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Creating Visualizations and Graphs

Looker makes it easy to create graphics and charts based on the results of a query. This page explains how to create visualizations that best show off your data. After reading this page, you’ll be able to create and configure charts.

Looker keeps query details and visualization configuration data together, so when you share a query, recipients get the picture as well as the data.

Quick Guide

You can add an eye-catching chart to any query result set on the Explore. This page shows how to create visualizations that best show off your data.

  1. Create and run your query.
  2. Click the Visualization tab to start configuring your visualization options.
  3. Select the type of visualization that best displays your data. For more options, click to the right of the displayed visualization options.
  4. Click Edit to configure the visualization option settings, such as naming and arranging chart axes, choosing the position and type of each data series, or modifying the chart color palette.

You can further customize your visualization by specifying which dimensions and measures you want to be included in the visualization. If your data is missing key values, you can tell Looker to fill in those values on the appropriate part of your visualization.

Choosing a Visualization Type

Once you’ve created and run your query, click the Visualization tab in the Explore to configure visualization options for the query. Use the chart buttons to pick the visualization type that’s right for the data.

Fine-Tuning Your Visualizations

Learn how to customize your visualizations with the Looker features below.

Customizing Visualizations with Chart Settings

You can customize a visualization to make the data more readable and to add visual styling. Click Edit to see the visualization options, then change the settings to get a result that suits you.

To see the visualization options available for a particular visualization type, click that type on the Visualization Types documentation page.

This example shows some of the visualization settings chosen for a stacked area chart showing the sales for each category over time:

Specifying LookML Fields to Include in the Visualization

All dimensions and measures are automatically added to any visualizations you use. However, sometimes you won’t want to display every dimension or measure in the chart. In the example below, note that the measures Accidents Serious Accidents Count, Accidents Fatal Accidents Count, and Accidents Total Fatalities are displayed:

To hide a column from the visualization, select the gear icon at the top right corner of the column, then select Hide from Visualization:

This will hide the column from the visualization. In the example below, the LookML field Accidents Total Fatalities is hidden from the visualization, leaving only Accidents Serious Accidents Count and Accidents Fatal Accidents Count in the chart.

Table calculations can also be hidden from a visualization, as described on the Using Table Calculations page.

Filling In Missing Dates and Values

Some datasets have values, such as dates, that follow a predictable pattern. Sometimes when you pull data by a timeframe, some dates, weeks, months, or other date types don’t have any corresponding value. By default, a visualization displays the data and the axis skips any dates that are missing. Looker’s “dimension fill” visualization option lets you display the missing dates or other values on the axis.

For example, this accident data from 1990 shows only a few dates in which an accident occurred:

If you do not dimension fill, Looker connects the data points it has, resulting in a potentially misleading graph:

Turning on dimension fill adds the missing dates and makes the graph more informative:

To use dimension fill simply choose the Fill in Missing Dates or Fill in Missing Values option from the gear menu of the appropriate dimension:

Dimension fill is available for dimensions with yes/no values, tiered values, and most date types. It can also be applied to any dimension based on a list of values, via the case parameter.

Dimension fill will turn on automatically for queries that run with a single dimension and/or a single pivot, just as long as you haven’t applied filters to any measures.

There are a few cases when you will not be able to dimension fill:

Including Multiple Visualization Types on a Single Chart

You can also create charts that include more than one chart type:

  1. Click the Edit button to show the chart customization options.
  2. Click the Series tab.
  3. In the Customizations section, you’ll see an entry for each series in the chart. Click the arrow next to the series you want to change to display its customization options.
  4. In the Type box, select the type of chart to use for that series.

Drilling Into Visualizations

Looker makes it possible to “drill” into the data on a visualization, to get more specific information about a specific data point. To do so, simply click on the part of the visualization about which you’d like more information.

If your Looker developer has included any custom visualization types, it may not be possible to drill into those visualizations.

You can choose which type of drill to perform when you click on the item of interest. In the example below, we’re clicking on the Search slice of the Female donut chart on the left. Doing so gives you two different options. You can choose to see row level data for all 1,438 females who found us via search, or you can choose to filter the visualization to females only.

If you chose the Filter on “Female” option, you’d arrive at a visualization like this one:

The options that appear to you will change depending upon the data and visualization you’re using.