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Using the Looker Data Dictionary

The Looker Data Dictionary is different from the Data Dictionary Block.

The Looker Data Dictionary is an extension — a web application built using Looker components — developed using the Looker extension framework and deployed through the Looker Marketplace.

The Looker Data Dictionary extension provides a dedicated, centralized interface for searching through all your Looker fields and descriptions. There are many reasons to use this extension, including:

To access and navigate the Looker Data Dictionary in your Looker instance:

  1. Enable the appropriate Labs features.
  2. Install the Looker Data Dictionary extension.
  3. Grant permissions to access the Looker Data Dictionary.
  4. Navigate to the Looker Data Dictionary.
  5. View your model’s metadata with the Looker Data Dictionary.

Installing the Looker Data Dictionary

Before installing the Looker Data Dictionary from the Marketplace, Looker admins must enable these Labs features:

Installing applications and tools — such as extensions — from the Marketplace requires that you have the develop, manage_models, and deploy permissions.

See the Using the Looker Marketplace documentation for instructions on installing a tool from the Looker Marketplace. You can ensure that you always have the most updated version of the Data Dictionary extension by going to the Looker Marketplace, clicking Manage, and clicking the Update button next to the Data Dictionary.

Granting Permissions to Access the Looker Data Dictionary

After the Looker Data Dictionary is installed, the data_dictionary model will be added to the list of available models on the New Model Set and Edit Model Set pages, accessible from the Roles page in the Admin panel.

Looker admins must grant users explore or develop permissions to access the data_dictionary model and any models they need to explore in the Data Dictionary. See the Setting Permissions for Looker Extensions documentation page for information on granting users permissions to access extensions.

Navigating to the Looker Data Dictionary

Users can navigate to the Data Dictionary from:

  1. The list of installed applications and extensions in the Browse menu
  2. The Applications & Tools page, accessible from the Browse menu and the left sidebar in Browse

You can also access it from the Looker Marketplace under Applications by clicking the Data Dictionary tile icon, clicking Open, and then clicking on the Data Dictionary icon.

Viewing Model Metadata with the Looker Data Dictionary

In the Looker Data Dictionary, users with explore permissions on a model can select this model and view its metadata, including its Explores and each Explore’s list of fields, grouped by view. The Looker Data Dictionary displays the selected model’s Explores in the left sidebar and the selected Explore’s views and fields on the main part of the page.

You can collapse the sidebar by clicking the < icon.

The Looker Data Dictionary shows:

  1. The name of the selected model
  2. The list of Explores contained in the selected model
  3. The selected Explore
  4. A text field to filter the fields in an Explore
  5. Quick filters to narrow displayed fields based on selected characteristics
  6. The name of the view
  7. Metadata about each field. Select what metadata is displayed by clicking the View Options button. See the field’s entire set of metadata in the field profiler.
  8. Rows containing metadata for each field in a given view
  9. Navigation to the Explore in the Looker UI

Selecting a Model and an Explore

The Select a Model drop-down lists all of the models for which a user has explore permissions. When choosing a model from the Select a Model drop-down menu, the left sidebar will populate with a list of that model’s Explores.

You can also search the selected model for a specific Explore by typing in the Search Model search box. The list of Explores will filter to display only the results that match your search terms.

Click on the name of an Explore to see its fields, grouped by view, displayed on the main part of the page.

You can also click the Explore button in the upper right corner to go straight to the Explore page in Looker.

Filtering Fields in an Explore

You can filter the displayed fields by typing text into the Filter fields in this Explore box to match against the list of fields’ Field Label or Description.

You can also select specific metadata attributes to filter on, such as whether the field:

Viewing Field Metadata

The Looker Data Dictionary displays the metadata for an Explore’s fields, grouped by view:

Customizing Displayed Metadata

You can specify what metadata is displayed for each field by clicking the View Options button in the upper right corner and checking or unchecking the boxes for metadata you want to view:

Using the Field Profiler

Clicking on a specific field row will open a field profiler panel on the right of the page displaying the field’s entire set of metadata, options to preview numeric dimension values, and buttons to navigate to the Looker IDE or the Explore page:

Under Distribution, click Calculate to show a preview of a column chart depicting the distribution of the count values for numeric dimensions on a view with a measure that has type: count and a field label of Count. The Distribution section will also display the minimum, maximum, and average values of the numeric dimension series.

Under Values, click Calculate to show a preview of count values for numeric dimensions on a view with a measure that has type: count and a field label of Count. Click the Explore More button to open the Explore UI with the numeric dimension and count measure pre-selected from the field picker.

Click Go to LookML to open the view file from the LookML project associated with the selected model in the Looker IDE.

Click the Explore with Field button to open the Explore page with that field automatically selected from the field picker.