A folder in Looker is a container that stores content. Content in Looker can take the form of either a Look, which is a saved snapshot of the data that results from a query, or a dashboard, which is a collection of tiles showing visualized query results. Folders enable you to organize your Looks and dashboards into logical buckets.
A Looker folder requires a user to have the View access level to see it, and the Manage Access, Edit access level to change its contents. Your Looker admin may have given you the permission and folder access level needed to organize your personal folder and possibly other folders.
Be careful when organizing folders, as the changes will affect all users who have access to each folder. This can even be an issue for your personal folder if other users are accessing Looks and dashboards in your folder.
Viewing and Managing Access for a Folder
The ability to view or make changes to a folder is determined by the access level granted to a user or group for that folder.
Folder Access Levels
There are two access levels that can be assigned to a user or group for any given folder.
View: With this access level, a user can see that the folder exists and be able to see the Looks and dashboards inside it.
Manage Access, Edit: This access level lets a user do everything that the View access level does, plus make changes to the folder, such as:
- Editing Looks and editing dashboards in the folder
- Specifying which users and groups of users can view or manage the folder
- Creating subfolders
- Renaming, moving, and deleting a folder
- Copying and moving Looks and dashboards
- Deleting Looks and dashboards
Viewing Access Levels for a Folder
To see the current access levels for a folder:
- Navigate to the folder. In the upper right, Looker displays a gear. You may also see a New button, depending on the permissions your Looker admin gave you and your access level for the current folder.
- Click the gear icon and choose the Manage Access option:
If you are not allowed to change access levels, Looker displays the access levels like this:
If you are allowed to change access levels, the Managing Access Levels for a Folder section shows how the screen will look.
Managing Access Levels for a Folder
You need both a permission from your Looker admin and the Manage Access, Edit access level for a folder to manage that folder. This gives you the ability to edit the name of a folder, create subfolders, and specify which other users can view or manage the folder.
Navigate to the folder and view its access levels. If there is an Add group or user field then you can manage the folder:
If the folder is a subfolder of another folder, Looker shows whether this folder currently inherits its access-level settings from its parent. You can also choose to create a custom list of users and groups.
If you chose to have a custom list of users and groups, you can manage each user or group individually:
Change the access level for a group or user by clicking their current access level and choosing the desired access level. You cannot change the ability of Looker admins to manage the folder:
Remove the access level from a group or user by clicking the X beside the name.
Add one or more groups or users by clicking the Add group or user field, choosing a group or user, then selecting the desired access level:
Creating a Folder
You can create a new folder within the Shared folder or your personal folder.
To create a new folder, first navigate to the folder that you want to contain it. In other words, if you want a new folder within the Shared folder, first navigate to that folder. Or, if you want a new folder inside the Marketing folder, make sure you’re in Marketing.
Once you have navigated to the folder:
- Click the New button in the upper right.
- Select the Folder option. (To create a dashboard from the New button, see the Creating User-Defined Dashboards documentation page.)
- In the Create folder pop-up, enter a name for the folder.
- Click Create folder.
By default, a folder inherits the folder access levels of its parent.
Setting Your Default Folder
By default, if your admin has enabled the pre-built Looker homepage option, Looker displays Shared folders in the left navigation and Browse menu. To set a different folder as your default, navigate to that folder and select Set as your default folder from the folder’s gear menu:
The default folder will appear in your Browse navigation menu and the left sidebar navigation:
When you set a default folder, it replaces Shared folders in the left navigation and Browse menu.
Renaming, Moving, and Deleting a Folder
Subfolders within Shared or your personal folder can be renamed, moved, and deleted. The top-level folders such as Shared or your top-level personal folder cannot be changed in this way.
To make a change, first navigate to the folder of interest. Then choose the appropriate option from the gear menu in the upper right:
Use caution when deleting a folder. In a single action you can delete all of a folder’s content, which could include subfolders. A Looker admin might be able to recover the content of a deleted folder, but the content will be returned to the personal folders of the users that created it, not back to the folder that was deleted.
Organizing and Managing Content Within Folders
Typically, users can organize their personal folders as desired, creating subfolders and assigning access to them.
Organizing shared folders affects other users. For this reason, sometimes only particular users can create subfolders, assign access, or make other changes to shared folders.
Copying and Moving Looks and Dashboards
If you have the Manage Access, Edit access level for a folder, you can copy or move its Looks and user-defined dashboards to another folder. (LookML dashboards reside only in the LookML Dashboards folder and cannot be saved into different folders.)
If a dashboard has Look-linked tiles, then those Looks must be in the same folder as the dashboard. Therefore, if you try to move a Look that is used in a dashboard, Looker will instead make a copy of the Look in the new location while also keeping the Look in its original location. This ensures that your dashboard doesn’t have any missing tiles. Also, if you copy or move a dashboard to a new location, Looker will copy or move its Looks to the new location as well.
To move or copy content, follow these steps:
- Check the box to the left of the item or items you want to change. If you have the pre-built Looker homepage enabled and you are in grid view, hover over a thumbnail to see the checkmark, then click the checkmark to select the Look or dashboard.
- Buttons will appear above the list of dashboards or Looks. Click Copy or Move. Looker displays the Copy Look(s) pop-up (shown above) or the very similar Move Look(s) pop-up.
- On the left side, click the name of a top-level folder to navigate to it.
- On the right side, click the name of a subfolder to use that subfolder, or to navigate to a subordinate subfolder. If there are many subfolders, you can type the subfolder name into Search this folder to filter the list to just that subfolder.
- When you have navigated to the folder where you want to copy or move the items, click OK.
Converting Dashboards from Look-Linked to Query Tiles
You can create a dashboard tile by linking to a saved Look (Look-linked), specifying text, or specifying a query directly. Look-linked tiles can cause clutter if there are many saved Looks that are only needed for a single dashboard. To avoid this, in folders you can select one or more dashboards and convert all of the tiles based on saved Looks to query tiles.
You can also use a dashboard’s gear menu to convert the dashboard’s Look-linked tiles to query tiles or use an individual tile’s menu to convert a single tile to a query tile.
As part of this process, you can choose to delete the source Looks after they are converted to query tiles. This option only appears for Looks in your dashboard that meet the following criteria:
You can see which Looks will be deleted before deciding, as shown in the procedure below.
To convert the Look-linked tiles on one or more dashboards to query tiles from list view:
- In your folder, select one or more dashboards.
- Click the Convert Looks to Tiles button.
- In the Convert All Looks to Tiles pop-up window, hover over the link to see the list of Looks that have been identified for deletion. Looker shows the link only if there are Looks that can be deleted safely, because they are not scheduled for data delivery, used in other dashboards, favorited, or public. If you don’t see the link, Looker hasn’t identified any Looks that can be deleted safely.
- The option to move Looks to the trash appears only if Looker has identified Looks that can be deleted safely. If you want to prevent Looker from deleting the Looks, uncheck the box. If the box is unchecked, Looker will keep all of the Looks but you can later delete them manually if you want to clean up your folders.
- Click Convert to convert all the of dashboard’s Look-linked tiles to query tiles.
Looker then replaces each of the dashboard’s Look-linked tiles with a new query tile that uses the same query and visualization settings as the original Look. If you opted to move Looks to the trash, the converted Looks listed in the window will no longer be seen in folders.
If you realize you need a deleted Look, your Looker admin might be able to recover it for you, so long as your Looker admin team has not already emptied Looker’s trash as part of their maintenance process.
Deleting Looks and Dashboards
If you have the Manage Access, Edit access level for a folder, you can also delete its Looks and dashboards.
To delete Looks and dashboards, first check the box to the left of the items you want to delete. Then click the Move to Trash button that appears above the list of dashboards or Looks:
Click OK in the confirmation window.
If you delete a Look that is the source for a dashboard tile, the dashboard’s Look-linked tile is replaced with a new query tile that uses the same query and visualization settings as the original Look.
For dashboards, the confirmation window may also show an option to Move an additional X Looks associated with the above Dashboards to the trash:
When checked, the Move an additional X Looks associated with the above Dashboards to the trash option will delete any Looks associated with the dashboard you’re deleting. However, Looker will only do so if the Looks are not scheduled for data delivery, used in other dashboards, favorited, or public. You can hover over the link at the bottom of the confirmation window to see the list of Looks that have been identified for deletion.
If you don’t see the Move an additional X Looks associated with the above Dashboards to the trash option, Looker hasn’t identified any Looks that can be deleted safely.
If you accidentally delete a piece of content, your Looker admin might be able to recover it for you. Looker stores deleted content in the trash until your Looker admin team empties the trash as part of their maintenance process.
You now know how to create, edit, organize, and view and manage permissions for folders in Looker. Next, learn how to personalize your user account.