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Tutorial: Create a Google Sheets data source

Access your Google Sheets data in Looker Studio reports.

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

In this article:

0 Prepare your data

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

Use a separate worksheet for Looker Studio data

Spreadsheets let you store and analyze your data in a flexible format that might be difficult to model in Looker Studio. We recommend creating a separate worksheet for the data you want to see in Looker Studio.

You can automate getting data from one worksheet into another using Google Sheets functions. For example:
='Worksheet 1'!A1 - copies the contents of cell A1 in Worksheet 1.
Sheets provides others ways of fetching data from one cell or range of cells into another, including:

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 worksheet provides the field names in your data source.

Date format

  • Dates in your Google Sheet should contain the full day, month, and year, for example, 9/22/2020 or 2020-09-22.
  • If you have time data, it should be combined with the date field, for example, 9/22/2020 11:55:30.

  • 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 handling dates and times in Looker Studio.

Data structure

Organizing your data in certain ways can make it easier to work with in Looker 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 measuring 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 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 measure them all using the second example. This would be impossible to display in a Looker Studio chart.

Grouping your data series into dimensions also makes filtering in Looker 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 Looker 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 Looker Studio would display inflated numbers for each of the fruit dimensions (because it adds the totals to the un-aggregated metrics):







Scorecard examples

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

1 Connect to Google Sheets

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

  1. Sign in to Looker Studio.
  2. On the Looker Studio home page, in the top left, click The Create icon. Create and then select Data Source.
  3. In the connectors panel, select Google Sheets.
  4. Select a Spreadsheet and Worksheet.
  5. 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.
  6. Optionally, uncheck Include hidden and filtered cells. These will now be excluded from the data source
  7. Optionally, specify a range of cells. Otherwise, the entire worksheet is used.
  8. Click CONNECT in the upper right. The fields panel appears.

2 Configure the data source

The data source configuration page 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.

Learn more about modeling your data.

The fields panel displays the Index, Field, Type, Default Aggregation, and Description settings for data source fields.

Add a metric

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

A user selects a Date field's three-dot menu on the Edit Connection panel to display the metric options Count, Count Distinct, Duplicate, and Disable that are available for that field.

3 Rename your data source

Looker 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.

4 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 Share.

  2. Enter the email addresses or Google Groups that 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 as follows:

    • 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.

5 Use this data source in reports

The CREATE REPORT button on the edit connection page.

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

  1. Click CREATE REPORTin the upper right
  2. You'll see the report editor tool, and a table appears with fields from that data source.
    1. Use the properties panel on the right to change the data and style.
  3. In the top left, name your report by clicking Untitled Report.

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