Google Data Studio: Getting Started

Updated on March 30, 2020
hengkiong profile image

Heng Kiong teaches Information Technology, including business analytics and management information systems, at a tertiary institute.

Google Data Studio Automates Your Reporting

How Google Data Studio works is that it connects to your data sources and automatically extracts your data in realtime, without you having to manually refresh your data. That means you will always get the most up-to-date data possible.

The Data Connectors provided by Google Data Studio will directly access your data and refresh it.

About Data Connectors

Data sources act as pipes to connect a Data Studio report to a collection of underlying data. Each source has a unique, pre-built Data Connector to ensure your data is easy to access and use.

Google Data Studio Is a Communication Tool

Google Data Studio Pulls Data From Different Sources
Google Data Studio Pulls Data From Different Sources

Important Tip

Access to external data is based on the account with which you sign into Data Studio. This means that Data Studio gives you access to those data under that same account. There is a fix to connect Data Studio to different accounts. This will be discussed in the later part of this tutorial.

Google Account

A data source can only directly connect to a single Google account
A data source can only directly connect to a single Google account

Data Studio Lets You Visualise Data From Many Sources

The power of Google Data Studio stems from the different varied sources from which it can pull data. With Data Connectors, you can pull from almost any data available. These include Google Analytics, AdWords, Search Console, BigQuery, and more.

Using Google Sheets as a Data Source

Many businesses already use Google Sheets for reporting purposes. You can connect Google Sheets to Data Studio. Data Studio knows how to interpret the data from the Data Connector you create.

Google Sheets Gives You The Data Without Managing Complex Databases

This tutorial assumes you are familiar with Google Sheets. You will learn to use Data Studio to create a Visualisation Report that connects to one of your own Google Sheets.

What Else Can You Achieve Using Google Data Studio?

  • Calculated Metrics: You can also do calculated metrics and dimensions. For example, the original datasets have two columns, Population and Country Size. You can easily create a formula in Google Data Studio to calculate population density by dividing the Population by Country Size.
  • Blended Data Source: In Google Data Studio, you can join the records in one Data Source to the records of up to 4 other Data Sources. To join the data, simply identify a commonly shared dimension amongst the different Data Sources. This is known as a Join Key.
  • Interaction Filters: Google Data Studio is also highly interactive. Add Chart Interaction filters to apply controls to specific charts. Or when interactions are enabled on a chart, you can turn that cart into filter controls by clicking one or more dimension values in the chart.
  • Templates Gallery: Still unsure how to start? View what others have built in the Gallery section. Simply make a copy of the template and connect your own data.
  • Multipage Reports: Google Data Studio is fully customisable. Create 1 page or a multi-page report. Add or remove pages just like PowerPoint.
  • Report-Level and Page-Level: For reports with multiple pages, any element in the report can be set to be Report-level or Page-level. Report-level elements are usually for headers and footers which you want to be duplicated on every page of the Report. You can also make use of Report-level feature to duplicate important information that you want to be shown on each page.

Create an Account and Login

I shall assume that you have a Google account ready.

To begin, visit datastudio.google.com and sign in with your Google account. This is how Google Data Studio looks like when you first login.

Use It For Free

Google Data Studio - First Use
Google Data Studio - First Use | Source

Google Data Studio Portal

Google Data Studio Portal
Google Data Studio Portal

Are You Ready For More

The possible uses of Google Data Studio seems endless. I can't wait to share with you how to start creating your first Visualisation Chart in the next article.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Heng Kiong Yap

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      • bhattuc profile image

        Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

        2 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

        This is a great article. Might be useful for data engineers or data scientists.

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