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Downloading content

This page describes downloading content from Looker, which can be visualizations or data. The process and options for downloading content and formatting downloaded content vary based on whether you’re downloading from a Look or an Explore, from a dashboard, from a legacy dashboard, or from a merged results query. Navigate to the appropriate section on this page to learn how to download data and format downloads for the type of content you’re downloading.

To download content, you must be given the download_with_limit or download_without_limit permission by a Looker admin.

Downloading data from a Look or an Explore

To download data from a Look or an Explore page, click the gear menu in the upper right and select Download:

This opens a Download window, where you can name and format your download:

The following sections will walk you through each field in the Download window:

File formats

Downloads to formats that use the renderer (PNG and PDF) will use results from Production Mode. If your download is in another format, the download will show results from whichever mode — development or production — you are in.

Data can be downloaded from Looks and Explores in the following formats:

While choosing your data format for downloading, if you don’t see the HTML or PNG (image of visualization) options (for Looks), talk to your Looker admin about installing the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.

For JSON format, Looker uses field labels as its rendered value in its JSON output. See the Change in JSON Formatting Community topic for more information about how Looker renders fields in JSON format.

Transposed tables will render in PNG downloads only.

For Looker developers, if you are in Development Mode, data downloads in most file formats query your model as it is in Development Mode. PDF and PNG file formats are the exception; data downloads in those file formats always query your model as if it is in Production Mode.

Results

In the Results section, choose whether you want visualization settings applied to your data download:

Values

In the Values section, choose how you want the downloaded query results to appear:

Limits

You can choose how much data you want to download as follows:

All results

When you click Run in a Look or an Explore, Looker checks your permissions and determines whether the complexity of the query and the database dialect will allow the entire query to be downloaded. If you have the permissions (for results above a set limit) and if Looker determines that your entire query can be downloaded, the All Results option will be available in the Download window.

The option to download All Results may be unavailable under certain conditions:

The All Results option is typically disabled for queries that:

Even when the All Results option is available, you should still use caution when downloading all results. Some queries are very large, containing thousands or millions of rows, which can overwhelm most spreadsheet programs — or even your Looker instance.

If the All Results option is unavailable, which may be the case depending on your permissions, you can instead use the Custom option to specify the maximum number of rows allowed with your permissions.

Streaming query results

Streaming refers to Looker’s ability to process data in chunks, rather than all at once. If Looker can stream a result set, then unlimited downloads are possible.

Looker streams downloaded results to all formats except rendered formats (HTML, PNG).

In addition to the format limitations, there are two cases where streaming is not possible:

  1. Table calculations: Table calculations cannot be streamed. Therefore, to download unlimited results for a query, you must remove table calculations from the query.
  2. Database limitations: Some databases cannot stream if pivots are included in the query. For these databases, you must remove pivots to download unlimited results. Some databases can’t stream any results, which means that unlimited downloads are not possible. Below is a list of databases that support streaming and a list of databases that support streaming with pivots applied:

Remove all sorts from query

When you select All Results, you may also see the option to Remove all sorts from query. This option prevents sorting on your query before downloading the results. Selecting this option may speed up your download, since sorting a query can be costly to performance for certain database types.

The Remove all sorts from query option is not supported for pivoted results.

Filename

You can enter a filename for the download or use the default filename that is pre-populated in the field. Looker will automatically append the appropriate file extension based on your selection in the File Format field.

Download or open in browser

Once you’ve selected your options, you can click the Download button to download a file to your computer, or click Open in Browser to view the file in the browser.

Downloading data from a merged results query

To download merged results queries, you can save the query to a dashboard and then download the dashboard as a PDF or as a collection of CSV files. However, you must download the entire dashboard and cannot download the data from just a single tile based on a merged results query.

Downloading data from a dashboard

This section describes downloading dashboards that use the new dashboard experience. For information on downloading legacy dashboards, see the Downloading data from a legacy dashboard section.

To download the entire dashboard, select Download from the dashboard’s three-dot menu.

This opens a dialog box that allows you to select PDF or CSV as your download format.

Downloading a dashboard as a PDF

You can download your entire dashboard as a PDF, which means you will get a PDF image of the dashboard title, any dashboard filters, all the dashboard tiles, and the time zone the dashboard was run in. The PDF will also include a timestamp showing when the dashboard was downloaded.

When you’re downloading a dashboard as a PDF, the PDF will display the new dashboard experience or a legacy dashboard, depending on the permanent format of the dashboard. In other words, if you are temporarily viewing the dashboard in a different format because you changed the URL, any downloads will reflect the permanent format.

To download a dashboard as a PDF, follow these steps:

  1. Select PDF from the Format drop-down menu.
  2. Select an option from the Paper Size drop-down menu. The Fit Page to Dashboard option is the default; it sizes the PDF to match the layout of the dashboard on the screen. Other paper size options size the PDF to match a standard paper size and fit the dashboard within it. Depending on the layout of the dashboard, large visualizations or groups of overlapping tiles may need to be resized to fit on a given page size.



    If you do not see the Paper Size option, talk to your Looker admin about installing the latest version of the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.
  3. If you select something other than Fit Page to Dashboard in the Paper Size drop-down, an Orientation option appears. You can choose to orient the dashboard in portrait or landscape position.
  4. Select or leave unselected Expand tables to show all rows. If you select this option, for dashboard tiles that use table visualizations, the PDF will show all the rows available in the table visualization, not just the rows displayed in the dashboard tile thumbnail. If you do not select this option, only the rows that are seen in the thumbnail without scrolling will appear on the PDF. Dashboard and query filters will still apply, as will visualization settings such as row limits, column limits, or settings made with the Limit Displayed Rows option.

    If you do not see the Expand tables to show all rows option, talk to your Looker admin about installing the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.

  5. Select or leave unselected Arrange dashboard tiles in a single column. If you select this option, the PDF displays dashboard tiles in a single vertical column. If you do not select this option, the dashboard tiles appear as they are arranged in the dashboard.
  6. Click Open in Browser to see an image of the PDF in a new tab of your browser. From there, you can opt to download the PDF using your browser’s controls.
  7. Click Cancel if you no longer want to download the dashboard.
  8. Click Download to initiate the download. A new tab in your browser will open, showing the status of your download.

Downloading a dashboard as CSVs

You can download all the query tiles from your dashboard as a zipped collection of CSV files. Text tiles are not included in the ZIP file. To download your dashboard as a collection of CSV files, follow these steps:

  1. Select CSV from the Format drop-down menu.
  2. Click Cancel if you no longer want to download the dashboard.
  3. Click Download to initiate the download your zipped CSV collection.

When you download a dashboard as CSV files, the options for formatting downloads, such as setting custom row limits or choosing All Results, are unavailable. The row limits in the downloaded files correlate to the row limits on the corresponding tiles.

Looker generates zipped files using UTF-8 encoding. If the characters in your CSV filenames appear garbled, it might be because of a conflict between Looker’s UTF-8 encoding and the default encoding of your machine’s operating system. Looker suggests using a file extractor that recognizes UTF-8, such as 7-Zip.

Downloading data from dashboard tiles

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

This opens a dialog box with several options:

The tile download options are then the same as for a Look or an Explore. See the Downloading data from a Look or an Explore section for more information about the options available for customizing your data download.

You cannot download the data from dashboard tiles based on merged results queries, but the data from merged results tiles is included if you download a dashboard as a PDF or as a collection of CSV files.

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Downloading data from a legacy dashboard

This section covers legacy dashboards. For information on downloading dashboards using the new dashboard experience, see the Downloading data from a dashboard section.

Looker lets you download your legacy dashboard so that you can store or share the current data. You can download the legacy dashboard as a PDF or as a zipped collection of CSV files.

Downloading a legacy dashboard as a PDF

You can also download your legacy dashboard in PDF format:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the page.
  2. Select Download as PDF.

    This opens a Download window where you can name and format your download.

  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.

    Select the Single column format box if you want the PDF to show the legacy dashboard tiles in a single vertical column. Leave the box unselected if you want the PDF to show the tiles as they are arranged in the legacy dashboard.

    If you select the Expand tables to show all rows option, for dashboard tiles that use table visualizations, the PDF will show all the rows available in the table visualization, not just the rows displayed in the dashboard tile thumbnail. If you do not select this option, only the rows that are seen in the thumbnail without scrolling will appear on the PDF. Dashboard and query filters will still apply, as will visualization settings such as row limits, column limits, or settings made with the Limit Displayed Rows option.

    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 or Expand tables to show all rows options, talk to your Looker admin about installing the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.

  5. Click Download or Open in Browser.

Downloads in PDF format always pull from the model as it is in Production Mode, even if you are in Development Mode.

When you download a dashboard as a PDF, the PDF will display the new dashboard experience or a legacy dashboard, depending on the permanent format of the dashboard. In other words, if you are temporarily viewing the dashboard in a different format because you changed the URL, any downloads will reflect the permanent format.

Downloading a legacy dashboard as CSVs

To download a CSV file from a legacy dashboard, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the dashboard and 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:

When you download a dashboard as CSV files, the options for formatting downloads, such as setting custom row limits or choosing All Results, are unavailable. The row limits in the downloaded files correlate to the row limits on the corresponding tiles.

Looker generates zipped files using UTF-8 encoding. If the characters in your CSV filenames appear garbled, it might be because of a conflict between Looker’s UTF-8 encoding and the default encoding of your machine’s operating system. Looker suggests using a file extractor that recognizes UTF-8, such as 7-Zip.

Downloading data from legacy dashboard tiles

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

The tile download window and options are then the same as for a Look or an Explore. See the Downloading data from a Look or an Explore section for more information about the options available for customizing your data download.

You cannot download the data from legacy dashboard tiles based on merged results queries, but the data from merged results tiles are included if you download a legacy dashboard as a PDF or as a collection of CSV files.

For admins: Enabling downloading data for your Looker instance

update

Update to Looker 21.4 to allow Looker admins to enable the Render Long Tables Labs feature, which reduces the rendering time of PDF downloads that include table visualizations with many rows.

Certain downloading options require that admins of customer-hosted Looker deployments have installed the appropriate version of the Chromium renderer. If your instance is Looker-hosted, Chromium is already installed.

The Managing Business User Features documentation page has important admin information about the download process:

To learn more about the permissions that must be assigned to users to enable them to download — specifically the download_with_limit and download_without_limit permissions — visit the Roles documentation page.

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