How to Add Filters to a Google Data Studio Report

In this article, we are going to learn how to use GDS’s dashboard by exploring different filters. This report is a continuation of our previous article, How to: Time Series Charts, Bar Charts and Pie Charts in Google Data Studio. It is recommended that you read the previous articles in our ‘how to’ series before moving onto this one.

We will be exploring 3 types of filters on Google Data Studio that enable you to focus on subsets of your data:

This article consists of 12 steps to demonstrate how to use filters to create an interactive report.

Filtering by Date

1) One way to keep your users engaged with your reports is to add filters. To start, add a date range filter into your report. This filter allows your users to control the timeframe of your report. To add this filter, click on the ‘date range’ filter icon in the quicklinks menu and add it to the header of your report. Select ‘Style’ to change the font size and colour of the text.

2) To select a date range, switch back to the ‘Data’ Tab. By default, the filter prompts you to select a date range.

3) In order for the ‘date range’ filter to take effect, it is important to note that any ‘custom’ date ranges that you have previously applied, need to be changed to ‘auto’. This is done by selecting ‘auto’ in the data tab.

4) In order to see the results of the interactive filter, exit the editing mode by clicking ‘view’ in the top right-hand corner of the page.

5) When users view your report, they will now have the ability to use the date range filter. This will allow them to view data from previous weeks, months or even years.

Filtering by Dimension


6) A dimension filter enables you to categorise your data by different criteria: e.g country, city or user profiles.  

In order to filter by dimension, click on the ‘filter’ icon in the quicklinks menu and add it to the header of your report. Next, select ‘style’ to change the font size and colour of the text. There are also some additional style options available with this filter.

7) It is important to note that the ‘data’ tab needs to be selected in order for you to change the dimension and metric settings.

8) To see the filter in action, click the ‘view’ mode. You have the option to use the search bar to search for a country you are looking for. If you would like to select only one option, hover over the option and select ‘only’.

Filtering by Geographical Location

9) For this example, you need to remove all data visualizations except the key summaries. Select the ‘Geo map’ option from the ‘add a chart’ drop-down menu and position it wherever you feel it is most suitable on your report.

10) This filter displays data according to geographical location. The map visualization is set to default which displays country (dimension) by sessions (metric). If you would like to change these settings, simply click on the ‘dimensions’ or ‘metric’ tabs and select one from the list. It is important to note that your geo map has to be selected before attempting to change the settings.

It is also possible to zoom into a country to display data from a specific region or city.

11) There are a few style options available with the map. The default setting displays the countries with the highest number of sessions in blue. In the ‘style’ tab, it is possible to select additional colours in order to display other values.

12) It is possible to display the sessions per country without having to hover over the map. To do this, you need to copy your map and change the data visualization type to a table.

Don’t miss the next article in our ‘how to’ series: Advanced Data Visualization!

What’s new in Google Data Studio (February 2019)?

Google Data Studio has powerful features which make it a compelling alternative to other established platforms.  In a recent article we compared these differences and made a case for GDS.   GDS has come out with a slew of new updates over the past months which has made it even better

In this post, we’ll talk about some of the most noteworthy updates to the platform, plus our thoughts on each one of them. Here’s an overview of the best and the latest on GDS that we’ll cover:

  • Tell your story your way with Data Studio Community Visualizations Developer Preview
  • Create attractive charts more easily
  • Filter your charts more intuitively
  • Share more informative reports

Tell your story your way with Data Studio Community Visualizations Developer Preview

GDS already offers a vast range of templates you can use to visualise your data. However, this usually isn’t enough if there’s a specific way you wish to display your data.

With the Data Studio Community Visualizations Developer Preview, you can build charts and style them so you can present your data that’s easy to understand and blends seamlessly with your dashboard’s design.

Developers now have a wide range of tools to build, use, and share community visualisations, including the Data Studio Community Component Library. Plus, there’s more you can do with Data Studio Community Visualisations, like:

  1. Using visualisation libraries as well as custom JavaScript and CSS for visualisations;
  2. Defining the required style elements of your visualisation; and
  3. Creating highly interactive visualisations.

This Developer Preview version means it’s still constantly being improved. But you can also develop and share your own visualisations already if you wish. Either way, everyone’s welcome to provide their feedback to the GDS team so they can further improve this feature.

Why it’s great

The wealth of GDS templates is a great way of helping you set up your dashboard quickly. But when it comes to telling rich stories with data, you might need to customise your dashboard a bit more. With Data Studio Community Visualisations Developer Preview, you can tell these stories your way with an extra layer of customisation. A few features may still be lacking here and there since it’s a Developer Preview, but like Google’s other products, you can be sure that it will only get better.

Learn more

Create attractive charts more easily

While you can now customise your charts, there are still, of course, the good old pre-built ones, so you can create dashboards easily. The great thing is that the GDS team made it even easier for you to create visually striking charts:

  • First, go to the Add a chart menu and choose your chart design;
  • Next, customise the data in the DATA properties panel; and finally,
  • Customise the look of the chart with the STYLE properties panel.

You can customise your chart further, of course, without being technical. While components ‘snap to grid’ by default, you can position them exactly the way you want using your mouse and keyboard. Another thing is that you can switch chart types using the chart icons, so you can quickly decide which type of chart is best suited for your dashboard. What’s more is that whatever customisations you made to the previously selected chart will remain intact, saving you a lot of time in the process.

That’s not all. Adding and replacing fields in a chart takes just a few mouse clicks. You can also add other components like interactive components, images, and annotations, to make your dashboards richer and easier to understand than ever before.

Most recently, the GDS team also let users customise the axis and data labels of bar, line, scatter, and area charts. As usual, you can access this in the STYLE if you’re using the appropriate chart type.

Why it’s great

People can be neatly divided based on how they prefer to create their dashboard. One camp wants it to be as simple as possible so that they can share their dashboard as quickly as possible. The other, meanwhile, wants a greater level of control so they can create dashboards that match their exact specifications. For those who want simplicity, GDS’ three-step chart creation can be a huge benefit. All in all, it’s about giving even non-techies a great way to create and share dashboards.

Learn more

Filter your charts more intuitively

Why stop at great looking charts when you can add a level of interactivity to them? In its latest update, GDS also added what is called interaction filters. They work like filter controls, so when you click on a portion of the pie chart, for example, you’ll be able to filter results based on your selection. Or if you’re using a time series, the interaction filter can work as a date range filter when you drag or ‘brush’ your mouse across it, which also works for line charts and area charts.

Here’s an example of interaction filters in action, as prepared by the GDS team:

<iframe width=”569″ height=”519″ src=”https://datastudio.google.com/embed/reporting/1aXb06M7b9SYjNG2qucvB7sasoaqLIRJL/page/0XHb” frameborder=”0″ style=”border:0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Why it’s great

These interaction filters make it even simpler and more intuitive for you to filter data you wish to be displayed on your dashboard. You no longer have to enter values by hand—all it takes is a mouse click or drag to create a filter. From the end user’s standpoint, it’s also easier now to find and display the data that you want because of this.

Learn more

Share more informative reports

While dashboards are by far the quickest and easiest way to display and share your data, you’re probably also working with stakeholders who might prefer to print out their reports. With GDS’ January update, you can now implement to your PDF reports viewer refinements such as filter controls and date ranges. Now, it’s even easier to print and share customised reports.

Why it’s great

The beauty of GDS is how you can adapt it to a wide range of users and stakeholders. So if you want to share a more informative version of a report based on the viewer’s customisations, it’s now possible with GDS.

Learn more

What are your thoughts on these updates?

Here at Data Studio Templates, we definitely think it’s great that Google continues to step up their game with the latest GDS updates. They might look minor on paper, but we believe each will have a tremendous impact in terms of usability and in enabling people to tell richer and more in-depth stories with data.

How about you, what do you think of the newest features launched by the GDS team? Please share with us your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

How to Connect Google Analytics to Google Data Studio

Google Analytics provides a wealth of information on website performance such as; who is visiting your site, where they came from, how long they stay on your site and how many pages they have viewed.  As well as much more info. By connecting Google Analytics with Google Data Studio, you are able to display this information in a dashboard and visualise it in an interactive way.

While it is possible to view dashboard style reports directly in Google Analytics, GDS has a number of advantages, such as being able to blend data sources together, report in a more visual manner and provide better access to this data for those not familiar with the Google Analytics interface.  

This article outlines 9 steps to help you create reports using Google Data Studio.

If you missed our previous article, ‘Understanding the Layout of a Report’, you might want to check it out before progressing as it provides a solid background to navigating through GDS.

Sign in to Google Data Studio using the following URL: https://datastudio.google.com/overview

1) In order to create a report, click the ‘+’ button at the top of the page or bottom right-hand corner.

2. You will then be prompted with a welcome message. Follow the steps to move on to ‘terms and conditions’ and then ‘preferences’.

3) Once you have completed these steps, Google Data Studio (GDS) will take you back to step 1. Here you will need to select the ‘+’ button again to begin creating your report.

4) The next step is to add your own data source. Do this by selecting ‘create a new data source’ >>  ‘Google Analytics’ >> ‘authorize and connect’.

5) You will then be asked to sign in to your Google account so that GDS can access your Google Analytics. Once signed in, you will be presented with the following page. Next, select your preferred analytics account and connect.

6) The next page you see will be the ‘Data Source Review Page’. Here you will learn more about the specific fields GDS recognizes within your data set.

You will be presented with a list of field names, field types, field aggregation rules and descriptions. On a more advanced level, if you are looking to create calculated fields or change metric formatting, these fields can be edited. Otherwise, these fields should be left as they are and you can proceed to the next step, ‘add to report’.

Data Stido Terminology:

Field names: The name of the dimensional metric in your data. Dimension is a categorical value such as device type. Metric is a numerical value such as the number of visits to your website.

Field type: This describes the data type of your field. For example; number, text, percentage or currency.

Default Aggregation & Default Description: Google automatically updates these fields so, no changes are necessary here.

7) When you are ready to publish, select ‘add to report’.

8) Creating Data visualization:

One of the first data visualizations you can add to your report is called ‘The Scorecard’. ‘The Scorecard’ is a good option if you want to display key summary numbers. Simply click on the add chart drop-down menu icon in the ‘quicklinks’ and select ‘Scorecard’.

Once you have added The Scorecard to your report, you have the option to change the metrics and time period under the ‘DATA’ tab on the right side of your screen.

You also have the option to compare your results over different time periods. To do this, click on the ‘compare against previous period option’ underneath the date range.

You can proceed by adding additional scorecards to your report and changing the metrics to view different results. You also have many options to edit these scorecards – these can be found under the ‘STYLE’ tab to the right of the screen. In order to make any changes you need to ensure that your scorecard is selected.

9) Adding time series charts:

Simply click on the add chart drop-down menu icon in the ‘quicklinks’ and select a time series chart.

The chart’s default setting highlights sessions per date. Variables can be changed in the DATA’ tab under ‘dimensions and metrics’.

In order to compare results, you can add a line from the previous month data by selecting the previous period in the comparison drop down.

You also have the option to edit data points, colour and titles all found in the STYLEtab to the right of the screen.

Click view’ in the top right-hand corner to see how users will see this report once you have shared it with them.

You will notice that the charts are interactive so you will be able to see the data points as you move your cursor over the graphs.

We hope this article was helpful and has assisted you in improving your knowledge in Google data studio. Don’t miss the next article in our how to series guide, navigating Google Data Studio’s navigation bars.