This page refers to the explore parameter that is part of a model.

explore can also be used as part of a dashboard filter, described on the Dashboard parameters documentation page.

explore can also be used as part of a dashboard element. A representative example of its usage is provided on the Column chart parameters for LookML dashboards documentation page.


explore: explore_name { . . . }
Default Value

The name of an existing view, or a name for the explore when using from

Special Rules
explore names must be unique within a given model


If there is a plus sign (+) in front of the Explore name, such as explore: +orders, that is a refinement of an Explore. See the LookML refinements documentation page for more information.

explore adds an existing view to Looker's menu of Explores as described on the LookML terms and concepts documentation page. As a best practice, an Explore should be defined inside of a model file.

Explores are typically named after an existing view. However, if you want to have multiple Explores based on the same view, you can add a from parameter to the Explore. In that case, the Explore can be given any valid name, which includes only lowercase letters (a-z), digits (0-9), and underscores.

explore plays an important role in the SQL that Looker generates. Suppose a user chooses Customers from the Explore menu and runs a query. This customers Explore is based on the view called customers, which is associated with a database table. That table is placed in the FROM clause of the user's SQL query.

explore can have many child parameters that affect the display and filter behavior and that specify adding joins for the Explore. If an Explore includes one or more joins, then those joins can have join parameters that specify the desired join behavior.


Add an option to the Explore menu based on the view called users:

explore: users {
  # additional explore parameters go here

Add an option to the Explore menu called Events based on the view called user_events:

explore: events {
  from: user_events

Common challenges

explore needs to reference an existing view name

You cannot define the database table, dimensions, measures, and other fields that are part of a view via an explore parameter. Instead, you first need to define a view using the view parameter. Then you can reference the name of that view in explore.

explore needs to reference the view name, not its filename

Typically, the name of a view is the same as the view file where the view is defined. This is not required — the view name and view filename can be different.

For example, you have a view called users defined inside of a file called company_users. The view file company_users looks like this:

view: users { ... }

You then add the users view to the Explore menu with:

explore: users { ... }

Even though the users view is inside of a file called company_users, the name of the file does not matter. Only the name of the view in the view parameter matters.

When you use a measure of type: count in an Explore, the visualization labels the resulting values with the view name rather than the word "Count." To avoid confusion, we recommend pluralizing your view name, selecting Show Full Field Name under Series in the visualization settings, or using a view_label with a pluralized version of your view name.

Things to know

explore is usually used with additional parameters

It's possible to use explore by itself, without additional parameters. In practice, you typically see explore used with additional options. For example, it's very common to join additional views into an Explore.

All of the additional parameters that are associated with explore are found here. The parameters that can be used for a join within an Explore are found here.