Public Sharing, Importing, and Embedding

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Only Admins and those with the create_public_looks permission may enable public access for a saved Look. Additionally, Public URLs must be enabled on your instance by an Admin, described below.

Giving Public Access to Specific Looks

Public access allows you to share your Look with a broader audience. When public access is enabled on a Look, Looker provides a list of shortened public URLs that are accessible by anyone that you share them with (but are otherwise unguessable). These include:

  • The result of the query formatted as TXT, CSV, JSON, or HTML
  • A link to the visualization or data table of the Look that can be embedded in an HTML page via <iframe> code
  • A formula for importing into Google Spreadsheets
  • A static PNG image that can be embedded or downloaded
  • An .iqy file for importing into Excel

To enable public access for a saved Look:

  1. If you are in Development Mode, click Exit Development Mode.
  2. Click the Browse tab and navigate to the space containing your Look.
  3. Click the gear to the right of your Look (alternatively, open the Look itself and click the gear in its upper right).
  4. Select Edit Settings.
  5. In the Look Settings window, turn on the Public Access option.
  6. Click Save. This will make the previously greyed out URLs accessible, providing several public URLs that you can copy and use.

Access Look Results via Public URL

To access data via a public URL, copy and use the URL from the URL section. The 32 character hash that appears in the URL should make it unguessable, so no one will be able to access this data unless you explicitly provide them with this URL. However, anyone who has the URL will be able to access the data without logging in.

You can access the data in text, JSON, CSV and HTML formats by changing the format extension. For example:


Data retrieved this way will apply any value_format settings that you've put in place. This shows up in the URL as an apply_formatting=true argument, like this:

If you do not want value_format settings to be applied, simply remove the apply_formatting=true from the URL.

Public Embedding with iFrames

You can embed a Looker chart or table into a website using an HTML iFrame.

If you would like to embed the chart that is saved with your Look, use the Embed Visualization iframe code.

If you would like to embed the table that is saved with your Look, use the Embed Data Table iframe code.

Importing to Google or Excel Spreadsheets

You can also pull the results of a Looker query directly into a Google spreadsheet or Excel, without having to download it first.

Google Spreadsheets

To import the data into a Google Spreadsheet, copy the Google Spreadsheet formula. Paste the formula into the cell of the Google spreadsheet where you would like the upper-left cell of your data to appear, then hit Enter.


To import the data into Excel, use the Download link next to the Excel File field to download the .iqy file that you will need. Read the instructions below for more information on how to use the .iqy file.

Both Google and Excel will only interact with servers that have valid SSL certificates. If your Looker instance is hosted by Looker this will not be a concern. However, if your Looker instance is self hosted, your administrators will need to have followed these instructions when they initially set up Looker.

Tips and Notes for Google Spreadsheets

There are some things to keep in mind when using Looker in combination with Google Spreadsheets:

1. You May Need to Force Data Updates

Google spreadsheets uses a peculiar caching mechanism which makes it hard to predict when data will refresh itself. You can force a data update by adding random parameters to the URL. For example, adding cache_bust=123 to the URL will force an immediate update. If there are no parameters already you'll need to add a question mark to the end of the URL first, like this:

=ImportXML("", "//tr")

If there are some parameters, such as apply_formatting, you'll need to add an ampersand to the end of the URL first, like this:

=ImportXML("", "//tr")

You may also want to consider a refresh script.

2. The URL Points to the Look

If you overwrite a saved Look, the new format will begin to populate your Google spreadsheet. The URL Looker provides is a reference to the saved Look, not a specific query. This adds a nice layer of flexibility, where you can change the data flowing into a Google spreadsheet. However, you will need to be careful about not accidentally changing a Look on which a spreadsheet relies.

3. Embed Each Looker Query on Its Own Sheet

We've found things generally work best if you only import a single Looker query to any given sheet in your Google spreadsheet. Google's array functions - like VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, and ARRAYFORMULA - can help you filter, extract and copy data between sheets. It's also fairly easy to place query results on separate sheets, then build one main sheet that graphs it all.

Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

Mac Office 2011

Initial Data Import

  1. Download the .iqy file to a known location on your computer
  2. From the Data drop down menu in Excel's menu bar, select Get External DataRun Saved Query
  3. From the Enable drop down menu in the prompt, select Query Files
  4. Navigate to the saved .iqy file
  5. Click Get Data
  6. Select location in spreadsheet to place data and click OK

Refresh Data

  1. Click on Excel's Data tab
  2. Click the Refresh Data button

Windows Office 2013

Initial Data Import

  1. Download the .iqy file to a known location on your computer
  2. Click on the Data tab in Excel
  3. Click on the Existing Connection button
  4. Click on Browse for More
  5. Navigate to the .iqy file
  6. Click Open
  7. Select location in spreadsheet to place data

Refresh Data

  1. Click on Excel's Data tab
  2. Click the Refresh Data button

Enabling Public URLs

For any of the above features to work, you will need to enable Public URLs in your Admin settings. Please consider the security implications of this feature before enabling it. Although the URLs that Looker generates can't be guessed or searched, anyone who you give the URL to will be able to see the data. That person could theoretically give it to another that you did not intend, so you should evaluate your level of trust with anyone that receives a public URL.

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