Viewing Dashboards in Looker

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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 timezone. 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.

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 perspective.
  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 timezone. 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 dropdown menus to change the filter choices as desired:

In the dropdowns, 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:

  • Each Tile’s Time Zone to have all tiles run in the time zone in which they were saved.
  • Viewer Time Zone to have all tiles run in your user’s dashboard setting.
  • Any of the time zones listed in the drop-down to have all tiles run in that time zone.

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.

Please note that 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 an Amazon S3 bucket, an SFTP server, or a webhook. See the Scheduling Emails and Alerts page and the Scheduling Data Deliveries page for more information.

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.

Downloading Your Dashboard as CSV Files

New in Release 5.4, you can download your dashboard as CSVs whether or not the Dashboards PDFs and Scheduled Visualizations Looker Lab is enabled.

If your Looker admin has given you download permissions, you can download the raw data shown in your dashboard as a collection of comma-separated values (CSV) files in a zipped directory:

  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:

Looker lets you schedule periodic delivery of your dashboard via email or other methods. Click here for information on scheduling dashboards.

Downloading Your Dashboard as a PDF

If your administrator has enabled the Dashboard PDFs and Scheduled Visualizations lab feature, you can download your dashboard in PDF format:

  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. You can click the title of a tile to explore its underlying data, or you can click the gear icon in the upper right of a tile, then choose to explore from there. 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, you are given the 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, you are given the option to perform a Google search for that brand name.

Using Actions

New in release 5.4 is the ability to send data to services integrated with Looker.

Your Looker admin and developers can set up integrated services and tag certain fields to be used by those services. If so, when you click on the link for one of those fields, you will see one or more additional options. You can click on the option for a service to send your data to the 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.


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.

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