CXL Institute Mini Degree: Google Data Studio Course Review

Google Data Studio Course by CXL Institute

This article is covering my 11th week of studying the Digital Analytics Minidegree from CXL Institute. In the previous post I have covered presenting data using Excel and Sheets and this week will be covering the presenting data using Google Data Studio.

Instructor Michele Kiss is a Senior Partner at Analytics Demystified. She has covered complete details on Google Data Studio with live data and charts creation for a great reports. Clearly explained how we can build a better report by connecting different data sources and custom formulas.

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is an online tool for converting data into customizable informative reports and dashboards introduced by Google on March 15, 2016 as part of the enterprise Google Analytics 360 suite. In May 2016 Google announced a free version of Data Studio for individuals and small teams. It’s just a free and there is no paid version, anyone can use it.

The Lessons Covers in Google Data Studio Course

  • Introduction
  • Building charts
  • Using color
  • Dates
  • Filters, controls and segments
  • Calculated fields
  • Blends
  • Changing data sources
  • Sharing and access
  • Other useful features
  • Sampling
  • Other Cool uses of data studio

Create Report

Creating reports in Data Studio is easy! In this tutorial, you’ll build a useful and attractive report in just a few steps.

Create a report:

  • Sign in to Data Studio.
  • In the top left, click + Create, then select Report.
  • You’ll see the report editor tool, with the Add data to report panel open.
  • A table appears with fields from that data source
  • In the top left, name your report by clicking Untitled Report.

Building Charts

Chart is a graphical representation of data. Data Studio provides a number of chart types, such as time series, bar chart, pie chart, etc. charts derive their data from a data source. Charts display one or more axes of information (dimensions) and the actual values contained by those dimensions or metrics.

Adding chart to the current page:

  • Edit your report.
  • Navigate to the page that will contain the chart.
  • In the tool bar, click Add a chart.
  • Select the chart you want to add.
  • Click the canvas to add the chart to the report.

Additional visualisations are available via community visualisations.

Dimension & Metrics

Dimension is a set of values by which you can group your data. Dimensions are categories of information. The values contained in those categories are typically names, descriptions or other characteristics of that data.

Metric is a specific aggregation applied to a set of values. Metrics are aggregations that come from the underlying data set, or are the result of implicitly or explicitly applying an aggregation function, such as COUNT(), SUM(), or AVG(). The metric itself has no defined set of values, so you can’t group by it, as you can with a dimension.

Color Your Data

Data Studio provides 3 options for coloring your data. To apply an option:

  • Select a chart and then on the right, open the STYLE tab.
  • Data coloring options appear in the Color by section.

Color by dimension values

Coloring by dimension values applies consistent colors to the data series in your charts by mapping specific colors to specific dimension values. The default dimension value colors are based on the current report theme, however can choose different colors by editing the dimension value color map.

Color by series order

The series order option colors the data according to its order in the chart. This option emphasizes the ranking of the data over the identity of the data. For example, let’s say you want the highest valued dimension to always appear in green. Using the color by series order option, you can assign that color to the first color swatch in the current theme.

Single color

Bar charts and pie charts have a single color option that displays the data in shades of the selected color, as shown in the example below.

Color metrics

Metrics get their default colors from the current report theme. You can customize metric colors in selected charts by editing the STYLE properties for those charts.

Date & Time

Use Date and Time

You can use Data Studio to visualize and compare dates and times in charts and graphs, and let viewers adjust the report’s date range. You can also use date functions in calculated fields to manipulate and transform date and time data.

Use dates and times in charts

You can group (aggregate) the data in your charts by different levels of date granularity according to the date field’s data type. For example, adding a Date field to your chart groups the data by year, month, and day. To group the data by month, change type to Month, or use a Month field from your data source.

Filters, Controls and Segments


Use filter properties to fine tune your data stories. Filter properties (or just filters, for short) refine or reduce the data shown to report viewers. This lets you focus on the data that best communicates the story you want to tell, making your reports more relevant to your audience.

You can apply a filter to a chart, control, page, or the entire report using the DATA properties tab. Filter properties are sometimes referred to as editor filters, because report viewers can’t change them. They can only be set by report editors.

Types of filters:

  • Report-level filter
  • Filter Control
  • Widget/(chart)-level filters
  • Segments (GA)


Controls let viewers interact with the data displayed in a Data Studio report in the following ways:

  • Viewers can filter the data by specific dimension values.
  • Viewers set the time frame of the report.
  • Viewers can set parameter values that can then be used in calculated fields or passed back to the connector.
  • Viewers can change the underlying data set used by a data source.

When a control is based on a dimension (you add a dimension from the available fields list as the Control field), the control acts as a filter on the data.


You can see a list of all the segments added to your report using the Resources > Segments menu. You can also display this list by selecting a component with an added segment, then clicking “View” icon next to the segment name.

Using the segment list, you can:

  • See information about each segment in the report
  • Edit the segment definition in Google Analytics
  • Fix segments that have undergone a change of ownership
  • Turn segment synchronization off and on
  • Remove segments from the report

Calculated fields

Calculated fields are transforming, categorize, and do math with your data. Calculated fields let you create new metrics and dimensions derived from your data. Calculated fields let you extend and transform the information flowing from your data sources and see the results in reports.

A calculated field is a formula that performs some action on one or more other fields in your data source. Calculated fields can perform arithmetic and math, manipulate text, date, and geographic information, and use branching logic to evaluate your data and return different results. The output of a calculated field can then be displayed for every row of data in charts that include that field. How this new data is displayed depends on how it’s used.


By default, charts in Data Studio get their information from a single data source. Blending lets you create charts based on multiple data sources, called a blended data source. For example, you can blend two different Google Analytics data sources to measure the performance of your app and website in a single visualization.

Blending can reveal valuable relationships between your data sets. Creating blended charts directly in Data Studio removes the need to manipulate your data in other applications first, saving you time and effort.

Changing Data Sources

When you create a new report in Data Studio, you either add an existing data source, or create and add a new one. You can add more data to the report at any time.

New data sources you create while editing a report are embedded in the report. When you share or copy the report, other report editors can also edit the data source. You can still create separate, reusable data sources.

You can edit the data source connection. Update or change the connection to your data. You can change a data source’s connection to the underlying data. This lets you connect to different data using an existing data source.

Sharing and Access

Share your reports with other people by sending them an email invitation to visit Data Studio. You can invite specific people or Google Groups. You can also share more broadly by letting anyone with the link access your Data Studio reports.

Access permissions; determine what people can do with a Data Studio asset. There are 3 levels of access:

  1. Owner
  2. Can view
  3. Can edit


Google Analytics applies sampling techniques to large data sets to improve the performance of its reports. You can see if Google Analytics-based charts in a Data Studio report are using sampled data.

How Google Analytics sampling works in Data Studio

  • A Show Sampling link appears in the report footer on any page that contains charts based on Google Analytics. This link is available to all viewers of the report. (There’s no way to hide the link.)
  • Click the Show Sampling link to place a highlight box around any charts that show sampled Google Analytics data. The sampling rate is displayed above each chart. To remove the highlight, click Hide Sampling.

Sampling display is not available in embedded reports. This feature only applies to charts based on Google Analytics. Displaying sampling rates for other data sets is not supported.

Thank you!




I am Isak, founder and author of blog. A best place to have article through guest posts. I love reading (learning), sharing my skills and knowledge with all over the world using modern digital platforms.

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