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This article is about Looker Studio. For Looker documentation, visit https://cloud.google.com/looker/docs/intro.

Timeline chart reference

How to configure timeline charts.

Timeline charts let you visualize the relationships between groups of events and compare the timespans over which these events took place. This article provides an overview of timeline charts and configuration options in Looker Studio.

In this article:

Requirements

Timeline charts require the following fields in the Setup tab of the Properties panel: 

  • Row label:  A string type dimension that provides the label for each row
  • Start time: A date type dimension that specifies the beginning of the timeline
  • End time: A date type dimension that specifies the end of the timeline

    If you don't use an End time field, you need a Duration field:  A number type dimension that specifies the length of a timeline chart in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, or years. 
You can't use both an End time field and a Duration field at the same time. For example, if you are using a Duration field and then set an End time field, the preexisting Duration setting will clear. 

There are other optional fields that you can configure to add additional context to a timeline chart. See the following Timeline chart examples and Set up the chart data sections for more details.

Things to know

There are several things to know about timeline charts in Looker Studio:

  • If a value does not have a corresponding Row label or Start time the value won't show up in the timeline chart. 
  • If the Start time, End time, or Duration is invalid (or if the specified Duration calculates a date that is too far into the future), the timeline chart will end up in an error state.
  • If the End time and Duration fields are both specified, the timeline chart will use the End time field and ignore the Duration field.

Timeline chart examples

You can configure timeline charts to display data in several different ways. This section includes examples for the following use cases: 

Simple timeline

A timeline chart that contains the minimum required fields can help report viewers contextualize and compare the timespan of events.

In this example, you have a timeline chart with the following dimensions:

  • Row label field: Name (the name of US presidents)
  • Start time field: Start (a date type field, in years)
  • End time field: End (a date type field, in years)

With this minimal configuration, the timeline helps report viewers compare the term lengths of US presidents.

A timeline chart displays the length of the US presidential terms of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

Timeline with bar labels

If you want timeline bars to represent a different value than the Row label field, you can specify a Bar label dimension and enable the Show bar label style setting.

Using these settings helps report viewers differentiate the bar value from the row label value, since the Bar label is a different dimension than the Row label.

In this example, you have a timeline chart with the following dimensions:

  • Row label field: Term (a number type field that represents a US presidential term)
  • Bar label field: Name (the name of US presidents)
  • Start time field: Start (a date type field, in years)
  • End time field: End (a date type field, in years)

In this example, the Show bar label setting helps report viewers see the presidential term for each president along with the length of each presidential term.

A timeline chart displays the length in years of US presidential terms for Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington.

Timeline with individual or multiple bars per row

 You can use the Row label field in conjunction with the  Group by row label style setting to group bars into individual or multiple bars per row.

In this example, you have a timeline chart with the following dimensions:

  • Row label field: Position (the name of positions, such as Vice President, Secretary of State, and President)
  • Bar label field: Name (the name of the individual that held a specific position)
  • Start time field: Start (a date type field, in years)
  • End time field: End (a date type field, in years)

The chart displays the values grouped by the labels Vice President, Secretary of State, and President

When Group by row label is not enabled, each value appears on an individual row, organized according to the row label that the value corresponds to. The bars will be assigned a color according to the specified Color by options.

A timeline chart displays six rows that are grouped together by their labels: Vice President, Secretary of State, and President.

When Group by row label is enabled, each value is displayed together in one row per each row label.

This format can make each row look distinct from other groups. You can also select the Color by row label style option to make each row look more cohesive.

A timeline chart displays three rows that are grouped by three labels: Vice President, Secretary of State, and President.

Configure the chart

Add a new chart or select an existing chart. Next, use the Properties panel to configure the chart's Setup and Style tab properties.

 Set up the chart data

 The options in the Setup tab of the Properties panel determine how the chart's data is organized and displayed.

Data source

A data source provides the connection between the component and the underlying dataset. 

  • To change the chart's data source, click the current data source name.
  • To view or edit the data source, click the Edit data source pencil icon Edit. (You must have at least view permission to see this icon.)
  • Click +BLEND DATA to see data from multiple data sources in the same chart. Learn more about data blending.

Date range dimension

This option appears if your data source has a valid date dimension.

This option does not appear for Google Ads or Google Analytics data sources, as these data sources automatically select a dimension of type date from the data source.

The Date range dimension is used as the basis for limiting the date range of the chart. For example, Date range is the dimension that is used if you set a date range property for the chart or if a viewer of the report uses a date range control to limit the time frame.

Row label

The Row label field is the primary grouping dimension, and it provides the label for each row. The Row label dimension must be a string type dimension. 

This field is required.

Bar label

The Bar label field is the secondary grouping dimension, and it provides the label for each bar. The Bar label field must be a string type dimension.

This field is optional

If multiple records have the same Row label value, the Bar label will differentiate them.
 
If you don't specify a Bar label dimension and there are multiple records that share the same Row label value, the values will display as one continuous bar.

Start time

The Start time field specifies when the time chart begins. The Start time field must be a date type dimension.

This field is required.

End time

The End time field specifies when the time chart ends. The End time field must be a date type dimension.

Timeline charts require either an End time field orDuration field. (A timeline chart can't use both an End time field and a Duration field at the same time.)

Duration

The Duration field determines the length of a time chart in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, or years. The Duration field must be a number type dimension.

If you use a Duration field, you must specify the Duration units

Timeline charts require either an End time field orDuration field. (A timeline chart can't use both an End time field and a Duration field at the same time.)

Duration units

The Duration units field indicates the unit of time that are represented by the Duration field. If you're including a Duration field, you must select a Duration units option.

You can select one of the following options from the Duration units drop-down menu: 

  • Seconds
  • Minutes
  • Hours
  • Days
  • Months
  • Years

Tooltip

Report viewers can hover their cursor over a bar in a timeline chart to access a tooltip that displays more details about the data. 

Tooltips in timeline charts display the dimension values from the Row labelBar labelStart time, and End time (or Duration) fields for each bar.

The Tooltip field lets you specify a dimension that provides an additional data point in tooltips. 

The tooltip field must be a dimension.

Sort

The Sort field lets you choose a dimension by which to sort the bars on the timeline chart, in either Ascending or Descending order.

This field is optional

Total records

The Total records drop-down lets you specify the number of rows that appear in a timeline chart. 

  • If Group by row label is not enabled, total records corresponds to the number of rows that are displayed.  
  • If Group by row label is enabled, total records corresponds to the number of bars that are displayed.

Filter

Filters restrict the data that is displayed in the component by including or excluding the values that you specify. Learn more about the filter property.

Filter options

Filter name Click an existing filter to edit it. Mouse over the filter name and click X to delete it.
+Add a filter Click this option to create a new filter for the chart.

Chart interactions

Cross-filtering lets report viewers interact with one chart and apply that interaction as a filter to other charts in the report. When cross-filtering is turned on for a chart, you can filter the report by clicking one or more dimension values in the chart. Learn more about cross-filtering.

Style the chart

The options in the Style tab control the overall presentation and appearance of the chart.

Title

If you select the Show title checkbox, you can add a title and customize its appearance and placement on the chart.

Title options

Title Provides a text field where report editors can enter a custom title for the chart.

Title font type

Sets the font type for the title text.

Title font size Sets the font size for the title text.
Font styling options Applies bold, italic, or underline styling to the title text.
Title font color Sets the font color for the title text.
Left Aligns the chart title to the left side of the chart.
Center

Aligns the chart title to the right side of the chart.

Right Centers the chart title above or below the chart.
Top Positions the chart title at the top of the chart.
Bottom Positions the chart title at the bottom of the chart.

Color by

These options control the colors of the timeline visualization:

Single color Displays bars in the same color. 

You can click the color swatch to specify a color.
Series order Displays bars in the colors that are assigned to the color swatches in a specific order.

You can click each color swatch to specify a color for each swatch position. (The order goes from the top left swatch to the right.)
Dimension values Displays bars in colors that are assigned to individual dimension values in the Manage dimension color values menu.
Color by 
This option is available only when either the Series order or the Dimension value option is selected, and when a bar label dimension is specified.

Displays bars in colors as a group. You can choose either Color by row label or Color by bar label from the drop-down menu. 

  • The Color by row label option displays each bar in a color that corresponds to the Row label value. Color by row label can be helpful if you want to display bar values that correspond to row labels. 
  • The Color by bar label option displays each bar in a color that corresponds to the Bar label value. Color by bar label can be helpful if you want to group bars by a row label and still distinguish between individual values for each row.

Missing Data

This setting lets you specify how bars with missing Bar label dimension values are displayed on your timeline chart.

You can select one of the following options from the drop-down menu: 

Show "No data" Displays the text "No data" when bar label values are missing.
Show "0" Displays the number "0" when bar label values are missing.
Show "-" Displays a dash, "-", when bar label values are missing.
Show "null" Displays the text "null" when bar label values are missing.
Show " " (blank) Displays a blank, " ", when bar label values are missing.

Bar options

Bar label values come from the dimension that is selected as the Bar label field.  When enabled, the Show bar label option displays the dimension value for each bar in a row. 

You can use the Font size and Font family drop-down menu options to customize the appearance of bar labels.

 

Row options

Row label values come from the dimension that is selected as the Row label field. The following options control the appearance of rows in timeline charts:

Group by row label When enabled, displays bars that have the same row label value together on one single row.
Font color Sets the font color of the row label.
Font size Sets the font size of the row label.
Font family Sets the font style of the row label.
Chart background Sets the background for the data section of the chart. 
Alternating row colors When enabled, displays alternating rows with a background color.

Background and border

The following options control the appearance of the chart background container.

Background Sets the chart background color.
Border Radius Adds rounded borders to the chart background. When the radius is 0, the background shape has 90° corners. A border radius of 100° produces a circular shape.
Opacity Sets the chart opacity. 100% opacity completely hides objects behind the chart. 0% opacity makes the chart invisible.
Border Color Sets the chart border color.
Border Weight Sets the chart border line thickness.
Border Style Sets the chart border line style.
Add border shadow Adds a shadow to the chart's lower and right borders.

Chart header

The chart header lets viewers perform various actions on the chart, such as exporting the data, drilling up or down, or sorting the chart. Chart header options are as follows:

Show on hover (default) Three vertical dots appear when you mouse over the chart header. Click these to access the header options.
Always show The header options always appear.
Do not show The header options never appear. Note that report viewers can always access the options by right-clicking the chart.
Color Sets the color of the chart header options.

Related resources

 

 

 

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