Date data types

Understand the types of date and time data you can use in Data Studio.

Fields in your reports and data sources have a Type attribute that tells Data Studio what kind of data to expect in that field. Data Studio supports a variety of date Types, letting you visualize and aggregate your data in different time-based ways.

A date field's type is not the same as its display format. The visual appearance of the actual data can vary to fit your local convention (via your Google account's language setting). And you can change how data aggregates in individual charts according to the date by changing the date field's Show as property.

Available date types

Type Example
Absolute Date types

Year (YYYY)

2016

Year Quarter (QYYYY)

Q3 2016

Year Month (YYYYMM)

Aug 2016

ISO Year Week (YYYYww)

Aug 23, 2016*

Date (YYYYMMDD)

Aug 23, 2016

Date Hour (YYYYMMDDhh)

Aug 23, 2016, 6 PM

Date Hour Minute (YYYYMMDDhhmm)† Aug 23, 2016, 6:10 PM
Relative Date types

Quarter (Q)

Q3

Month (MM)

August

ISO Week (Www)

Week 35

Month Day (MMDD)

Aug 23

Day of Week (D)

Tuesday

Day of Month (DD)

23

Hour (HH)

6PM

Minute (mm)

52

* ISO Year Week shows the range and week number on your charts as a mouse-over data point tip, rather than as an axis label.

‌† Displaying minute-level data can greatly increase the number of rows (cardinality) in your charts, which can slow down the performance of your reports. We recommend limiting the date range to a single day, or using filters to reduce the amount of data displayed.

Absolute vs. relative dates

There are 2 kinds of Date types: absolute dates, and relative dates/times. Absolute dates refer to a specific point in time. For example 2018-08-08 11:51 AM is an absolute point in time. It refers to an actual date you can point to on a calendar and time you can point to on a clock.

Relative dates and times, on the other hand, refer to a point relative to an absolute date. For example, "11:51 AM" is a relative time, because it doesn't contain the information needed to place it on the calendar. While you can point to it on a clock, you don't know on which day, month, or year that time occurred.

You can see these types represented in the field type drop-down menu: types above the horizontal divider are absolute, while those below it are relative types.

Screenshot of absolute and relative dates

  1. 1Date & Time
  2. 2Absolute dates
  3. 3Relative dates

Change date type

Use the Type drop-down menu to specify the kind of date information that field holds. You can do this in both data sources:

Example of clicking the date drop-down menu

and reports:

Example of editing dates in reports

When you change the type in a report, you are just changing it for the instance of that field in the selected chart. When you change the field in the data source, you are changing it globally in every chart that uses that field.
Changing a field's type from a relative one to an absolute one is not recommended, as the new type won't have sufficient information to function properly as a complete date.

In addition, you should only change the date type to another type that is compatible with the actual data. Changing to an incompatible type can cause an error on the chart. As a best practice, we recommend only modifying the date type at the data source level, as follows:

 

  1. Edit the report's data source.
  2. Make a copy of the existing date field.
  3. Choose a new type for the copied field.

You can then use the copied field in reports without modifying the type. 

To change how your data aggregates in charts based on date groupings, use the Show as option. 

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