Creating user-defined dashboards

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As of Looker 7.18, you cannot create legacy dashboards from scratch. Dashboards must be created using Looker's new dashboard experience, which is described on this page.

If your Looker admin has enabled the Revert to Legacy Dashboards legacy feature, you can create a dashboard and then permanently revert it to a legacy dashboard.

User-defined dashboards are created in the Looker UI. To compare and contrast user-defined dashboards and LookML dashboards, see the Comparing user-defined and LookML dashboards documentation page.

To create a dashboard, you must have:

Additionally, you must have access to the LookML models for any data you wish to use in the dashboard.

When you're creating a dashboard, keep in mind best practices for dashboard construction. Find information and recommendations about building performant dashboards in the Considerations when building performant Looker dashboards Help Center article.

Creating a dashboard from a folder

To create a dashboard from a folder:

  1. Navigate to a folder where you'd like the dashboard to be located.
  2. Click the New button at the top right of the folder.
  3. Click Dashboard.

    A Create Dashboard window appears:

  4. Enter a name for your new dashboard.

  5. Click Create Dashboard.

Next, your new blank dashboard appears. From here, you can add tiles or text by entering edit mode. To edit mode, select Edit dashboard from the dashboard menu or click the Edit Dashboard button in the center of the dashboard pane.

Creating a dashboard from a Look or an Explore

To create a dashboard from a Look or an Explore:

  1. Navigate to a Look or an Explore.

  2. Select Save from the menu.

  3. Select As new dashboard from the submenu.

    This opens a Save as a new Dashboard window.

  4. On the Settings tab in the Title field, enter a name for your new dashboard.

    The name that you enter applies to both the tile and the dashboard. You can modify title names at any time. To change the tile name for a query tile, see the Editing a query tile title subsection on the Editing user-defined dashboards documentation page. To change the dashboard name, enter edit mode on the dashboard.

  5. Select the folder where you want to save your dashboard. You must have the Manage Access, Edit access level for the folder.

  6. On the Filters tab, select whether to use the Look's or Explore's filters as the dashboard filters. Custom filters can't become dashboard filters, but they do remain as tile filters.

  7. Click Save.

    The Look or Explore will be saved as a query tile on the dashboard.

Adding tiles and text to a dashboard

Once you've created a dashboard, the next step is to add tiles and text to the dashboard.

The first tile you add to a dashboard takes up the entire width of the dashboard. Additional tiles you add are sized to one-third of the dashboard's width and are added horizontally under the first tile. Looker adds additional rows of tiles as necessary. You can move and resize tiles however you like. You can also edit tiles once you've created them to adjust the names of the tiles, the visualizations, or the underlying queries or Looks.

For any new tiles that are added to a dashboard, if they were created from the same Explore as a dashboard filter, the dashboard filter is automatically applied to that tile.

Think about the number and complexity of tiles and other elements that you add to a dashboard. More elements require more browser resources, which increases dashboard rendering time. If rendering becomes an issue, consider creating multiple dashboards with fewer elements. Find more recommendations about building performant dashboards in the Considerations when building performant Looker dashboards Help Center article.

Types of dashboard tiles

There are three kinds of tiles you can add to a dashboard:

Query tiles

Query tiles can be built directly within a dashboard or added to a dashboard from a Look or from an Explore.

A query tile is based on an independent query, one that is not linked to a Look. The query underlying a query tile belongs to the dashboard. Even if you use an existing Look to create a query tile, the Look is used only during the creation of the query tile. The tile is unaffected by any later changes to that Look and still exists on the dashboard even if the Look is deleted.

When possible, use query tiles to avoid cluttering your folders with unnecessary Looks.

Look-linked tiles

Look-linked tiles are added to a dashboard from a Look.

A Look-linked tile links the tile's underlying query to a Look. That Look is used when creating the tile and every time the dashboard is refreshed. The Look and the dashboard must be in the same folder. If you want to add Looks from a different folder, first copy the Look into the same folder as the dashboard.

A Look-linked tile is a good choice if you want to create, change, and test a query in one place but use it in multiple dashboards. If the Look changes, any tiles linked to that Look change. If the Look is deleted, dashboards show an error for the tile.

Text tiles

Text tiles are built directly within a dashboard.

You can use text tiles to define visual sections on a dashboard and to add descriptions. Text tiles in dashboards are designed to have flexible formatting and to default to look more like headings and descriptions than tiles.

Building query tiles within a dashboard

If you're in a dashboard, you can build a query tile from inside the dashboard.

Once you're in the dashboard's edit mode, you can either:

  • Click Add from the top left of the dashboard pane and then click Visualization, or
  • Click the Add button in the center of the dashboard pane, if the dashboard is currently blank, and then click Visualization.

Next, Looker displays a menu of Explores. Choose an Explore to build your query:

Looker opens the Explore window to let you build your query:

  1. Give your query a name. This will be the name of the tile on the dashboard.
  2. Select the fields and filters for your query.
  3. Configure your visualization options.
  4. Once you have set up your query, click Run.
  5. Click Save to save the query as a tile on your dashboard.

For any new tiles that are added to a dashboard, if they were created from the same Explore as a dashboard filter, the dashboard filter is automatically applied to that tile.

When adding a dashboard tile that contains a funnel chart or a timeline chart, you may notice that the charts look different on the dashboard tile than they do in the Explore window. Additionally, map charts' tooltips function differently when viewed on dashboard tiles. For more information, visit the funnel chart, timeline chart, and map chart documentation pages.

Adding query tiles from an Explore

You can save a query tile to a dashboard directly from an Explore. Once you are in an Explore and have a query that you want to add to the dashboard:

  1. Select Save from the gear menu and then select To an existing dashboard from the submenu.

    This opens an Add to Dashboard window:

  2. Give your tile a title.

  3. Select the folder where the dashboard is located.

  4. Select the dashboard.

  5. Click Save to Dashboard.

A confirmation message appears at the top of the Explore once you have added it as a tile on a dashboard. If you click the title of the dashboard in the confirmation message, Looker takes you directly to the dashboard in edit mode. From there, you can move and resize tiles however you like.

For any new tiles that are added to a dashboard, if they were created from the same Explore as a dashboard filter, the dashboard filter is automatically applied to that tile.

When adding a dashboard tile that contains a funnel chart or a timeline chart, you may notice that the charts look different on the dashboard tile than they do in the Explore window. Additionally, map charts' tooltips function differently when viewed on dashboard tiles. For more information, visit the funnel chart, timeline chart, and map chart documentation pages.

Adding tiles from a Look

You can add both query tiles and Look-linked tiles to dashboards from a Look.

Adding query tiles from a Look

  1. Navigate to a Look or an Explore.
  2. Select Save from the gear menu. This opens a submenu.
  3. Select To an existing dashboard from the submenu.

    This opens an Add to Dashboard window:

  4. When you add a query tile from a Look, the tile is given the same title as the name of the Look (which can be edited later).

  5. Select the folder where the dashboard is located.

  6. Select the dashboard.

  7. Click Save to Dashboard.

Any tiles that you add to a dashboard through this method are not connected to the Look you created them from. You can edit the tiles without affecting the Look. You can edit or delete the Look without affecting the tiles.

A confirmation message appears at the top of the Look once you have added it as a tile on a dashboard. If you click the title of the dashboard in the confirmation message, Looker takes you directly to the dashboard in edit mode. From there, you can move and resize tiles however you like.

For any new tile that is added to a dashboard, if the Look it was based on was created from the same Explore as a dashboard filter, the dashboard filter is automatically applied to that tile.

Adding Look-linked tiles from a Look

You can save a Look-linked tile to a dashboard directly from a Look. However, the Look and the dashboard must be in the same folder.

To add a Look-linked tile to a dashboard (see the Adding query tiles from a Look section for visuals):

  1. Make sure the dashboard and the Look are in the same folder, or copy the Look into the same folder as the dashboard.
  2. Select To an existing dashboard from the submenu. This opens an Add to Dashboard window.
  3. Make sure the folder that contains the Look and dashboard is selected.
  4. Select the dashboard.
  5. Click Add Look to Dashboard.

Any tiles that you add to a dashboard through this method are connected to the Look that you created them from and have the same title as the Look. If you edit the tile, the Look and any other tiles that are linked to that Look are affected. If you edit or delete the Look, the tiles are affected.

A confirmation message appears at the top of the Look once you have added it as a tile on a dashboard. If you click the title of the dashboard in the confirmation message, Looker takes you directly to the dashboard in edit mode. From there, you can move and resize tiles however you like.

For any new tile that is added to a dashboard, if the Look it was based on was created from the same Explore as a dashboard filter, the dashboard filter is automatically applied to that tile.

When adding a dashboard tile that contains a funnel chart or a timeline chart, you may notice that the charts look different on the dashboard tile than they do in the Look. Additionally, map charts' tooltips function differently when viewed on dashboard tiles. For more information, visit the funnel chart, timeline chart, and map chart documentation pages.

Adding text

This brings up a window where you can add a title, subtitle, and body. These elements are optional.

Titles and subtitles support some HTML, including links and images. You can also use some HTML in the bodies of text tiles. However, text tiles that are converted from original dashboards may not render as expected, especially if the HTML is referencing class names in element tags. To understand how Looker renders HTML, see the HTML sanitization documentation page.

Body text supports a subset of the Markdown markup language. See the Using Markdown in text tiles documentation page for more information about which Markdown syntax is supported in the body text.

Once you save, you will see your text tile at the bottom of the dashboard. It can then be moved and resized just as you would move and resize other tiles.

Once a dashboard is in edit mode, you can add text tiles to it by clicking Add from the top left of the dashboard pane.

WYSIWYG Text Tiles enabled

If your Looker admin has enabled the WYSIWYG Text Tiles Labs feature, you will see two options for text tiles:

  • Text: A new type of Looker text tile with an intuitive and visual editing experience. You can see the final display of the text tile as you edit it. Click Save on the dashboard to save your tile.
  • Markdown: Looker's original text tile that lets you use some HTML and a subset of the Markdown markup language to format the tile.

WYSIWYG Text Tiles disabled

If your Looker admin has not enabled the WYSIWYG Text Tiles Labs feature, you will see one option, Text. Selecting it lets you use Looker's original text tiles and format them using HTML and Markdown.

Once you select Text, a window appears where you can add a title, subtitle, and body. These elements are optional.

Titles and subtitles support some HTML, including links and images. You can also use some HTML in the bodies of text tiles. However, text tiles that are converted from original dashboards may not render as expected, especially if the HTML is referencing class names in element tags. To understand how Looker renders HTML, see the HTML sanitization documentation page.

Body text supports a subset of the Markdown markup language. See the Using Markdown in text tiles documentation page for more information about which Markdown syntax is supported in the body text.

Once you save your text tile, you will see it at the bottom of the dashboard. You can then move and resize your text tile just as you would move and resize other tiles.

Adding buttons

The Button option lets you add custom buttons to your dashboard. You assign the button a link to either a Looker URL or an external URL; then, when a dashboard viewer selects the button, they are taken to the URL.

To add a button to your dashboard:

  1. Make sure the dashboard is in edit mode.
  2. Select Button from the menu.
  3. A new button appears at the top of the dashboard with an open button edit window:

  4. In the Content tab of the button edit window, complete the following fields:

    • Label: This text will appear on the button. The button expands its width to accommodate the label until the label reaches the width of its tile box. Once the label reaches that limit, it will be truncated. If the label is truncated, it can be repeated in the Description field.
    • Link: This is the link that the button takes viewers to.

      In an embedded experience, links to dashboards should contain embed/ in the link URL.

    • Description: This description will appear when you hover over the button. If you don't enter a value, the description defaults to the link.

    • Open in a new browser tab: Select this option to automatically open the link in a new browser tab rather than navigating away from the dashboard. This option defaults to enabled.

  5. In the Design tab of the button edit window, you can customize the appearance of the button:

    • Button Style: Select one option:

      • Filled: Button has a colored background and white text.
      • Outlined: Button has an outline and colored text.
      • Transparent: Button has no outline or background. It has only colored text.
    • Color: Select a color from one of Looker's color collections in the Themes tab, or customize a color in the Custom tab; then select Save.

    • Button Size: Choose Small, Medium, or Large to set the size of the button text. The height of the button adjusts to fit the text. The default size is medium.

    • Alignment: Choose Left, Center, or Right to horizontally align the button within its tile box. The button's tile box defaults to full width, and the alignment defaults to center.

  6. Click Save to save your changes.

Moving and resizing buttons

Once added, a button can be moved and its tile box can be resized just as with any other tile.

By default, a new button is placed at the top of a dashboard within a tile box that is set to the full width of the dashboard.

Resizing a button's tile box may affect the placement of other dashboard elements, and it may affect a button's width; however, you can only adjust a button's text size or height through the Button Size option in the button edit window.

Adding data actions to tiles

If you have the develop permission for the model that a tile is based on, you can add data actions to that model. Data actions allow dashboard viewers to perform tasks with other tools directly from the tile, such as sending an email or setting values in other applications.

In the example above, the Phone field has a Twilio action. When you click the phone number and select the Twilio action, a Twilio pop-up prompts you to enter a message. Then Twilio sends that message to the phone number.

See the action parameter documentation page for more information.

Adding dashboard filters to a dashboard

The queries underlying dashboard tiles may include filters, but you can also add filters to a dashboard itself, which can affect all tiles or just select tiles. Dashboard filters allow users to narrow a dashboard's results to only the data they are interested in.

To add dashboard filters, you must have at least one query tile or Look-linked tile on the dashboard. Then, you can add filters by entering edit mode and selecting Filters from the top toolbar:

To learn more about building standard dashboard filters, visit the Adding and editing user-defined dashboard filters documentation page.

To learn about turning on dashboard cross-filters, visit the Cross-filtering dashboards documentation page.

Configuring dashboard settings

The dashboard settings can be accessed at the upper left of the dashboard in the blue toolbar. The default settings when you create a dashboard are:

See the Editing user-defined dashboards documentation page for more information about editing these settings.

Adding a description to a dashboard

To add a description to a dashboard, make sure the dashboard is in edit mode, and then select Show dashboard details from the dashboard three-dot menu. The Description text box will then become editable.

Once you've added a description, click Save to save the change.

Reverting to a legacy dashboard

If your Looker admin has enabled the Revert to Legacy Dashboards legacy feature, you can permanently revert a newly created dashboard to a legacy dashboard once it's created.

If your Looker admin has not enabled the Revert to Legacy Dashboards legacy feature, you can temporarily revert a newly created dashboard to a legacy dashboard by removing the -next from the dashboard's URL.

Improving dashboard performance using aggregate awareness

LookML developers may be able to improve dashboard performance by using aggregate awareness. With aggregate awareness, developers can create aggregate tables under LookML explore parameters, which can optimize queries for one or more tiles in a dashboard. The first step is to get the aggregate table LookML, which appears under the Get LookML option in the dashboard three-dot menu. For more information, see the aggregate_table parameter documentation page.

Find other information and recommendations about building performant dashboards in the Considerations when building performant Looker dashboards Help Center article.