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Changing the Explore Menu and Field Picker

You can use a number of LookML parameters to make your Explores more user-friendly by changing how fields appear in the user interface without altering your underlying LookML. This page provides an overview of LookML parameters that modify the appearance of the Looker Explore menu and field picker.

In Looker, your users can see Explores listed in the Explore Menu: Within an Explore, your users can use the field picker to select the fields (dimensions and measures) they want to use to query their data:

This page lists each commonly-used parameter with a link to its full reference page, a short description of its function, and an image of what it does.

For tips and suggestions about making an Explore user-friendly, see the article Best Practice: Create a Positive Experience for Looker Users in Looker’s Help Center.

Explore Name and Menu

This section describes the default behavior for an Explore’s name and appearance on the Explore menu, then describes the LookML parameters that let you change that behavior:

Explore Menu Default Behavior

Model names

By default, the Explore menu is organized by model names, which are determined by the name of each model file. The Explore menu shows a formatted version of the model name, with underscores changed to spaces and each word capitalized. Under each model name is a list of the Explores defined in that model file.

Explore names

The name of each Explore in the menu is based on the corresponding explore parameter in the model file. As with the model names, Explore names are formatted in the menu so that underscores are changed to spaces and each word is capitalized. The Explore name is also shown as the Explore title above the field picker:

For more information about model files, see Understanding Model and View Files. For more information about defining Explores, see the explore parameter page.

label (Model)

A model’s label parameter renames a model in the Explore menu without changing how it’s referenced in LookML. Explore URLs, the Looker IDE, and the SQL Runner still reflect the actual model name, and the way the model should be referenced in LookML and Admin settings remains unchanged.

If the label parameter is not used, the model name will be displayed according to its default behavior.

label (Explore)

An Explore’s label parameter renames an Explore in the Explore menu and on the Explore page without changing how it’s referenced in LookML.

If the label parameter is not used, the Explore name will be displayed according to its default behavior.

group_label (Explore)

An Explore’s group_label parameter changes the default organization of the Explore menu. Instead of listing each Explore under its model’s name, group_label allows you to define a custom heading under which to list one or more Explores.

description (Explore)

An Explore’s description parameter lets you add a description of an Explore to the UI, so users can get additional information while creating reports.

Users can see the description by hovering over the information icon, next to the Explore name at the top of the field picker. The information icon also appears in the drop-down list of Explores. If you do not explicitly add a description to an Explore, no description will be shown.

hidden (Explore)

An Explore’s hidden parameter hides the Explore from the Explore menu. By default, hidden is off and the Explore will be displayed. hidden does not hide LookML or prevent access to an Explore via the URL. hidden is not meant as a security feature, but rather as a presentation feature.

Field Picker

This section describes the default behavior of the field picker, then describes the LookML parameters that let you change that behavior.

Change how view names appear in the field picker with:

Change how names of individual fields appear in the field picker with:

Change how fields are organized within the field picker with:

Field Picker Default Behavior

By default, the field picker is organized by headings that correspond to the views specified by the LookML view parameter. Each view’s fields are grouped in the field picker. The type of field (dimension, dimension group, measure, filter field, and parameter field) determines where the field is shown within the view. Unless the label parameter is used to alter the display name, the field picker will show a formatted version of the LookML view or field name, with underscores changed to spaces and each word capitalized.

This example shows how the names of a view, dimension, dimension group, and measure show by default. The same formatting will apply to the names of any filter fields and parameter fields.

If you change the name of a field, the field picker adapts to the new name but you might want to add an alias parameter with the field’s old name. That parameter provides alternative names for a field that might appear in the URL for a query. It can be useful in cases when field names in a model change, but some people have shared links to data and you want to keep those pre-existing URLs functioning.

view_label (Explore)

An Explore’s view_label parameter changes how the group of fields from an Explore’s base view is labeled in the field picker without changing how the Explore and its fields are referenced in LookML.

view_label (Join)

A join’s view_label parameter lets you group fields from one view under another view’s name in the field picker. If you do not explicitly add a view_label to a join, the view_label defaults to the name of the join.

label (View)

A view’s label parameter changes how the view is labeled in the field picker without changing how it is referenced in LookML. If not specified, the label defaults to the name of the view. Unlike view_label (Explore) and view_label (Join), this parameter affects all Explores that use the view.

description (Field)

You can add a description to any field. The user can see this description in multiple places. In the field picker, Looker displays this description if a user hovers over the help link. It is also displayed when the user hovers over the column name in a table or table chart visualization in an Explore page, dashboard, or Look.

hidden (Field)

By default, fields specified in a view will be displayed in the field picker. The field’s hidden parameter hides a field in the field picker.

Hidden fields can still be accessed in the UI if they are manually added to the URL and will show up in some Looker windows. Therefore, think of hidden as a way to keep the field picker clean, and not as a security feature.

label (Field)

A field’s label parameter lets you change how a field name will appear in the field picker without changing how it is referenced in LookML. If no label is specified, the label defaults to the name of the field.

view_label (Field)

A field’s view_label parameter lets you change the name of the view under which the field is listed in the field picker without changing how it is referenced in LookML. If no label is specified, the field appears under the label for the view in which it is defined.

group_label (Field)

The group_label parameter lets you combine fields together in a common drop-down list within a view in the field picker.

group_item_label (Field)

When fields are shown under a group label, they might not need to have their full field names or labels displayed in the field picker. In the example shown above for group_label (Field), the group label already indicates that the fields pertain to shipping. In cases like this, you can add the group_item_label parameter to each of these grouped fields to change how they look under the group label:

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