Looker provides an option to perform a Google search for that brand name.

Using Actions

Your Looker admin and developers can set up an integrated service and tag a field to provide access to that service. Then, when you click that field, you can choose to send your data to that service:

In the example above, the Phone field has a link to the Twilio service. When you click the phone number and select the Twilio action, Twilio prompts you to enter a message. Then Twilio then sends that message to the phone number.

Navigation Shortcuts

When exploring a dashboard, you can navigate to other items within the same Space by using the drop-down in the upper left.

Viewing Visualizations on Mobile Devices

When viewing a dashboard tile visualization on a mobile device, Looker has the following touch options to make it easier to view information about your data:


Now that you know how to view and use dashboards, see this page to learn how to create your own dashboards and add tiles to them.

Or, continue to the next tutorial to learn how to view saved Looks in Looker.