How to create a dashboard in Looker


A Looker dashboard is a collection of visualizations, charts and tables that give you an overview of your data.

Laptop computer displaying logo of Looker Data
Image: monticellllo/Adobe Stock

Data visualization is an integral part of the decision-making process. One way to make data easier to understand is through dashboards. They are a visual representation of the data we use daily and help us focus on what is most important. Dashboards are often used for operational purposes such as making decisions and tracking performance over time.

Need help finding data or building visualizations? Looker is a business intelligence software that helps organizations explore, analyze and share data easily. It allows users to create customized dashboards and reports and access data through an intuitive interface. With Looker, businesses can make better decisions faster.

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Looker dashboards can track KPIs, monitor trends, spot opportunities, create reports and share insights with your team. Dashboards are an essential tool for data-driven businesses, and with Looker, they’re easy to create and customize. In this guide, you will learn how to create dashboards in Looker step-by-step.

Types of Looker dashboard tiles

There are three types of tiles that you can use to build your dashboard.

Query Tiles

​​Query Tiles can be created in-dashboard or added to a dashboard from a Look or Explore. Unlike regular Looker searches, a Query Tile only appears on Looker Dashboards. When you don’t want to fill up your folders with too many Looks, Query Tiles can help you out. Even if the Look is erased, the tile remains on the dashboard and is unaffected by further modifications to the Look.

Look-Linked Tiles

A Look-Linked Tile is a good option if you want to build, modify and test a query in one location but use it in many dashboards. Any associated tiles will also be updated if the Look is altered. You can only add a Look-Linked Tile to a dashboard from a Look. They connect the underlying query of a Tile to a Look.

The dashboard and the Look must be in the same directory. Adding Looks from another folder requires you to first copy the Look into the same folder as the dashboard.

Text Tiles

The Looker Dashboard can be used to create a Text Tile. It specifies and labels the various graphical components of Looker Dashboards. They are formatted to resemble headlines and descriptions rather than Tiles and have a basic style that allows for a wide range of customization options.

Methods to build a Looker dashboard

In Looker, you can create custom dashboards to display the data that is most important to you. You can create Looker dashboards from a Folder, Look or Explore.

What you’ll need

In order to create a dashboard, you’ll need:

Access to the Looker interface: You can do this by logging in with your admin credentials. Once you log in, navigate to the folder and click on Manage Access.

Figure A

Image: Looker.

From there, click the current access level to change the access level for a user or group.

Figure B

Image: Looker

Further, you must have appropriate Looker permission levels — permissions that dictate how much visibility and control a user has over the data they view. In addition, you’ll need to have access to the LookML models for the data you want to use in the dashboard.

Creating a Looker dashboard from a folder

To create a dashboard in Looker from a folder:

  1. In the Looker interface, navigate to the desired folder you want to create the dashboard.
  2. At the top right of the folder, click New.
  3. Select Dashboard from the pop-up menu at the top of the screen.
  4. In the pop-up window, enter a name for your new dashboard.
  5. Then, select the Create Dashboard button.
  6. Edit dashboard.

Figure C

Image: Looker.

Figure D

Image: Looker. The Create Dashboard window appears when you click on Dashboard.

Figure E

Image: Looker.

When you first create a dashboard, it will appear blank. To add tiles or text, enter edit mode by clicking the Edit Dashboard button in the center of the dashboard pane or selecting Edit dashboard from the dashboard menu.

Creating a Looker dashboard from a Look or Explore

The second method of creating a user-defined dashboard in Looker is via a Look or Explore. The following is the process of setting up a new dashboard:

  1. To create a dashboard, you’ll first need to navigate to a Look or Explore.
  2. Once you’re on the Look or Explore page, select Save and a submenu will appear.
  3. Then, select As A New Dashboard from the sub-menu. A Save As New Dashboard window will appear
  4. In the Title field on the Settings tab, enter a name for your new dashboard
  5. Then, select a folder where you want to save your dashboard. As stated above, note that you must have Manage and Edit access for your desired folder.
  6. You can choose between using the Look filters or the Explore filters for the dashboard on the Filters tab. Although there is no way you can use custom filters as dashboard filters, however, they may still be used on tiles.
  7. Finally, select save on the bottom right corner of your screen.

Figure F

Image: Looker.

Figure G

Image: Looker.

Figure H

Image: Looker.

Figure I

Image: Looker.

After you’ve created a dashboard, it is usually empty. The next step is to add tiles and text. You can do this by creating Query Tiles within the dashboard.

Figure J

Image: Looker.

Click the Add button on the top left of the dashboard. Then, select Visualization. A menu with several Looker Explores will appear. Select one to create your Query Tile.

Figure K

Image: Looker

Figure L

Image: Looker. You can build your Query in Looker’s Explore window.
  1. Name your Query. This will serve as the title of the dashboard tile. You can customize your query by selecting relevant fields and filters.
  2. Customize your Visualization preferences.
  3. Once you’re done, click Run to set up.
  4. To add the Query as a tile to your dashboard, simply click the Save button.



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