Knowledge Drop

Can I change the visualization of my drill fields? What criteria does Looker use to set which a visualization will be used in a drill set?

  • 6 April 2021
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 5

Last tested: Sep 6, 2019


It's not possible to choose a visual drilling type via the UI, but there are implicit rules that say what the visualization will be. There is a feature request requesting ability to change them at will.


You can use the method in this Help Center article to hard code the viz type for drilling on a field:

The Rules

  1. if a dimension is the primary key OR (the first column is a dimension AND it’s name is id) OR (the first dimension’s name is _id)
    1. if there is only 1 record then “single_record” viz
    2. otherwise we’ll choose a “table”
  2. if the first dimension contains “albersUsa” data and there’s only 1 measure column then the type should be “looker_geo_choropleth”
  3. if any of the dimension contains location data then go for “looker_map”
  4. if any of the dimension contains map layer data and any measures/dimensions are numeric then go for “looker_map”
  5. if there’s no dimensions or measures then go for “looker_column” type
  6. if there is only 1 row and 1 column then “single_value”
  7. if there is 1 dimension and the first dimension is numeric and there is 1 or more measures then go for a “looker_line”
  8. if there is 1 dimension and 1 measure and that dimension is of type “zipcode” display “looker_geo_coordinates”
  9. If there is 1 or more measures and only 1 dimension which contains timeframe data
    1. if the first dimension is a time interval
      1. if the whole data set is smaller then 50 rows then type is “looker_area” and stacking is “normal”
      2. otherwise it’s “looker_column” and stacking is “normal”
    2. otherwise it’s a “looker_line” no stacking
  10. if there are 2 dimensions and no measures and the 2 dimensions are a numeric type and timeframe type then “looker_scatter”

OTHERWISE (none of the conditions above are met)

  • If there is more then 1 dimension OR the data is larger then 150 rows OR (there’s only 1 dimensions and no measures) then the viz is “table” type
  • otherwise the type is “looker_column”


This content is subject to limited support.                


1 reply

Using the {{ link }} version of creating a drill-down, and having 2 date dimensions + multiple measures, I expected to get a table or normal column output based on the above, but instead i’m getting a stacked column everytime. Any way around this?