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Connect to Looker (Preview)

Connect Looker Studio to a Looker Explore.

Looker is an enterprise platform for business intelligence, data applications, and embedded analytics that helps you explore and share insights in real time. The Looker Studio Looker connector allows you to access data from your Looker Explores within Looker Studio by adding an Explore as a data source in a Looker Studio report.

Before users can view Looker data in a Looker Studio report, a Looker user with the appropriate permissions must perform these tasks to connect Looker to Looker Studio:

  • A Looker user with an admin role — also called a Looker admin — must request access. To request access, complete the following steps:
    • Fill out the form, which is accessed through the Enroll now button shown later on this page.
    • Receive enrollment confirmation.
    • Enable the integration in the Looker instance using the Labs toggle labeled Data Studio.
  • A Looker user with at least explore permissions must connect the Looker instance as a data source in a Looker Studio report using the Looker connector.

Once the connector is enabled, Looker Studio users with access_data and clear_cache_refresh Looker permissions can view Looker data in a Looker Studio report.

The Looker Studio Looker connector is available for Looker instances on Looker 22.16 or later that are hosted by Looker in the Google Cloud. The connector is not available for customer-hosted Looker instances or Looker instances that are not hosted in the Google Cloud.

 

Connect Looker to Looker Studio

You must be a Looker user with an admin role to complete these steps.

To enable the connection between Looker and Looker Studio, a Looker admin must enable the Data Studio Labs feature on the Labs page in the Admin section of their Looker instance.

The Data Studio Labs feature is hidden by default. For the Labs feature to become visible, you must enroll in the Looker Studio/Looker Integration Public Preview. Once your enrollment is complete, the Data Studio Labs feature will be visible on the Looker instance Labs page. This is not the same as the Link to Data Studio from Explore Labs feature, which adds a menu option when you're viewing an Explore in Looker.

Enroll now

Enable or disable the Labs feature

After you've enrolled in the Labs feature and received confirmation of your enrollment, you can enable the Labs feature by completing these steps:

1. Navigate to the Labs page in the Admin section of your Looker instance.

2. Enable the toggle next to the Data Studio Labs listing.

When the Data Studio Labs feature is enabled, users can link their Google account with their Looker account to access a specified Looker instance through Looker Studio. Account linking requires user authentication and enables Google to see, edit, refresh, sync, and move data using the Looker API on behalf of the user.

To disable the ability to add a Looker Explore as a data source in Looker Studio, a Looker admin must disable the Data Studio Labs feature on the Labs page in the Admin section of their Looker instance.

To disable the Labs feature:

1. Navigate to the Labs page in the Admin section of your Looker instance.

2. Disable the toggle next to the Data Studio Labs listing.

Additionally, Looker admins can enable or disable the Link to Data Studio from Explore Labs feature, which exposes a menu option in a Looker Explore that links directly to a Looker Studio report. The Data Studio Labs feature must also be enabled for the Link to Data Studio from Explore Labs feature to operate.

Use the Looker connector

You must be a Looker user with at least explore permissions to complete these steps.

You can connect a Looker Explore to a new embedded data source in a report or to an existing (reusable) data source. To use the Looker Studio Looker connector to create a data source that connects to an Explore in a Looker instance, you must perform the following steps:

  • Connect to a Looker instance and link your Looker and Google accounts.
  • Select a model and an Explore.

Connect to a Looker instance

  1. In a report, click Add data in the report toolbar.
  2. In the Add data to report page, click the Connect to data tab.
  3. Under Google Connectors, click the Looker connector.
  4. Enter the URL for the Looker instance from which you would like to source your data. This is the URL that you use to access Looker on your browser. 
    1. If the instance URL is invalid, Looker Studio displays the message "Invalid Looker URL or the Looker URL does not support account linking. Please use different Looker URL."
    2. If you have previously connected a Looker instance as a data source, that Looker instance name appears under Saved Looker Instances. You can click the name of a Looker instance and proceed to the step of selecting a model.
  5. Click Connect Looker Account.
  6. In the authorization pop-up, click Agree and continue to link your Google account credentials to your Looker account credentials. You can link one Google account to one Looker account for each Looker instance that you connect to Looker Studio.
  7. Click AUTHENTICATE in the Looker instance pop-up.

Note that in linking your accounts, the instance URL is stored by Google and this is outside of the Looker environment. You can unlink your Google and Looker accounts from the Account Linking page in your Google Account profile. Unlinking your accounts will prevent the data source from connecting to Looker data.

Now you are ready to select a model–Explore pair to connect to as a data source.

Select a model and an Explore

Once you have connected to a Looker instance, the list of models that are associated with that instance automatically populates a new panel called Models. You can now select a model–Explore pair to connect to as a data source.

To select a model:

  1. Scroll the list or click the magnifying glass icon magnifying glass search icon to open a search field where you can enter the name of a specific model.
    1. Hover over a model name to see the model filename as it appears in the Looker project.
  2. Click on the model name to select the model. A new panel will populate with the list of Explores that are associated with that model.
  3. To select an Explore, scroll the list or click the magnifying glass icon magnifying glass search icon to open a search field where you can enter the name of a specific Explore.
    1. Hover over an Explore name to see the explore parameter value as it is declared in the model file.
  4. Click on the Explore name to select the Explore. 
  5. Click Add. A pop-up appears with information about the data source's selected Explore and model. 
  6. To confirm your model and Explore selection for this data source, click ADD TO REPORT. To return to the Add data to report panel, click CANCEL. Optionally, check the Don't show me this again box to prevent seeing this pop-up when you edit this data source.

It may take a few minutes to add the new data source to your report.  Looker data sources have the format Looker Explore name - Looker model name.

View and edit the data source configuration

You must be a Looker user with at least explore permissions to complete these steps.

The data source configuration contains information about who can view or edit the data source, how often the data refreshes, whether community visualizations can be accessed, and whether fields can be edited for this data source. You can also view and edit the fields that appear in the Data panel. 

To access the data source configuration window:

1. Edit Edit your report.

2. Open the list of data sources from either the Resource menu or the Data panel:

  • From the Resource menu, select Manage added data sources. Click on the open icon open icon next to the data source name to open a new window that displays the Looker data source configuration.
  •  From the Data panel, hover over the Looker logo Looker logo for the desired Looker data source. Click the edit icon Edit to open an adjustable overlay that displays the Looker data source configuration. To expand this to a full-size window, click the leftward-facing arrow left arrow next to the name of the data source at the top of the overlay.

3. Select Close in the upper right of the window to return to your report.

Learn more about editing a data source.

The data freshness for the data source is displayed in the data source configuration window. For the Looker connector, the default data freshness value is 12 hours.

Add more Looker Explores

Once your report's data source is connected to Looker, you can add more Looker Explores — even those not belonging to the same Looker model as other data sources in the report — to your report as additional data sources.

To add a new Looker Explore to your report, follow the instructions for adding a Looker Explore in the Use the Looker Studio Looker connector section of this page.

  • To connect to a different Looker instance, enter a different Looker instance URL in the Connect to a Looker Instance panel of the Connect to data tab of the Add data to report page. If this instance is associated with a different Looker account, you will need to authorize the linking between your Looker and Google accounts.
  • To connect to a new model–Explore pair from a Looker instance that you have already used to connect as a data source, first select the instance name under Saved Instances, and then select a new model and Explore.
  • To connect to an existing model–Explore data source, navigate to the My data sources tab of the Add data to report page. Looker data sources have the format Looker Explore name - Looker model name. Select a new data source and click Add.

After you have added your data source, refresh your report. Your new data source appears in the Data panel. Click on the data source name to expand it, and drag fields into your report as needed.

Add fields to the report chart

When you refresh your data in Looker Studio, data is also refreshed in Looker as if you had clicked Clear Cache and Refresh from the Looker Explore.

The fields from your Looker data source are displayed in a different format from how they appear in Looker. The Explore field picker defaults to a more user-friendly format of the Explore and its views, dimensions, dimension groups, measures (known as metrics in Looker Studio), and joins. In Looker Studio, the fields appear in your report in the format Looker-view-name field-name, with all the Explore's dimensions listed followed by all the Explore's metrics.

If the Explore's underlying LookML specifies labels for the views in an Explore (for an Explore, field, or join) or for a dimension group, then those labels will appear in the Looker Studio report.

For example, in Looker, an Explore called Flights has the views Carriers, Destination, Flights, and Origin. The Carriers view has the dimensions Carrier Name, Code, and Name, and no view labels have been specified:

Fields in a Looker Explore

In the corresponding Looker Studio Looker data source called Flights - FAA, these dimensions appear as Carriers Carrier Name, Carriers Code, and Carriers Name:

data panel showing Looker fields

 

Learn more about how to edit fields in your reports

Control access to Looker data in Looker Studio

The default data credentials for Looker data sources are Viewer's credentials.

Viewers of data from Looker data sources must provide their own credentials to access the Looker dataset. Providing these credentials links their Google account with the Looker account that is associated with the connected Looker instance. In addition, their Looker user account must have at least access_data and clear_cache_refresh permissions for the models on which the connected Looker Explore is based. Looker admins manage user permissions.

Data sources include field names, descriptions, and other field metadata. When you share a data source or a report, this information is shared with the recipient.

Revoke credentials

Revoking your credentials will prevent the data source from connecting to Looker data until the credentials are updated.

Learn more about how to set and revoke your data credentials.

View Looker data on a report

If you do not have a Looker account, the admin for the connected Looker instance must create one for you. You must have at least access_data and clear_cache_refresh permissions for the model on which the Explore is based to view data from Looker data sources.

Before you can view data from a Looker data source that was created by another user, you must link your Google account to your account for the Looker instance to which the report is connected.

An Authorization Required message on charts indicates when you must authorize the Looker connector. To authorize the connector:

  1. Click the Authorize now link in the desired chart.
  2. In the Looker Studio authorization request pop-up, click AUTHORIZE.
  3. In the Google authorization pop-up, click Allow and continue to link your Google account credentials to the Looker credentials for the Looker instance that is displayed in the authorization pop-up.

You can unlink your Google and Looker accounts from the Account Linking page in your Google Account profile. 

Limits of the Looker Studio Looker connector

Scheduling email deliveries and downloading reports are disabled for reports with a Looker data source connection. Although the option to perform each action is available, the delivered and downloaded reports will not contain data.

Calculated fields are disabled for Looker data sources.

Drill fields and LookML field parameters from the Looker Explore will not appear the Looker data source in Looker Studio.

Filters may be applied in Looker but not represented in Looker Studio. These filter parameters include always_filter, conditionally_filter, and sql_always_where.

Exceptionally large models (generally >100 Explores) may cause long delays or timeouts during the data source creation process.

Troubleshooting

Issue Resolution
The Data Studio Labs feature is still not visible on the Looker instance's Labs page after you received the confirmation email from the Preview team Click Update next to the License Key field on the Settings page in the Admin section of the Looker instance.
Cannot connect a Looker instance
  • Check that the Looker instance URL is correct and that there are no trailing spaces.
  • The Looker Studio Looker connector is valid only for Looker instances that are hosted in Google Cloud.
  • Looker Instances using the IP Allowlist feature may require special setup. Please contact Looker Support.
No Explores found Select a different Looker model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report Issues

If you encounter issues while using the Looker connector, please report them by using this bug report form. Users may also review and add to previously reported issues on the bug tracker. The Preview team will review all submissions.

 

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