Viewing Looks in Looker

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Now that you've learned how to view and use dashboards, this tutorial will show you how to view and use saved Looks.

You can view and interact with Looks as much as you want without impacting other Looker users! The only way to affect anyone else is if you select the Edit button and make changes (see the Saving and editing Looks documentation page to learn more). Once you've mastered viewing Looks, learn more about exploring and creating visualizations.

Finding and viewing Looks

Both Looks and dashboards can be organized in folders (for example, you can have folders named Marketing, Q4 Sales Review, and so on), boards, or on a homepage. You can navigate your company's folders by expanding the list of folders in the Folders section of the left navigation panel. You can navigate your company's boards by expanding the list of boards in the Boards section.

You can open a Look by selecting the Look's name or thumbnail icon, depending on whether a folder is organized in grid view or list view.

You can also choose Explore from Here if you want to use the Look as a starting point for further data exploration. This tutorial focuses on viewing the Look. Visit the Exploring data in Looker documentation page to learn more about exploring.

The Look page

When you view a Look, you'll see the following:

For Looks with the Run on Load option disabled, the data will not load automatically. Select the Run button to load the data. You can learn more on the Saving and editing Looks documentation page.

  1. The title of the Look, and the name of the folder in which it is saved.
    • You can select the heart icon next to the Look's name to add the Look to your Favorites folder.
  2. Information about how many rows are in the Look, how long the report took to run, and how old the data is.
  3. How long ago the data was queried (to display the date and time, hover over the relative time information).
  4. The time zone of the data you're viewing, if your admin has enabled user-specific time zones.
  5. The gear menu.
  6. Details about the Look.

    The remaining items can be expanded or hidden as desired:

  7. A list of filters that have been applied to the report, if any. If the Look was created with adjustable filters, you can temporarily change them to limit the report to the information that you're interested in. Just remember to hit the Run button in the upper right after making any changes. Unless you select Edit and make the change in edit mode, changes to the filters are temporary and do not affect other Looker users.

  8. The visualization that is associated with the Look's data.

  9. Additional details about each data point, which you can reveal by hovering over that point on the visualization.

  10. The underlying data of the Look. From here, you can adjust the following report elements:

    • Sort order. Select a column heading (or several using the Shift key) to sort the values in the column. Looker will adjust the results and automatically rerun the query if necessary.
    • Row and column limits. After making changes to the limits, be sure to select the Run button in the upper right to run the query with the new limits.

    Unless you select Edit and make the change in edit mode, changes to the sorting or limits are temporary and do not affect anyone else.

  11. If the field has a description defined in its LookML, hovering over the table column header will display the description.

  12. Depending on your permissions, next to each dimension or measure label you may see a gear icon that provides a Go to LookML link for Looker developers to view the field's LookML definition.

If you make any changes while viewing a Look, such as changing filters, sorting a column, or changing row limits, you can return to the Look's original settings by selecting Reset Look.

As you gain familiarity with Looker, you'll begin to use saved Looks as a launch pad for further exploration. You can start with one set of data and then begin exploring the answers to related questions by changing the filters, changing the visualization, sorting the data differently, or making other changes. You can learn about these exciting possibilities in our exploring data tutorial.

The Look Explore actions gear menu

The Explore actions gear menu on a Look's page lets users use or customize their Look in several ways, depending on their permissions in Looker. Depending on user permissions, the options can include the following:

The Details panel

The Details panel on the right side of a Look lets users quickly view and access additional details about a Look. Users can also customize and use their Look in several ways, depending on their permissions, including:

  1. Expanding or collapsing the Details panel by selecting the circle-arrow icon.
  2. Viewing or editing a Look's description.
  3. Viewing the schedule activity of a Look, including creating or editing existing schedules you have created for a Look.
  4. Viewing a list of dashboards that the Look has been added to as a Look-linked tile, or adding the Look as a query tile or Look-Linked tile to a new or an existing dashboard. You can view a dashboard by selecting the name of a dashboard from the dashboard list.
  5. Viewing the history of updates to a Look's settings by users.

Choosing time zones

If your Looker admin has enabled user-specific time zones, Looker provides a drop-down menu for time zone selection.

Select the current time zone displayed in the upper right of the Look to choose a new time zone.

The time zone setting affects the data returned when filtering for "today", "yesterday", and so on. You can learn more on the Using time zone settings documentation page.

Drilling into a Look

You may be able to drill into a data point on your Look to learn more about it. You can drill in one of two ways:

Drilling into a Look's data table

You may be able to drill into a value in a Look's data table, if it is enabled by your Looker developers.

For example, December 21, 2019 has had 39 orders. Selecting the count value of 39 shows details about those specific records:

Looker then displays a Details window about those 39 orders:

For datasets where the row limit is reached in the Details window, Looker provides a link for downloading the complete set of results. Select the Download Results link to download the data, using the same options as shown on the Downloading content documentation page.

You can also select Explore from Here to use the drill details as a starting point for a new Explore.

If your Looker admin has enabled the Visual Drilling Labs feature, drill visualizations will not always default to a data table. Instead, Looker will select the best visualization type to show for each drill. When the visualization from a drill is not a table, buttons allow you to switch between the default visualization type and a data table:

Drilling into a Look's visualization

Looker also lets you get more specific information about a data point by drilling into a Look's visualization. To do so, simply select the data point in the visualization about which you'd like more information.

If your Looker developer has included any custom visualization types, it may not be possible to drill into those visualizations.

You can choose which type of drill to perform when you select the option you're interested in. In the following example, the user selects the 2019-06 data point in the visualization. In this case, the user can choose to see row-level data for all 1,147 orders placed, or they can choose to display drill results with a different time granularity based on the time frames that are available for Created Date. The drill results are shown in a drill overlay, and you can click a column's header to sort them by column. When you drill, you may also see an option to filter by the selected data point; in that case, you can choose to filter the visualization by that data point.

The options that appear to you will change depending on the data and visualization you're using.

The presence of links or actions is indicated by an ellipsis (…) following the value in a column.

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

When you select a value, Looker provides an option to open the destination of the link. In the preceding example, the developers added a link to the State column. When you select a State value, Looker provides an option to perform a Google search for that state's name.

Using actions

Your Looker admin and developers can set up an integrated service and can tag a field to provide access to that service. Then, when you select a value from that field, you can choose to send your data to that service:

In the preceding example, the Phone field has a link to the Twilio service. When you select the phone number and choose the Twilio action, Twilio prompts you to enter a message. Twilio then sends that message to the phone number.

Zooming on Cartesian charts

You may be able to zoom on a Look's visualization that contains a Cartesian chart (a column, a bar, a scatterplot, a line, an area, a waterfall, or a boxplot chart).

To zoom, click and drag to highlight an area within the visualization that you want to zoom on. In the following visualization, the shaded rectangle is the area that will be zoomed on:

After you highlight the area, the visualization refreshes with the zoom area expanded to the full visualization size. While zoomed in, you can pan the zoomed area horizontally by holding down the Shift key and dragging the visualization right or left.

A Reset zoom button appears near the top right of the visualization; click the button to reset the visualization to its original appearance. Zoom areas cannot be saved and will be reset when the viewer closes the Look or navigates away from it.

If a visualization has the Allow Zoom option on the Y menu disabled, you cannot zoom into smaller portions of the y-axis; you can zoom only into smaller portions of the x-axis. When you highlight an area to zoom, the entire y-axis will be included as shown in the following visualization:

A dashboard tile with a highlighted zoom area that covers the whole y-axis and a portion of the x-axis.

If a visualization has the Allow Zoom option on the X menu disabled, you cannot zoom on the visualization at all.

When exploring a Look, you can navigate to other items saved within the same folder. To quickly navigate to saved content within the same folder:

  1. Select the folder name above the Look's name.

  2. Select an option displayed in the drop-down menu. You can choose to view the folder itself, as well as any dashboards or Looks that are saved in the same folder.

Viewing visualizations on mobile devices

When viewing a Look 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.


You now know how to view and understand existing Looks. If you'd like to learn how to create your own reports, check out our Exploring data in Looker documentation page.