Looker lets you organize your favorite Looks on dashboards, combining tables and charts in useful and interesting layouts. This tutorial teaches you how to use the Looker UI to create a new dashboard and populate it with visualizations (you can also create dashboards using LookML, which is described here).
A dashboard is essentially a collection of saved Looks, displayed all on one page. You can move elements and add filters to make the dashboard interactive. After you’ve configured a dashboard to your liking, you can share it with your team. You can create as many dashboards as you want, so you can tailor each dashboard to the specific needs of the people who use it.
CREATING A DASHBOARD
ADD ITEMS TO A DASHBOARD FROM EXPLORE
After you configure a Look on the Explore page, you can add the data table or visualization to an existing or new dashboard by clicking Add to Dashboard. Depending upon your version of Looker, this may be its own button above the data, or an option in the gear menu in the upper right. This diagram summarizes the process:
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you haven’t saved the Look yet, Looker will prompt you to give it a name and save it to a particular Space.
- If you want to add both the data table and the visualization to the dashboard, just add them separately by following these instructions twice.
- Think about the number and complexity of elements that you add to a dashboard. More elements require more browser memory, which increases dashboard rendering time. If rendering becomes an issue, consider creating multiple dashboards with less elements.
You can manage your saved dashboards by going to Spaces and opening the appropriate Space. Click the dashboard name to open the dashboard:
ADD ITEMS TO A DASHBOARD FROM A DASHBOARD
You can only add Looks to a dashboard when they are both saved in the same Space. If you would like to add Looks from a different Space, first copy the Look into the same Space as the dashboard.
It is also possible to add Looks to a dashboard from the dashboard itself. From the gear dropdown in the upper right corner of the Dashboard, select Choose Looks:
This will bring you to a menu where you can manage the Looks that are already on the dashboard, and add new Looks from the Space that the dashboard is saved in:
In order to add a new Look, click Add to the right of the Look’s name. If you’d like to remove a Look that already exists inside the dashboard, click Remove.
Click Update Dashboard to save any changes you made from this menu.
MOVE AND RESIZE DASHBOARD TILES
The ability to drag and drop charts requires your dashboard to be set to drag (before 3.32) ornewspaper (3.32+) as its type. If you have imported your dashboard from LookML, you will need to change this setting, which is described here.
Before Looker 3.32, you’ll need to use the drag layout, which does not allow you to change the width of a tile; each tile placed on the same row will be given an equal share of that row’s width. As of Looker 3.34, the newspaper layout is the default option, and allows you to size and move titles with much greater freedom. Grab the title of the tile to move it, or the corner of the tile to re-size it:
To remove a tile, click on the gear icon in its upper-right corner and select Remove.
ADD DASHBOARD FILTERS A USER CAN CHANGE
Release 3.10 solidified the ability to add filters to user defined dashboards. An improved interface was introduced in 3.32. Version specific instructions are given below.
Filters can be added to a dashboard so that users can narrow the dashboard’s results to the data they are interested in. Adding a filter consists of 2 major steps:
- Create the filter itself, which is what the user will interact with.
- Decide which dashboard tiles should “listen” to that filter. If you don’t actively do this, a tile will simply ignore the filter.
Select the Add/Edit Dashboard Filters… option from the gear menu in the upper right:
This will bring up the dashboard filters dialog:
Follow these instructions to add a filter:
- Give your filter a name
- Decide whether or not you want to base your filter on an existing Looker field. If you do, the user will have suggestions provided to them based on the contents of that field. If you do not, you can provide a blank space of a particular data type for the user to add their filter.
- If you’ve chosen to base your filter on a field, choose the model, explore, and field that you want to use.
- Add a default value if desired. This value will be suggested to the user when they load the dashboard, but they can change it if they like.
- Decide what tiles the filter should be applied to and turn them on.
- For the tiles that are “listening” to the filter, choose the field to which the value of the filter will be applied. In our example we’re creating a filter where the user can select an airport, so we might want to apply the value of the filter to the departure airport of the first tile, or something along those lines.
Access the Edit Dashboard Filters and Listeners page by clicking the gear in the upper right corner of a dashboard, and then selecting the Edit Filters and Listeners option. After you do so:
- Click Add Filter to create a filter. Give it a name, select the type of information a user will enter, and give it a default value.
- Click the Add Listen button for the tile on which you want to apply a filter. You’ll tell the tile which filter to listen to, and choose which Looker field the user’s input will be applied to.
CHANGE DASHBOARD SETTINGS
To edit the settings for a dashboard, first open the dashboard, then click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page and select Edit Dashboard:
Several settings can be adjusted from this interface:
The Title that you assign in this interface will be displayed both at the top of the Dashboard, and in the Space that the Dashboard is saved into.
The Description can be any text you want. It isn’t currently displayed anywhere other than this dialog box, but can be helpful to store relevant notes for future reference.
This option will only be available if you imported your dashboard from LookML.
Under the Layout drop-down menu, drag must be enabled in order to drag and drop tiles. A message will prompt this change if the Dashboard has recently been imported from a LookML dashboard. Any dashboard created through the UI is already in drag layout.
RUN ON LOAD
If Run On Load is set to On, each element on the Dashboard will automatically run when the page is first loaded. If Run On Load is set to Off, each element will show up when the page loads, but will not display any information until the Run button is pressed.
DASHBOARD AUTO REFRESH
If the Dashboard will be on display, it might make sense to refresh the data regularly to ensure up-to-date statistics. To do this, toggle Dashboard Auto Refresh to On, then select how frequently you would like the entire dashboard to be reloaded.
Caution: Frequent dashboard updates, especially on large dashboards, can place a significant strain on some database systems. You may wish to discuss this consideration with one of your Looker Admins.
If you only want some elements to refresh, instead of all of them, you can toggle Refresh to On next to each element and define its refresh time.
EXPLORING AND UPDATING DASHBOARD DATA
Looker dashboards aren’t static pictures of yesterday’s data. Looker fills dashboards using data from your live database, so you always get the latest picture.
If you want to get fresh data, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Clear Cache & Refreshto rerun the queries for all elements on the dashboard. If you want to refresh a specific dashboard element, click the gear icon on any tile and choose Clear Cache & Refresh.
Dashboards are also starting points for further exploration. You can click chart titles to drill down to the underlying data. Alternatively, click the gear icon on any tile and select Explore to open the query in Explore. From there, you can continue to adjust the query for your particular interest.