Looker lets you schedule periodic email delivery of a user-defined dashboard, a Look’s visualization, or a Look’s data. You can send the information to one or more email addresses.
Creating and Editing Schedules
After starting a schedule, Looker displays a dialog box with your scheduling choices.
The screen below shows an example Schedule dialog box for a dashboard delivered through email:
The following sections explain each scheduling setting for email destinations. For a description of all scheduling options, see the main scheduling documentation page.
Naming Your Delivery
Give the content a unique title in the Give your schedule a name field. The title is used for the email's subject line, and as part of the file name if you select a format that uses an email attachment.
Delivering to Email
In the Where should this data go? section, choose Email. Your data or visualization will be delivered to a list of email addresses you specify.
To learn more about other types of data delivery, see the page for each destination option: Amazon S3 bucket, SFTP, applications using a webhook, or one of several integrated services.
In the Who should it be emailed to section, enter the email addresses of the recipients. Enter a single email address, or multiple addresses separated by commas, and click Add. Those emails' domains must be allowed by your Looker admins. If the recipient is another Looker user, that person will have the option to link back to the Look or dashboard from the email.
Click Include a custom message to add a customized message in the body of the email.
You can also set the data delivery to run as if you had run the query yourself. If you are a Looker admin, you can set the data delivery to run for each recipient as if they had run the query themselves. You can set this in the Advanced options section as described on the Managing Business User Features documentation page.
Formatting the Data
In Format data as, choose the format for the data in your delivery.
For dashboards, you can choose:
- PDF: Your dashboard as a PDF attachment. The default layout displays tiles as they are arranged in the dashboard, but other layout and sizing options are available under Advanced Options.
- Visualization: A visualization of your dashboard in the body of the email as a single image. The default layout displays tiles as they are arranged in the dashboard, but other layout options are available under Advanced Options.
- CSV ZIP File: The unformatted data from your dashboard, delivered as a collection of comma-separated values (CSV) files in a zipped directory.
For Looks, you can choose:
- Data Table: Your Look's data table in the body of the email in HTML.
- Visualization: A visualization of your Look in the body of the email as an image.
- CSV: Your Look's data table as a comma-separated text file attachment.
- XLSX: Your Look's data table as an Excel file attachment.
- JSON — Simple: Your Look's data table as a JSON file attachment.
- Text: Your Look's data table as a tab-delimited text file attachment.
- HTML: Your Look's data table as an HTML file attachment.
Applying Filters to the Delivery
If you are delivering a Look or dashboard that has filters, you can filter the results delivered to each set of recipients. For example, you might send regional teams results that are filtered for their states of interest:
Click Filters to see and modify the filters associated with this Look or dashboard for your data delivery. Changing these filter options in the Send or Schedule window does not change the filters in your Look or dashboard.
If you change field names that serve as filters in your Looks or dashboards, be sure to review the Filters section of your scheduled Looks and dashboards and update the filters as needed to reflect your changes. If a scheduled content delivery includes filters that no longer function (for example, if the referenced field has changed), the scheduled delivery could expose unfiltered data.
To make custom deliveries even easier, you can use the matches a user attribute filter option if your Looker admins have configured user-specific values, called user attributes. Setting a filter to one of these attributes automatically customizes the results for each user, meaning that you can send customized results to many users even if you select Send only once. You can read more about user attributes here.
Using Advanced Options for Email
The Advanced options section provides additional customization for your emailed schedule. Click the arrow next to Advanced options to expand this menu.
For Looks not using the Visualization format, you can add conditions for when the data will be delivered:
- Send this schedule if: You can send the data only if there are results, only if there are no results, or in either case. With this option, you can send data deliveries only when the filters of your Look are met (or not met). For example, you can create filter conditions for situations you want to monitor, such as items that are below a certain amount in inventory, expenditures that are above a certain value, and so forth.
- and results changed since last run: This option cuts down on unnecessary data deliveries. Looker sends the data only if the query results have changed since the last data delivery was sent. This option is not available if you want to use the All Results limit option.
When sending Looks, you can limit the size of your email to stay within your email server's message size limitations. Select one of the following limit options for your data:
- Results in Table: Data is sent with a 5,000 row limit. This is the only choice available for emails using the Data Table or Visualization format options. Emails with over 5,000 rows will not be sent.
- All Results: If you are using the Text, CSV, JSON — Simple, XLSX, or HTML format options, you can send all of the rows of the results of a saved Look. This option ignores any limits set on a saved Look or Looker's typical 5,000 row limit. There is, however, a total data limit of 15 MB so that email applications will accept the attachment. Emails over 15 MB will not be sent. If you specify a Data Table or Visualization format and then select All Results, Looker automatically changes the format to use a Text attachment to support sending all results.
To verify that you are within the row or data limit for scheduled emails, you can enter your own email address as the recipient and click Send Test to send the data to yourself immediately. If you do not receive the email, it is likely that you have reached the row limit or the data limit for emails.
Limit options are not available when you send a dashboard. Dashboard query limits depend on the data delivery format:
- CSV zip files will include as many rows as the underlying query specifies, up to a 5,000 row limit.
- PDF and visualization formats show a static image of each tile at the time it was run. In the case of a tile showing a table visualization, you will see however many rows were visible in the tile when the file was rendered, and you will not be able to scroll the tile.
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 and you can send All Results. In addition to the format requirements mentioned above, there are two cases where streaming is not possible:
- Table Calculations: Table calculations cannot be streamed. Therefore, to download unlimited results for a query, you must remove table calculations from the query.
- 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 what databases support streaming, as well as databases that support streaming with pivots applied:
The following options are available when scheduling data delivery over email.
Run Schedule as Recipient
If you are not a Looker admin and you enter an email address other than your own, this option is unavailable. You can, however, enter your own email address, and the data delivery you receive will be the same as if you had run the query yourself.
If you are a Looker admin, see the Managing Business User Features documentation page for more information.
By default, email data deliveries include a link that reads "View this data in Looker":
This link lets the email recipients further explore the data on your Looker instance. If you want to remove this link from your data delivery emails, un-check the Include Links checkbox.
The following options are available when scheduling data delivery over email.
Apply Visualization Options
For Looks, Explores, and CSV-formatted dashboards, you can configure whether you want the data delivery to use the same options as your visualization:
Select Apply visualization options to apply some of the visualization settings to your delivery, causing your delivery to appear similar to a table chart. Any of the following settings in the Plot, Series, and Formatting menus that are configured for the visualization will be applied to the data delivery:
- Show Row Numbers
- Hide Totals
- Hide Row Totals
- Limit Displayed Rows to a maximum of 500 rows shown or hidden.
- Show Full Field Name
- Custom labels for each column (note that JSON files will always use raw field names, not the field label)
- Conditional Formatting for deliveries of table chart visualizations in Excel format
Conditional formatting will display in Excel deliveries of Looks and Explores with table chart visualizations only if the Along a scale rule is applied.
- Unselect Apply visualization options if you do not want these visualization options applied. Looker sends the data as it appears in the Data section of the Look or a dashboard tile's Explore from Here window.
Formatted Data Values
For Looks and the CSV format of dashboards, you can configure the data's formatting:
- Select Formatted data values if you want the data to appear more similar to the Explore experience in Looker, although some features (such as linking) aren't supported by all file types.
- Unselect Formatted data values if you do not want to apply any special formatting of your query results, such as rounding long numbers or adding special characters your Looker developers may have put in place. This is often preferred when data is being fed into another tool for processing.
Single Column Layout
For dashboard deliveries in PDF or Visualization format, you have the option to print your PDF in a single column layout, which displays dashboard tiles in a single vertical column. Check the Use single column layout box to use this option, or leave the box unchecked to show the tiles as they are arranged in the dashboard.
To display all rows of a data table — rather than just those rows that display in the dashboard tile thumbnail — in a PDF dashboard delivery or download, check the Expand tables box. If you do not see the Expand tables option, talk to your Looker admin about installing the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.
By default, Looker uses the time zone associated with your account to determine when to send your data delivery. If you don't have a time zone associated with your account, Looker will use your Application time zone. If you want to specify a different time zone, select Use custom timezone. The time zone you select does not affect the data in your Look or dashboard, just the timing of the delivery.
You have the option to specify the optimal size and orientation of dashboard PDFs 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 option, talk to your Looker admin about installing the Chromium renderer for your Looker instance.
Scheduling Challenges for Email
At times a scheduled delivery could fail to reach one or more of its recipients. This could happen if the underlying model has an error, if the recipient does not have access to the data, or if there are rendering problems or page errors.
There are a few other challenges that can arise:
- If your company has set up its own email settings in the Admin section of Looker, your Looker admins will need to make sure they are correct, and that your email provider is functioning properly.
- Depending on the Limit setting, the data delivery will either be limited to 5,000 rows or a maximum file size of 15 MB. Emails with more rows or data than these limits will not be sent.
- If an email does not send at the expected time — but does eventually arrive — it is likely because you're competing with other Looker tasks. These tasks can include other scheduled emails, many people exploring data at the same time, or persistent derived tables being built. If this occurs check with your Looker admins about competing tasks.
- If a specific email keeps disappearing from your distribution list, it's likely because a user is unsubscribing from that scheduled email. This can be a particular challenge if you use a group email alias to send to multiple people, because any individual recipient can unsubscribe that entire email alias. If you need to understand un-subscriptions check out this Community topic.