Connect to your data

Understand how connectors and data sources work together.

To visualize your information in a Data Studio report, you must first connect to the underlying data. This can be data contained in an advertising or social media platform, such as a Google Ads or Facebook, a MySQL database, a Google Sheets spreadsheet, a CSV file, etc.

Connecting to your data involves two components that work together:

  • Connectors connect Data Studio to your underlying data. Connecting to your data creates a data source in Data Studio.
  • Data sources represent a particular instance of a connector: for example, a connection to a specific Google Analytics view, MySQL table, or Google Sheet. Data sources let you configure the fields and options provided by the connector used to create that connection instance. In addition, the data source gives you a secure way to share information and insights with report viewers who may not be able to directly access the underlying data.

How connectors work

Each of the available connectors is tailored to a particular product or platform, and provides a specific set of fields and configuration options to Data Studio. Some connectors provide all the fields from the underlying data (for example, Google Sheets and BigQuery connectors). Other connectors provide a subset of the fields from the original data (for example, Analytics and Google Ads).

You must authorize the connector to access your data. Some connectors may allow or require you to provide additional options or parameters. Once you've connected to your data, the fields, authorization, and other details of that connection are stored in a data source. 

How to use connectors

No matter which connector you use, connecting to and visualizing your data involves the same six steps:

(Detailed instructions are here.)

  1. In Data Studio, select a connector for the type of data you want to visualize.
  2. Authorize Data Studio to connect to your data.
  3. Provide  your account details and configure any additional options or parameters.
  4. Confirm your choices to create a data source based on this connection.
  5. Add the data source to a report.
  6. Add components based on that data source to your report.

Types of connectors

There are three types of connectors:

  • Google connectors are built by Google and let you access data from Analytics, Google Ads, Sheets, BigQuery, and other Google products. Learn more about Google connectors.
  • Partner connectors are built and supported by Data Studio developer partners. Partner connectors let you access data stored in other Google and non-Google platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit, or GitHub. For more information, refer to the documentation provided by each partner connector. To see the list of available partner connectors, visit the connector gallery and scroll down to the partner connector section.
  • Community connectors are connectors anyone can build. These let you access any internet connected data, such as your own private corporate databases. Learn more about the Community Connectors developer program.

The connector gallery

The connector gallery.

How data sources work

A data source is a Data Studio asset that lets you manage and configure a specific connection to your data.

Data sources:

  • Control who can view the data provided by the connector. Learn more about controlling access to the data.
  • Let you customize the fields available for use in reports.
  • Let you share a common view of your data with other report editors.
  • Provide other data management configuration options.

Types of data sources

There are three kinds of data source:

  • Live connection data sources update the data in your reports automatically. The data remains in the underlying data set; it is not stored by Data Studio. Most connectors create data sources of this type.
  • Extracted data sources provide a static snapshot of your data, which gives better performance when querying the data. You can update the snapshot whenever you want. The extracted data is stored securely in Data Studio.
  • Blended data sources combine the fields from multiple data sources. Blended data sources only exist in the reports in which you create them. They can't be shared independently from the report.

Reports and data sources

Adding a data source to report lets you use all of the fields in that data source as the basis for your visualizations. Reports can include multiple data sources, allowing you to visualize data from different platforms in the same report.

The diagram below illustrates a report that gets its data from three different platforms, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and a third-party platform (such as Salesforce or Facebook) provided by a partner connector:

Report Report icon
Data Sources Data source icon Data source icon Data source icon
Connectors Connector icon Connector icon Connector icon
Product or platform

Data sources and shared reports

You can share a report without sharing its data sources.​ When you share a report and give someone else edit access, they can use all of the added data sources to create new components and change the fields in existing components. 

Sharing a report doesn't allow other editors to view or modify the added data sources. To allow this, you must also share the data source.

Share data sources

Just like reports, you can share a data source with Can View or Can Edit permission. 

Caution: If you share a data source with edit permission, the person you share with may be able to modify the data source in ways that break your reports.

Sharing a data source lets the person you shared it with add it to reports. The other person doesn't need to have direct access to the underlying data itself to do this.

Share with viewers and editors.

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