PSA: When data columns and vis columns are in different order, downloaded data will have incorrect headers!

  • 13 July 2022
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 2

Hi All,

I want to create this post to make you aware of this bug. I have contacted Looker Support, but was simply told that downloading vis tables when the order is different from the data table is currently not supported and this is “normal” behaviour from the system. I am alarmed by that because users can still download tables with visualisation options applied, even though it is not supported by Looker. My Looker version is 22.10.32.

Here is the problem:

Let’s assume we have a table with three columns (Product Code, Job Code, Production Type)

The order of these columns matches in the vis and in the data view. Let’s download this data.


The data looks good in excel!


Now, sometimes you will want to have a different order in the data view compared to the visualisation. For example if you want to have a measure in-front of a dimension in the visualisation table.


In this case, all the columns in the vis table are in a different position from the data table.

When we download the data not with the same settings as before, we can see that the column headers match the data view order, but the values match the vis view order!


In this example, the values are all very different formats and the customer would notice quickly, but imagine a case where the formatting is similar (integers for examples) and the customer does not notice that the data is incorrect! It could have serious consequences if values are attributed to the wrong header and decisions are taken based on this wrong information. 


Please double check your reports and schedules and make sure that your data column order matches your vis column order until Looker fixes this issue!


All the best,


1 reply

Thank you for bringing up this issue. We ran into the same issue today, and it was good to hear that other Looker users have also experienced this.
Looker must add to their documentation that “When data columns and vis columns are in different order, downloaded data will have jumbled headers and un-matching data!”