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Viewing Dashboards in Looker

If your Looker admin has enabled the New Dashboard Experience Labs feature, you can use dashboards (beta), which have a fresh, modern look and feel; customizable, user-friendly filters; a new dashboard creation experience and editing flow; and improved performance.

If you see Upgrade to Dashboard (Beta) in your dashboard’s gear menu, click that option for the dashboard (beta) version of your dashboard.

Once you’ve found the content you’re looking for, you can view that content and make non-permanent changes to it, like filtering the data or changing a time zone. You can view and click on dashboards and Looks without impacting anyone else — unless you choose to edit something, make changes, and then save them.

This documentation page explains how to use the dashboard in other ways, such as downloading the dashboard or using the dashboard to start exploring your own related questions. See the Viewing Looks documentation page for a similar rundown on viewing Looks. Learn more about browsing and exploring data before starting to edit Looks or edit dashboards.

Dashboard Introduction

A dashboard is a collection of visualizations, text, and queries that are displayed like tiles together on one page:

Dashboards can be made up of tiles based on text, saved Looks, or queries specific to that dashboard.

To view a dashboard, navigate to the folder 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 folder 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.

To save these changes for other users, see the Editing User-Defined Dashboards documentation page.

Changing Dashboard Filter Values

Looker dashboards can have one or more filters that affect one or more of the tiles. For an overview of the kinds of filters available in Looker, see the Filtering and Limiting Data documentation page.

On the dashboard, you can change filter values to see how the data changes. You will not affect anyone else by changing the filter unless you edit and save the dashboard. If one or more tiles do not update when you change the filter value, the filter may not apply to those tiles unless the dashboard is edited.

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.

Another choice in the drop-downs is matches a user attribute, which enables you to customize a dashboard for each user that views it.

Configuring a Dashboard Time Zone

The time zone applied to your dashboard can affect the results shown, due to slight differences in the exact hours used for time-based data. Because of this, you may want to change the time zone of your dashboard if you are interested in the data as it applies to a different region.

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:

Once you navigate away from the dashboard, your time zone will return to the default time zone assigned to your Looker account.

Refreshing Data in a Dashboard

Looker dashboards aren’t static snapshots of data from a specific time. Looker dashboards pull 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 your Looker admin has enabled the Instant Dashboards Labs feature, the dashboard will load immediately based on the data that was pulled the previous time the dashboard was run. It will run new queries in the background and update the dashboard tiles as they are completed. If you are wondering whether you are looking at fresh data or not, you can look at the top right corner of the tile; a spinner icon means that a new query is running, which in turn means that the tile will update when the query finishes.

The top right of your dashboard shows how recently the data was retrieved:

If you want to get fresh data, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Clear Cache & Refresh to rerun the queries for all tiles on the dashboard. If you want to refresh a specific dashboard tile, click the three-dot icon 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 documentation 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 the Sending Data Now documentation page for details.

Downloading Your Dashboard

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

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

  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:

Certain downloading options require that admins of customer-hosted Looker deployments have installed the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer. Admins can read more about rendering image-based data formats when sending and scheduling dashboards, Looks, or Explores on the Managing Business User Features documentation page.

  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, expand the Advanced options menu to further customize your PDF.

    Then check the Single column format box 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 as they are arranged in the dashboard.

    You also have the option to specify the optimal size and orientation of your PDF by selecting from the Paper size drop-down menu. Large visualizations or groups of overlapping dashboard tiles may need to be resized to fit cleanly on a PDF page. If you do not see the Paper size option, talk to your Looker admin about installing the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.

  5. Click Download.

For Looker developers, downloads in PDF format always pull from the model as it is in Production Mode, even when you are in Development Mode.

Downloading Data from Dashboard Tiles

To download the data from a specific tile, click the three-dot icon and select Download Data:

See the Downloading Data documentation page for more information about the options available to customize your data download.

For dashboard tiles based on merged results queries, you can’t download the data itself, but you can download the dashboard as a PDF or as a collection of CSV files.

Opening a Tile’s Look

For tiles based on Looks, you can see the Look that generated the tile by selecting View Original Look from the tile’s three-dot menu:

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 Data Actions

Your Looker developers may have added data actions to the dimensions or measures in your data. With data actions, you can perform tasks with other tools directly from Looker, such as sending an email or setting values in other applications. These data actions appear in the drill menu under an Actions heading:

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

Navigation Shortcuts

When exploring a dashboard, you can navigate to other items within the same folder 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.