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Finding Content in Looker

This tutorial introduces you to finding existing content within Looker. Content in Looker can take the form of either a dashboard, which is a collection of data visualizations, or the results of a data exploration, which we call a “Look”.

Navigating to Saved Content

In Looker, content is saved into Spaces. A Space can include Looks, dashboards, or even more Spaces called “subspaces.” Please note that you will only see Spaces (or subspaces) that you have access to view.

There are also several pages, such as “Popular”, which are special pages that provide links to various content.

Top-level Pages and Spaces

The top-level spaces and pages that you can access may include:

You can navigate to the top-level pages and Spaces using the Browse menu or the left panel.

Navigating Using the Browse Menu

You can click Browse to reveal the Browse menu:

The Browse menu lists the top-level Spaces and pages that you can access. From the Browse menu, simply select the top-level Space or page you want to view.

Navigating Using the Left Panel

The top-level Spaces and pages that you can access are listed in the left panel:

In the left panel, click the top-level Space or page that you want to browse. People typically start by browsing the contents of the “Popular” page or the “Shared” Space.

Picking a Subspace

After choosing a top-level Space or page or other Space, Looker displays its contents on the right side of the screen. If the Space has subspaces, those are listed at the top of the right side. To see the contents in one of its subspaces, click its name:

Personalized Home Page with Visual Thumbnails

Homepage with Thumbnails is a Labs feature that must be enabled by your Looker admin.

From the Browse menu or from a Space or page, you can click Home to see your personalized home page. The Home page displays visually representative icons of dashboards and Looks, using thumbnails to show a preview of the color and type of visualization — without revealing the actual data:

Click on a thumbnail to open the Look or dashboard. You can also hover over a thumbnail to see the content’s description, if a description was written for the Look or for the dashboard.

Content is organized on this page in the following sections:

Recently Viewed Content

If your Looker admin has enabled the Homepage with Thumbnails Labs feature, the bottom of your Home page will display the Recent Activity section:

On the left side, the Recent Activity section shows the Looks and dashboards most recently viewed by all Looker users. If your Looker admin has configured multiple groups, you can use the drop-down list to show the most viewed content for a specific user group:

On the right side, the Recent Activity section shows the Looks and dashboards that you have most recently viewed:

Announcements from Your Company

If your Looker admin has enabled the Homepage with Thumbnails Labs feature and added content to the sidebar, your personalized homepage will have a sidebar that may include text, links, and images from your admin:

Viewing Popular Content

Popular shows a list of the most viewed content:

Click on the corresponding column name to sort Popular by name, favorite status, or popularity.

If your Looker admin has configured multiple groups, you can limit the Popular content shown to the most viewed content for that group. To view a group’s most popular content, use the box in the top right to select that group.

Searching for Saved Content

If you’d like to run a search for a specific word or phrase, instead of looking through Spaces manually, you can do that as well. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click Search in the upper right of Looker.
  2. Enter your search term.
  3. Look through the list of search results.
  4. Click on a search result to view that content.


If a Space contains other Spaces that you can access, you can navigate to a subspace by clicking its name. As you navigate Spaces, a breadcrumb at the top of the screen will help you keep track of your location:

Personal Spaces

Each user has a personal Space. Looker displays a shortcut to your personal Space on the left-hand side of the screen. Click Users to access other users’ personal spaces.

The user Spaces that you see depend on whether or not those users (or your admins) have assigned access to you to view or make changes in their Space. You can assign other users’ access to your personal space by following the directions on our Organizing with Spaces page.

Setting Your Default Space

By default, when you choose Browse, the page that will be displayed is the “Shared” Space. However, if you prefer a different Space to be the default option, you can make that change. Simply navigate to the Space of interest, then use the Gear Icon in the upper right and choose the Set as Your Default Space option.

Viewing Lists of Looks and Dashboards

As noted above, dashboards are collections of nicely arranged data visualizations, shown on the same screen. A “Look” is a saved report showing one visualization that can be retrieved by name and shared with other people in the organization.

One of the best ways to start using Looker is to navigate around the existing Spaces to see what content already exists.

When you navigate to a Space, any Looks and dashboards within the space are listed:

If there is a description for a Look or a description for a dashboard, the description is shown under the item’s name:

In the list of Looks, if a Look is saved onto a dashboard, an icon is shown next to the Look name. Hovering over that icon will show a list of the dashboards the Look is saved to:

Each Look listing also includes a link to Explore from that Look. Each Look is based on a set of data defined by a model, such as a model for your purchasing data or a model for your customer order data. If a Space contains Looks based on different models, then Looker also displays the model for each Look’s listing.

If a list of Looks or dashboards is too long to fit on a single page, you can navigate through the pages of the list using the arrows at the bottom right of the list:

If you’ve scheduled delivery of a Look or dashboard, the listing shows the number of schedules for that content.

Marking Content as a Favorite

Sometimes it’s useful to keep the most important content to you in one place, so that you don’t need to navigate through Spaces to get to it. You can do this by using Looker’s favorite feature.

As you find content that’s important to you, click the heart icon to its right:

You can then see all of your favorite content in the “Favorites” space:

If your Looker admin has enabled the Homepage with Thumbnails Labs feature, you can also use your homepage to mark content as a favorite and to view your favorite content.

Sorting Lists of Content

To make it easier to find your content, you can also sort lists of dashboards or Looks by Name or Favorite status. Just click on the column name in the list you want to sort:

Organizing and Managing Spaces

Typically, users can organize their personal space as desired, creating subspaces and assigning access to it. You can learn how to organize spaces and their content on this page.

On the other hand, organizing shared spaces affects other users. For this reason, sometimes only particular users can create subspaces, assign access, or make other changes to shared spaces.


You now know how to find existing dashboards and Looks that were created by someone else. Next, learn how to view and use dashboards.