This article is about Looker Studio. For Looker documentation, visit

How to use Looker Studio

About connectors, data sources, and credentials

Learn the fundamental concepts behind connecting and controlling access to your data.

In Looker Studio, connecting to your data involves the following components:

  • Connectors connect Looker Studio to your underlying data. Connecting to your data creates a data source in Looker Studio.
  • Data sources represent a particular instance of a connector: for example, a connection to a specific BigQuery table or query, a Google Analytics property, or a Google Sheet. Data sources let you configure the fields and options provided by the connector used to create that connection instance. In addition, the data source gives you a secure way to share information and insights with report viewers who may not be able to directly access the underlying data.
  • Credentials determine who can access the data provided by a data source.

About connectors

Connectors are specific to the kind of data that you want to visualize in Looker Studio. For example, Google has built connectors to various Google and non-Google products, including BigQuery, Google Sheets, Google Analytics, and MySQL databases. You can also use connectors built by 3rd party developers to visualize data from a wide variety of non-Google products, such as Bing, Facebook Ads, and Salesforce.

About data sources

Data sources can be either embedded or reusable. Reports can include both embedded and reusable data sources.

Data sources that you create while editing a report are embedded in the report. To edit an embedded data source, you do so within that report. Embedded data sources make collaborating on reports and data sources easier. Anyone who can edit the report can also edit the data source, as well as modify its connection. When you share or copy the report, any embedded data sources are shared or copied as well.

Data sources that you create from the home page are reusable. You can reuse these data sources in different reports. Reusable data sources let you create and share a consistent data model across your organization. Only people with whom you share the reusable data source can edit it. Only the owner of the data source's credentials can modify the connection.

Learn more about the features of embedded vs. reusable data sources.

About credentials

A data source's credentials determine who can access the data provided by that data source:

  • Owner's credentials uses the credentials of the data source owner to authorize access to the dataset. This option lets you share reports that use this data source without requiring report viewers to have their own access to the underlying dataset.
    Before sharing a report or data source that uses Owner's credentials, be sure that you trust the person or persons with whom you share them.
  • Viewer's credentials require anyone who attempts to view the data that is provided by this data source to have their own access to the dataset.
  • Service account credentials use a special type of Google account that is intended to represent a non-human user that can authenticate and be authorized to access your data.
Note: Cloud Identity and Google Workspace administrators can change the default credentials or disable the Owner's credentials option.

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