Dates in reports

To visualize date-based data, you'll configure one or more of the following settings:

  • The dimension that governs the timeframe of the report (the date range dimension).
  • The dimension that determines how date-based data in a chart is handled (the time dimension).
  • The default date range for components that can display or interact with date-based data.
  • How to compare the current period to a previous period, if desired (the comparison date range).

Date range dimension

The date range dimension tells Data Studio which of the available dimensions controls the selected component's timeframe. 

 

Set the date range dimension

For Google Analytics components, the date range dimension is set automatically and can't be changed.

For other data source types, you may need to set this manually if Data Studio can't find a valid date dimension, or if your data source contains a different dimension you want to use.

  1. Select a chart or control.
  2. Select the DATA tab.
  3. In the Data Source section, click the Date Range Dimension, then use the dimension picker to select a valid date dimension.
    1. You can only choose a dimension that has the Date (YYYYMMDD) data type.

The Date Range Dimension can also be set at the report or page level using the File > Report settings menu or the Page > Current page settings menu.

Default date range

The default date range for your charts and controls depends on their data source. For example, charts based on Google Analytics data show the last 28 days' worth of data by default. Charts based on Google Sheets show all the data in the sheet. You can change the amount of data shown by setting the Default Date Range property. You can set this property for your entire report, specific page, or for one or more charts and controls on a page.

Set the default date range

To change the default date range for the entire report, edit that report and select the File > Report settings menu.

To change the default date range for a specific page, edit that page and select the Page > Current page settings menu.

To change the default date range for one or more charts or controls, select them.

Next:

  1. In the Properties panel on the right, select the DATA tab.
  2. Scroll down to find the Default Date Range property.
  3. Select Custom.
  4. Click the currently selected range to display the date range options.

Date range options

When you configure date range properties for a chart, or use a date range control, you have four kinds of date ranges to choose from:

  • Auto
  • Fixed
  • Preset
  • Advanced

For comparison periods, you can also select:

  • Previous period
  • Previous year

Auto date ranges are set as the default based on the data source for the selected chart. For example, Google Analytics defaults to the last 28 days from yesterday. Sheets data sources default to the entire date range found in the Sheet.

Fixed date ranges specify exact beginning and ending dates. For example, January 1, 2019 to January 31, 2019. Charts with this fixed range will always show data for those dates only.

Preset date ranges give you options such as "Today," "Last week (starts Monday)," and "This year to date." Preset date ranges are relative to "today" and adjust as time passes.

Advanced date ranges let you create flexible custom rolling dates. See below for more details.

Previous period--compares the currently selected period for the chart to the previous matching period. For example, if the current period is Last 28 days, the comparison is to the previous 28 day period prior to the last 28 days.

Previous year--compares the current selected period to the same period last year. For example, if the current period is This week to date (starts Sunday), the chart displays comparison data for the matching dates last year.

Use the Include today check box to include any data collected so far for the current day (if applicable).
Data Studio defaults to starting the weekly rolling window on Sunday. You can change this to start on Monday by selecting This week (starts Monday) or Last week (starts Monday) in the date options list.

Advanced date ranges

Advanced date ranges let you configure custom date periods for both the current date range and the comparison date range. For example, you can create date ranges such as "last 90 days from yesterday," or "last 52 weeks from last week" or compare the "current 30 days to the last 30 days starting on Monday." 

Configure an advanced date range

In edit mode:

  • Open the calendar widget in the date range properties for the selected chart, the current page, or the report.

In view mode:

  • Open the date range control.
  1. Then, in the upper right corner of the calendar, click Down Arrow.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the list of preset date options.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Set the Start date:
    1. Select Today to make the start date a rolling date.
    2. Select Fixed to make the start date a specific calendar date.
  5. Select Minus to make the start date a date in the past, or select Plus to make the start date a date in the future.
  6. Enter the number of date units.
  7. Specify what date units to use.
  8. Repeat steps 4 - 7 for the end date.
  9. Click APPLY.

Examples

Last 90 days from yesterday

Start Date End Date
Today Today
Minus Minus
90 1
Days Days

 

Last 30 days from today

Start Date End Date
Today Today
Minus Minus
29 0
Days Days

 

Next 2 quarters from this quarter

Start Date End Date
Today Today
Minus Plus
0 2
Quarters Quarters
You can see other examples by selecting a preset date range, then viewing how it is configured as custom rolling date range. For example, configure your chart to use the "Last week (starts Monday)" preset range. Then open the advanced settings dialog to see how to it is set up as a custom rolling date range.

Visualize dates in charts

Any chart in Data Studio can display date dimensions. However the time series and area chart are optimized to display date-based information, because they include a time dimension. The time dimension specifies how you want to aggregate the data according to the date unit.

For example, if you use a time dimension that has a type of Date (YYYYMMDD), your chart shows aggregated data by year, month, and day. If you choose a time dimension with a type of Year Month (YYYYMM), your data is aggregated by those units (year and month). In addition, the time series and area charts automatically sort by date, whereas other charts allow sorting by any dimension or metric.

Comparison date range

Some charts can compare the current date range to another range in the past. For example, in a time series, the comparison data appears as a line of a different color from the current data. In a table, the comparison data is shown as the delta from the current data, with an increase or decrease indicator.

Examples of date comparisons

Set up a comparison date range

  1. Select a time series, table, area chart, or scorecard.
  2. On the right, in the DATA tab of the properties panel, scroll down to the Default Date Range section.
  3. Under Comparison date range, choose the comparison period.
  4. Click APPLY.

Examples

Previous period / previous year 

Assume today's date is January 1, 2019, and the currently selected period for the chart is Last 7 days:

Comparison period Current dates Comparison dates
Previous period December 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 December 18, 2018 to December 24, 2018
Previous year December 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 December 25, 2017 to December 31, 2017

Fixed

June 1st, 2018 to June 7, 2018

December 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 June 1, 2018 to June 7, 2018

 

Now, assume today's date is January 2, 2019:

Comparison period Current dates Comparison dates
Previous period December 26, 2018 to January 1, 2019 December 19, 2018 to December 25, 2018
Previous year December 26, 2018 to January 1, 2019 December 26, 2017 to January 1, 2018

Fixed

June 1st, 2018 to June 7, 2018

December 26, 2018 to January 1, 2019 June 1, 2018 to June 7, 2018

 

Advanced date comparison

Compare the last 30 days from yesterday to the 30 days prior to that, aligned by day (compare Monday to Monday).

Current date range Comparison date range
Last 30 days (excluding today)
Start Date End Date
Today Today
Minus Minus
58 29
Days Days

 

Compare year to date to two years ago.

Current date range Comparison date range
This year (excluding today)
Start Date End Date
Today Today
Minus Minus
2 730
Years Days
Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?