Google Sheets data source tutorial

Access your Google Sheets data in Data Studio reports.

A data source provides the data for a Data Studio report. In this lesson, you'll create a data source that connects to one of your own Google Sheets.

In this article:

Prepare your data

Follow these tips to make working with your Sheets data easier in Data Studio:

Table format

  • The worksheet or range you connect to should have a simple tabular format. Each column should contain only single cells: merged cells may cause your data to appear incorrectly.
  • Cells should only contain data: you can't import graphs or images, for example.
  • The first row of the data should contain column headers. These will become the field names in your data source.

Date format

  • Dates in your Google Sheet should contain the full day, month, and year, e.g., YYYYMMDD.
  • If you have time data, it should be combined with the date field; e.g., YYYYMMDD[HH:MM:SS].

  • Date fields should be formatted as dates (using the Format > Number > Date menu option in Sheets).

Other ways of handling dates are possible, but may require more work on your part. Learn more about dates in data sources.

Data structure

Organizing your data in certain ways can make it easier to work with in Data Studio. For example:

Long is better than wide. Limit the number of dimensions by grouping data into categories, rather than having columns for each possible value. For example, if you are tracking sales of fruit from a grocery store, doing this:

Date Fruit Quantity Sold
2017-07-06 Apples 100
2017-07-06 Oranges 75
2017-07-06 Bananas 150
2017-07-07 Apples 80
2017-07-07 Oranges 95
2017-07-07 Bananas 175

Long table example

 

...is better than this:

Date Apples Oranges Bananas
2017-07-06 100 75 150
2017-07-07 80 95 175

Wide table example

In the long table example, your data source only requires one dimension for the Fruit category, whereas the wide table example requires one dimension for each type of fruit. If you sold 100 varieties of fruit, you'd need 100 dimensions to track them all using the second example. This would be impossible to display in a Data Studio chart.

Grouping your data series into dimensions also makes filtering in Data Studio easier. For example, in the long table example, it's easy to build a filter on Fruit = "Apples." In the wide table example, you can't filter by type of fruit.

Understand your aggregations. If your Sheet includes aggregated data, such as sums, averages, medians, etc., be careful not to mix that data with unaggregated data in Data Studio charts. If you do, the numbers in those charts might not be correct. For example, let's say the wide table above included a Totals row:

Date Apples Oranges Bananas
2017-07-06 100 75 150
2017-07-07 80 95 175
Totals 180 170 325

Wide table with totals

Scorecards in Data Studio would display inflated numbers for each of the fruit dimensions (because it adds the totals to the un-aggregated metrics):

Apples

360

Oranges

340

Bananas

650

Scorecard examples

In this case, it's best to not include the totals row in the data source and instead, let Data Studio calculate the totals.

Connect to Google Sheets

The first step in creating a data source is to connect to your data set.

  1. Sign in to Data Studio.
  2. Navigate to the DATA SOURCES tab.
  3. Click Create new report or data source..
  4. In the connectors panel, select Google Sheets.
  5. Select a Spreadsheet and Worksheet.
  6. Optionally, uncheck Use first row as headers. The fields in your data source will instead use the default Sheets column labels: "A," "B," "C," etc.
  7. Optionally, uncheck Include hidden and filtered cells. These will now be excluded from the data source
  8. Optionally, specify a range of cells. Otherwise, the entire worksheet is used.
  9. Click CONNECT in the upper right. The fields panel appears.

Configure the data source

The fields panel contains all the dimensions (the green chips) and metrics (the blue chips) from the data set. You can fine-tune the data source by renaming or disabling fields, adding calculated fields, and changing the aggregation and data type.

The data source fields panel.

Add a metric

You can add a metric to the data source by clicking More menu next to a dimension and selecting one of the available functions. You'll need at least one metric to chart your data in Data Studio.

Example of creating a count metric

Learn more about working with data source fields.

Rename your data source

Rename a data source

Data Studio automatically names your data source the same as your data set name. If you want to change that, click the name in the upper left and enter a new name.

You can also rename the data source later from the DATA SOURCES home page by clicking the context menu and selecting Rename.

Share the data source

You can let other editors add this data source to reports by sharing it with them.

To share a data source

  1. In the upper right, click Share icon
  2. Enter the email addresses or Google Groups you want to share with
  3. For each person or group, select the access (permissions). Permissions determine what other people can do with the data source. Your choices are:
    • Can view. People with this permission can view but not edit the data source.
    • Can edit. People with this permission can both view and edit the data source.

Use this data source in reports

Create report button

You can now create reports that get their data from your Google Sheet:

  1. Click CREATE REPORTin the upper right
  2. Click ADD TO REPORT in the You are about to add a data source to this report dialog.
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