Viewing legacy dashboards in Looker

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This page describes Looker's legacy dashboards, which are visible only if the Can use Legacy Dashboards legacy feature is enabled on your Looker instance. Update to Looker's new dashboard experience for faster performance; a fresh, modern look and feel; and customizable, user-friendly filters.

Once you've navigated to a Look or dashboard of interest, you can view and make temporary changes to that content, like filtering the data or changing a time zone. As long as you do not save your changes, you can view and modify legacy dashboards and Looks without impacting anyone else.

This page explains how to use a legacy dashboard in other ways, such as downloading a legacy dashboard or using a legacy dashboard to start exploring your own related questions. See the Viewing Looks documentation page for a similar overview on viewing Looks. Learn more about browsing and exploring data before starting to edit Looks or edit legacy dashboards.

Legacy dashboard introduction

A legacy dashboard is a collection of visualizations, text, and queries that are displayed like tiles together on one page:

Dashboards can be made up of tiles that are based on text, saved Looks, or queries specific to that dashboard.

To view a legacy dashboard, navigate to the folder that contains the legacy dashboard and click on the legacy dashboard's name (as shown in the Opening a saved dashboard section on this page). To learn more about editing and managing your own legacy dashboard, see the Editing legacy dashboards documentation page.

Opening a saved legacy dashboard

To open a saved legacy dashboard:

  1. Click the Browse menu.
  2. Navigate to the appropriate folder or page.
  3. Click the legacy dashboard name to open it.

If your admin has enabled the Enhanced Navigation Labs feature, you can use the new enhanced left navigation panel to navigate to a dashboard.

Switching between legacy dashboards and dashboards

Depending on your permissions and the settings your Looker admin has applied to your Looker instance, you can switch between legacy dashboards and new dashboards through the dashboard menu or the dashboard URL.

Upgrading legacy dashboards

You can upgrade a legacy dashboard permanently through the dashboard gear menu or temporarily by changing the dashboard URL.

Upgrading via the dashboard menu

If you have the Manage Access, Edit access level to edit a legacy dashboard, you can upgrade it through the gear menu in the top right corner of the dashboard. Select Upgrade Dashboard. This menu option changes the default display of the dashboard.

Legacy dashboards can also be upgraded from folders.

Upgrading with the URL

If you do not have the Manage Access, Edit access level for a legacy dashboard, you can temporarily upgrade the dashboard by changing /dashboards-legacy/ in the URL to /dashboards/ and pressing Enter (Windows) or return (Mac) on your keyboard. A URL with /dashboards/ shows the upgraded dashboard version.

Reverting dashboards to legacy dashboards

If the Can use Legacy Dashboards legacy feature is enabled on your Looker instance, you can revert a dashboard to a legacy dashboard through the API or, for LookML dashboards, with LookML. You can change a dashboard's URL to temporarily view the legacy version of the dashboard.

Upgrading and reverting LookML dashboards

If the Can use Legacy Dashboards legacy feature is disabled on your Looker instance, all LookML dashboards will render as new dashboard experience dashboards regardless of the value given to the preferred_viewer parameter. You will not need to upgrade any dashboards, and you will not be able to revert any dashboards.

To edit a LookML dashboard, you must have develop permission and edit the LookML file that the dashboard is based on. The preferred_viewer parameter in the LookML file determines how the dashboard is rendered.

To upgrade a legacy LookML dashboard, add preferred_viewer to the dashboard file header and give the parameter the value dashboards-next. When you select Upgrade Dashboard from the dashboard menu of a LookML dashboard, Looker displays a window with instructions on how to upgrade the LookML for the dashboard. The window also lets you copy the LookML that you need to make the switch.

If the Can use Legacy Dashboards legacy feature is enabled on your Looker instance, you can revert a LookML dashboard to a legacy dashboard. To downgrade, give the preferred_viewer parameter the value dashboards.

Making temporary changes to a legacy dashboard

You can make some types of temporary changes to a legacy dashboard without affecting anyone else, such as changing the time zone. If your legacy dashboard has filters, you can also change the filter values to restrict the dashboard to certain types of data.

To save these changes so that they are apparent to other users, see the Editing legacy dashboards documentation page.

Changing legacy dashboard filter values

Looker legacy dashboards can have one or more filters that affect one or more tiles. For an overview of the kinds of filters available in Looker, see the Filtering and limiting data documentation page.

On the legacy dashboard, you can change filter values to see how the data changes. Your changes will not affect anyone else unless you edit the dashboard and save your changes. If one or more tiles do not update when you change a filter value, the filter may not apply to those tiles unless you edit the dashboard.

For example, legacy dashboards often have a filter that specifies the number of days to include. Click the Filter section to see the filter:

Then you can use the drop-down menus to change the filter choices as desired:

In the drop-downs, one of the choices is matches (advanced), which lets you use advanced filtering choices.

Another choice in the drop-downs is matches a user attribute, which lets you customize a legacy dashboard for each user that views it.

Configuring a legacy dashboard time zone

The time zone applied to your legacy dashboard can affect the results shown, due to slight differences in the exact hours used for time-based data. Because of this, you may want to change the time zone of your dashboard if you are interested in the data as it applies to a different region.

If your admin has enabled the User Specific Time Zone setting, you can use the time zone drop-down menu to specify the time zone in which a legacy dashboard is run:

You can choose one of the following options:

  • Each Tile's Time Zone to have all tiles run in the time zone in which they were saved
  • Viewer Time Zone to have all tiles run in the time zone selected in your account settings
  • Any of the time zones listed in the drop-down to have all tiles run in that time zone

Once you navigate away from the legacy dashboard, your time zone will return to the default time zone assigned to your Looker account.

If a dashboard time zone is set to Each Tile's Time Zone and any tiles in the dashboard do not use your default time zone, which is set in your account settings, a clock icon appears in the upper right of the tiles. Hover over the clock icon to see the time zone the tile is using.

Refreshing data in a legacy dashboard

Looker legacy dashboards aren't static snapshots of data from a specific time. Looker dashboards pull data from your live database when you load the page. Typically, Looker has access to the data as fast as the data reaches the database.

If your Looker admin has enabled the Instant Dashboards Labs feature, the legacy dashboard will load immediately based on the data that was pulled the previous time the legacy dashboard was run. It will run new queries in the background and update the legacy dashboard tiles as they are completed. If you are wondering whether you are looking at fresh data, check the top right corner of the tile; a spinner icon means that a new query is running, which in turn means that the tile will update when the query finishes.

The top right of your legacy dashboard shows how recently the data was retrieved:

If you want to get fresh data, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Clear Cache & Refresh to rerun the queries for all tiles on the legacy dashboard. If you want to refresh a specific legacy dashboard tile, click the three-dot icon and choose Clear Cache & Refresh.

Frequently using the Clear Cache & Refresh option on a legacy dashboard with many tiles, or very large reports, can cause a strain on your database. You can check the age of the legacy dashboard's data to the left of the Run button to see if the refresh is truly needed.

Delivering legacy dashboards

You can send immediate or recurring deliveries — also known as schedules — of your legacy dashboard to email recipients or to other destinations. See the Using the Looker Scheduler to deliver content and the Delivering legacy dashboards documentation pages for more information.

Downloading a legacy dashboard

To learn about downloading data from your legacy dashboard or one of its tiles, visit the Downloading content documentation page.

Opening a tile's Look

For tiles that are based on Looks, you can see the Look that generated the tile by selecting View Original Look from the tile's three-dot menu:

Exploring the data used in a legacy dashboard

Dashboards are also starting points for further exploration. If given permission by your Looker admin, you can click the title of a tile to explore its underlying data, or you can select Explore From Here from the tile's menu:

Once you arrive at the Explore page, you can continue to adjust the query for your particular interest.

You also can click or hover on some elements in the legacy dashboard tiles (such as a slice of a pie chart) to view more details about the data. You can learn the skills for exploring the details of a dashboard's data on the Exploring data in Looker documentation page.

The presence of links or actions are indicated by three periods following the data in a field.

In some cases, your Looker developers may have added clickable links to your data:

When you click on the data in the field, Looker provides an option to open the destination of the link. In the example above, the developers added a link to the Brand column. When you click on a brand listing, Looker provides an option to perform a Google search for that brand name.

Using data actions

Your Looker developers may have added data actions to the dimensions or measures in your data. With data actions, you can perform tasks with other tools directly from Looker, such as sending an email or setting values in other applications. These data actions appear in the drill menu under an Actions heading:

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.

When exploring a legacy dashboard, you can navigate to other items within the same folder by using the drop-down in the upper left.

Viewing visualizations on mobile devices

If Mobile Application Access is enabled for your instance, you can view legacy dashboards in the Looker mobile application. To learn more, visit the Looker mobile application documentation pages.

When you're viewing a legacy dashboard tile visualization on a mobile device, Looker has the following touch options to make it easier to view information about your data:

  • Tap a data point on the visualization to show information about that data point.
  • Press and hold a data point to drill into the data behind the data point.
  • Press and drag across the visualization to show information about each data point as you move over them.