home User Guide Getting Started Help Center Documentation Community Training Certification
Looker keyboard_arrow_down
language keyboard_arrow_down
Looker documentation will be moving to cloud.google.com in mid-2022!
All the information you rely on will be migrated and all docs.looker.com URLs will be redirected to the appropriate page.


explore: view_name_1 {
  join: view_name_2 {
    sql_where: ${view_name_1.id} < 100 ;;



Default Value



A SQL WHERE clause


sql_where lets you apply a query restriction that users cannot change. The restriction will be inserted into the WHERE clause of the underlying SQL that Looker generates if and only if the join is used in the query. In addition to queries run by human users, the restriction will apply to dashboards, scheduled Looks, and embedded information that relies on that Explore.

The condition can be written in pure SQL, using your database’s actual table and column names. It can also use Looker field references like ${view_name.field_name}, which is the preferred method, because Looker can be smarter about automatically including necessary joins. A sql_where condition is not displayed to the user, unless they look at the underlying SQL of any queries that they create.


For example, you can specify that if the join to users is used, that only users younger than 50 should be included:

explore: orders_users_under_50 { view_name: orders   join: users { sql_on: ${users.id} = ${orders.user_id} ;; sql_where: ${users.age} < 50 ;; type: left_outer } }

If the user selects Orders.Count and Users.Count, the SQL that Looker would generate from this LookML is:

SELECT COUNT(orders.id) AS orders_count, COUNT(DISTINCT users.id, 1000) AS users_count FROM thelook2.orders AS orders LEFT JOIN thelook2.users AS users ON users.id = orders.user_id WHERE users.age < 50 LIMIT 500

Things to consider

Parentheses are required if you are using OR logic

If you use OR logic with sql_where, it’s very important to place parentheses around the SQL condition. For example, instead of writing this:

sql_where: region = 'Northeast' OR company = 'Periaptly' ;;

You would write this:

sql_where: (region = 'Northeast' OR company = 'Periaptly') ;;

If you forgot to add the parentheses in this example, and a user added their own filter, the generated WHERE clause could have the form:

WHERE user_filter = 'something' AND region = 'Northeast' OR company = 'Periaptly'

In this situation, the filter that the user applied may not work. No matter what, rows with company = 'Periaptly' will show up, because the AND condition is evaluated first. Without parentheses, only part of the sql_where condition combines with the user’s filter. If parentheses were added, the WHERE clause would look like this instead:

WHERE user_filter = 'something' AND (region = 'Northeast' OR company = 'Periaptly')

Now the user’s filter will be applied for every row.

Join order is important for sql_where dependencies

In general, Looker implements joins in the correct order, regardless of the order in which the joins are defined in the LookML. The exception to this is with sql_where. If you reference a field from another join in your sql_where statement, the join you are referencing must be defined before your sql_where statement in the LookML.

For example, here is a sql_where statement that references the inventory_items.id field before inventory_items has been joined in:

explore: orders { hidden: yes join: order_items { sql_on: ${order_items.order_id} = ${orders.id} ;; sql_where: ${inventory_items.id} IS NOT NULL ;; } join: inventory_items { sql_on: ${inventory_items.id}=${order_items.inventory_item_id} ;; } }

If you run a query in this Explore, Looker will return an error that the inventory_items.id field cannot be found.

However, you can solve this problem by reordering your joins so that the join referenced in the sql_where statement is defined before the sql_where statement, like this:

explore: orders { hidden: yes join: inventory_items { sql_on: ${inventory_items.id}=${order_items.inventory_item_id} ;; } join: order_items { sql_on: ${order_items.order_id} = ${orders.id} ;; sql_where: ${inventory_items.id} IS NOT NULL ;; } }

This will prevent the error because the inventory_items join is defined before the inventory_items.id field is referenced in the sql_where statement of the order_items join.

The sql_where query restriction is applied only if the join is used

The query restriction specified in sql_where will be inserted into the WHERE clause of the underlying SQL that Looker generates if and only if the join is used in the query. If you want to have a where clause applied even if the join wouldn’t have been used, use sql_always_where instead.