explore: explore_name {
  sql_always_where: ${created_date} >= '2017-01-01' ;;
Default Value

A SQL WHERE condition using dimension name(s) and/or SQL column name(s)

Special Rules
If you are referencing a SQL column name in sql_always_where that is part of a joined view rather than part of the Explore, it's important to use the always_join parameter -- or reference a field name instead


sql_always_where lets you apply a query restriction that users cannot change. The restriction will be inserted into the WHERE clause of the underlying SQL that Looker generates, for all queries on the Explore where sql_always_where is used. In addition to queries run by human users, the restriction will apply to dashboards, scheduled Looks, and embedded information that relies on that Explore.

The condition can be written in pure SQL, using your database's actual table and column names. It can also use Looker references like:

  • ${view_name.SQL_TABLE_NAME}, which references a different Looker view or a derived table. Note that SQL_TABLE_NAME in this reference is a literal string; you do not need to replace it with anything.
  • ${view_name.field_name}, which references a Looker field. Using this method is better than referring to SQL columns directly because Looker can automatically include any necessary joins.

A sql_always_where condition is not displayed to the user, unless they look at the underlying SQL of any queries that they create.


Prevent users from looking at orders before 2012-01-01:

# Using Looker references
explore: order {
  sql_always_where: ${created_date} >= '2012-01-01' ;;

# Using raw SQL
explore: order {
  sql_always_where: DATE(created_time) >= '2012-01-01' ;;

Prevent users from looking at customer information for Altostrat Corporation:

explore: customer {
  sql_always_where: ${name} <> 'Altostrat Corporation' ;;

Prevent users from looking at orders from Altostrat Corporation:

explore: order {
  sql_always_where: ${customer.name} <> 'Altostrat Corporation' ;;
  join: customer {
    sql_on: ${order.customer_id} = ${customer.id} ;;

Common challenges

If you use raw SQL, you might need to use always_join

If you are referencing a SQL column name in sql_always_where that is part of a joined view, instead of the Explore, it's important to use the always_join parameter. Consider this example:

explore: order {
  sql_always_where: customer.name <> 'Altostrat Corporation' ;;
  join: customer {
    sql_on: ${order.customer_id} = ${customer.id} ;;

In this case sql_always_where is referencing a column from the joined customer view, instead of the order Explore. Since sql_always_where will be applied to every query, it's important that customer is also joined in every query.

When Looker generates SQL for a query, it attempts to create the cleanest SQL possible, and will only use the joins that are necessary for the fields a user selects. In this case, Looker would only join customer if a user selected a customer field. By using always_join, you can force the join to occur no matter what.

If, instead of sql_always_where: customer.name <> 'Altostrat Corporation' you used sql_always_where: ${customer.name} <> 'Altostrat Corporation', Looker would be smart enough to make the customer join without requiring you to use always_join. For this reason, we encourage you to use Looker field references instead of raw SQL references when possible.

Only use one sql_always_where per Explore

You should only have one sql_always_where in an explore definition. Put all the desired behavior into a single sql_always_where by using AND and OR as needed.

Things to know

There is a similar parameter for the SQL HAVING clause

There is a very similar parameter to sql_always_where called sql_always_having that works in the same way, but applies conditions to the HAVING clause instead of the WHERE clause.

If you want filters a user can change, but not remove, consider always_filter

If you want to force users to use a specific set of filters, but where the default value can be changed, try always_filter instead.

If you want user specific filters that can't be changed, consider access_filter

If you want an Explore to have filters that are specific to each user, and cannot be changed in any way, you can use access_filter.