What’s new in Looker? Features & updates - April 2020 edition

  • 28 March 2022
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This content, written by Jill Hardy, was initially posted in Looker Blog on Apr 8, 2020. The content is subject to limited support.

Welcome to our April 2020 edition of “What’s New in Looker?”

Get ready to discover actions you can perform in Looker that you might not have known about. This post focuses on new product features of dashboards, Looks, and Explores (and leaves the coding to the developers.)

Important: If you create or maintain dashboards, pay special attention because this post is for you.

Today we’ll cover the new Looker dashboards. These dashboards didn’t just receive a makeover: they’ve also got an exciting new set of filter options that make them easier to use... when you do them right. You’ll learn how below.

But first, let’s check out the new look.

Sleek look and feel

Automatic margins between tiles, white (not gray) space, and an updated “Refresh Data” button make your new dashboards feel fresh and modern.

Notice the differences:

A dashboard in the original Looker style
The same dashboard in the new style

The automatic margins are a particularly useful addition because they make sure that your tiles and scroll bars never overlap.

Looks aside, filter functionality got a serious upgrade. Learn to use the options well and your dashboard will be much more intuitive for your end users.

How to get the most out of your new filter options

Use the overflow area

You can tuck away filters that aren’t commonly used in the new overflow area, represented by the More • 1 button below.

This keeps them available for more advanced users who may want to use them, while leaving room for important, commonly used filters in the front where they’ll be most visible.

Here’s how you select that option when creating a filter:

Use appropriate filter styles

You can style your filters according to the number of options they present. Here’s a breakdown:

Filter type (“Control”) Example Best use
Multiple selection
Button group Filters with up to 5 options
Checkboxes Filters with 5 - 10 options
Tag list (searchable) Filters with 10+ options
Single selection
Button Ttggles Filters with up to 5 options
Radio buttons Filters with 5 - 10 options
Dropdown menu Filters with 10+ options

Filter locations

The filter location you choose matters, too. You already know about the overflow area for less common filters. The other options are:

Inline, which displays the filter options up front in the dashboard. This is a great choice for important filters that should be made obvious to the user, since the options are always displayed.

Popover, which shows a summary of the selected options up front and a more complete list of options when clicked.

Using date filters

Date filters have their own style options (single day, date range, and timeframes). Creating one based on timeframes populates the handy preset options below:

Note that you can always find a calendar view by clicking on the Custom tab.

While this post focused mostly on the new filter features, new functionality continues to be added to these dashboards. Keep an eye on our to see updates as they come out.

And remember, a dashboard is only as good as the visualizations you put on it. To learn more about how to get that right, check out my previous post: .

Until next time,
Jill Hardy
Content Strategist, Customer Marketing at Looker

January 2020 features & updates

Welcome to another edition of “What’s New in Looker?”, a blog post aimed at making you say things like, “Whoa, I had no idea I could do that with Looker!”

This post focuses on new product features of dashboards, Looks, and Explores (we’ll leave the coding to the developers.)

Today I’d like to re-introduce you to an old friend: the table chart.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. You can now add header and text formatting, data bars, and more right within Looker. Exporting your data to customize tables is so last year.

Let’s experiment with these new features, shall we?

Text formatting

Change the text color, background color, formatting (such as bolding and italics), and alignment of the text in any of your data series from the Series option menu.

Give it a try with the table linked below. See if you can make the Brand column text bold by opening the Edit menu, selecting the Series tab, opening the toggle for Products Brand, and clicking the B icon.

Data bars in table cells

Add data bars for a little visual spice that will make your numbers easier to compare.

The Total Number of Orders column is a great candidate for this feature. Add data bars in the Series tab by opening the Order Items Order Count series and clicking the Bars toggle.

Format headers

This table chart is coming along nicely. Put the last polish on by adding a background color to the header row. You can do this in the Formatting tab by clicking the paint bucket icon in the Header options and choosing a color. Give it a shot.

The final result will look something like this:

Compare this with our original, plain table.

Just those three modifications made a dramatic improvement to the table’s readability. But I promised you could do more than that with these new table charts, so let’s keep going.


Get a different perspective on your table charts with your newfound ability to transpose. This changes the orientation of the data by swapping the positions of your columns and rows.

Try it out for yourself. Click the Transpose toggle in the Plot tab to see in action.

Your result will look similar to this:

If you find that you now have some column names that aren’t fully displayed, you can manually adjust their width by dragging the edges.


That’s right: adding subtotals to your table charts is now a table-calculation-free process. Hooray! Just click the Subtotals checkbox at the bottom of your visualization and then hit the Run button. The option appears when you have two or more dimensions. In this case, my dimensions are State and Zip.

Subtotals account for all but the rightmost dimension. To change what gets included in your subtotals, move your columns by clicking and dragging them around.

That’s all for today. If you’re hungry for more information about table charts, check out our to see everything you can do with them.

Until next time,
Jill Hardy
Content Strategist, Customer Experience

October 2019 features & updates

Welcome to “What’s New in Looker?”, a blog post aimed at making you say things like, “Whoa, I had no idea I could do that with Looker!”

This post focuses on new product features of dashboards, Looks, and Explores. We’ll leave the coding to the developers.

I have two great things to share with you today.

Never miss an important data change again

Get notified of important changes in your data as soon as they happen with . Set the alert conditions yourself or subscribe to an alert someone else made. Either way, you’ll be in the know.

For example, as a customer success manager, you can elect to be notified when your customer’s month-over-month product usage drops by 25%.

If you manage an inventory, you can receive notifications when your average shipping time rises above a certain threshold so that you can investigate what’s causing the holdup.

How to do it

To set up an alert, hover your cursor over the dashboard tile you want to make the alert for. Click the bell icon in the upper right corner.

Fill out the dialog box that pops up according to your preferences.

In this example, if the “Average Days to Process” value changes to something above 3.4, I’ll get an alert in my inbox every day at 5 a.m. until it falls below 3.4 again.

Click Create Alert to finish.

If you want to subscribe to an alert someone else has created... do it! Tiles with existing alerts display a number over the bell icon. Click it to open the alert pop-up.

Click Follow on the window that appears next. You’ll get on the recipient list like a nice fall breeze goes through an open front door... effortlessly.

Which data changes are most important to you and your team? Think over your favorite dashboards and consider creating an alert using this new Looker product feature today.

Know instantly if your metric is on track or not

Apply , and you’ll know how your metric is performing at a glance.

In the example below, the number will display in red if the customer health score is below 50. If it’s above 70 (that is, worthy of a celebration dance), the metric will display in green.

How to do it

To apply conditional formatting to a single value visualization, edit the tile.

Select the Formatting tab and click the Enable Conditional Formatting toggle.

Set your rules. In this example, if the number of open orders is more than 1000, the value will appear in orange.

And that’s it!

If you want to get creative, you can even use conditional alerts and conditional formatting in tandem. You can set up the value to go through a series of color changes, and send an alert when it hits the final color threshold.

It will be like a pressure gauge on a hot water heater with a warning alarm — except for your data!

Until next time,
Jill Hardy
Content Strategist, Customer Experience

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