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Bar chart and column chart reference

How to use and configure bar and column charts in Looker Studio.

Use bar charts to compare different categories of information. The categories are represented by the bars, and the length of each bar (or height of each column) represents the value of that category. The longer the bar, the greater the value it represents.

In this article:

Bar charts in Looker Studio

Bar charts let you visualize your data in two basic ways:

  • Single dimension with multiple metrics. This method lets you analyze a single category of information using up to 20 metrics.
  • Two dimensions with a single metric. This method lets you apply a breakdown dimension to the primary dimension and measure that breakdown with a single metric.

Other types of bar charts

You can select from the following preset chart types when you add a chart from the toolbar.

Stacked bar chart

Stack the breakdown dimensions horizontally instead of showing them side-by-side.

100% stacked bar chart

Stack the breakdown dimensions horizontally, with each series in the chart having the same overall length.

Column chart

Display the data using vertical columns, with breakdown dimensions shown side-by-side.

Stacked column chart

Stack the breakdown dimensions vertically instead of showing them side-by-side.

100% stacked column chart

Stack the breakdown dimensions vertically, with each series in the chart having the same overall height.

Use a stacked bar or stacked column chart to show part-to-whole relationships.
100% stacked bars or columns are useful to show the relationship between individual items and the whole in a single bar, where the cumulative total isn’t important.

Column chart example

The column charts below show two different views of Google Analytics web traffic data. The base dimension for both charts is Medium. The left hand chart uses stacked columns to show several metrics (Sessions, Users, and Exits) for medium. The right hand chart uses a second dimension, Country ISO Code, to break down each medium according to its country of origin. Instead of stacked columns, this chart use grouped columns: Each column is a data series that corresponds to one of the countries. Two-dimensional charts can only plot a single metric (Sessions again in this example).

Two column charts: One displays stacked columns, and the other displays grouped columns.

Configure the chart

Add a new chart or select an existing chart. Then, on the right, 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 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 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.


Dimensions are data categories. Dimension values (the data contained by the dimension) are names, descriptions, or other characteristics of a category.

At least one dimension is required. The first dimension you specify serves as the primary data series in the chart. If you specify a breakdown dimension, the chart is limited to a single metric.

Drill down

This option appears on charts that support it.

Drilling down gives viewers a way to reveal additional levels of detail within a chart. When you turn on the Drill down  optioneach dimension you add becomes another level of detail you can drill into. Learn more about chart drill down.

Breakdown dimension

This option displays the metric data broken down according to the selected dimension. For example, a chart that shows annual sales data could be broken down by a Sales Region dimension to show sales by region, or by an Employee ID dimension to show sales by sales associate.

Date range dimension

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

Note: This option does not appear for Google Ads or Google Analytics data sources, as these automatically use a Date dimension.

The Date range dimension is used as the basis for limiting the date range of the chart. For example, this is the dimension 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.


Metrics measure the things that are contained in dimensions and provide the numeric scale and data series for the chart.

Metrics are aggregations that come from the underlying data set, or that are the result of implicitly or explicitly applying an aggregation function, such as COUNT(), SUM(), or AVG(). The metric itself has no defined set of values, so you can’t group by it as you can with a dimension.

Learn more about aggregation.

At least 1 metric is required. For charts with a single dimension, you can have up to 20 metrics. For charts with 2 dimensions, you can have 1 metric.

Set the default sort

The Sort and Secondary sort options in the chart's setup panel control the default sorting behavior. You can select any metric in the chart's data source, or any dimension that is currently displayed in the chart, to use as the primary or secondary sorting field.

The Secondary sort option only appears when there is an appropriate combination of dimensions and metrics in the chart.
When you specify a metric as a sort field, you can edit the field's aggregation. For example, you could include a numeric field in the chart as a SUM, but sort on that same field's AVERAGE value.

Default date range

The Default date range property lets you set a timeframe for an individual chart.

Default date range options

Auto Uses the default date range, which is determined by the chart's data source.
Custom Lets you use the calendar widget to select a custom date range for the chart.
Date compare type Displays comparison data for the selected time period.

Learn more about working with dates and time. 


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.

Google Analytics segment

This option appears for charts based on a Universal Analytics data source.

A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. You can apply segments to your Looker Studio charts to help ensure that your Looker Studio and Google Analytics reports show the same data. Learn more about Analytics segments in Looker Studio.

Chart interactions

When the Cross-filtering option is enabled on a chart, that chart acts like a filter control. You can filter the report by clicking or brushing your mouse across the chart. Learn more about cross-filtering.

The Zoom option lets you zoom into a chart and pan on that chart to view all the data that is present. Learn more about zooming and panning on Cartesian charts.

The Zoom option is not available when the Cross-filtering option is enabled.

Stylize the chart

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

This section controls the overall appearance and layout of your chart. These options apply to both bar and column charts.

Vertical Displays the data series as vertical columns.
Horizontal Displays the data series as horizontal bars.
Bars Determines the number of data series shown in the chart. If the number of series selected is less than the number of series in your data, only the top N series will be shown (where N equals the number of series you've selected).
Series Determines the number of secondary dimension series shown in the chart. If the number of series selected is less than the number of series in your data, only the top N series will be shown (where N equals the number of series you've selected).
Stacked Bars When this option is selected, the chart displays stacked bars or columns. Otherwise, the chart displays grouped bars or columns.
100% Stacking When this option is selected, stacked charts show the contribution of each data series to 100% of the total value.
Show total card Shows the total value of the metrics for a selected stacked bar. Mouse over the bar to show the card.
Show data labels When this option is selected, the value is displayed for each series in the chart. Selecting this option also reveals the Data label section, where you can control the presentation of the labels on the chart.

Data label

This section controls the presentation of data labels for bars. To see these options, turn on Show data labels.

Bar label type

This option is available only for stacked bar charts and 100% stacked bar charts. The Bar label type drop-down menu includes the following options:

  • Metric value (default): Shows a metric value for each segment of the bar.
  • Stacked: Shows the total stack value for each bar, along with the running sum from the values for each segment of the bar.
  • Total: Shows only the total stack value for all the segments of the bar. The Total option is available only for the stacked bar chart type.
Show data label as Sets whether labels are displayed as numbers or percentages. This option is available only for 100% stacked bar charts.
Compact Numbers

Rounds numbers and displays the unit indicator. For example, 553,939 becomes 553.9K.

This option is available only if Show data label as is Number.
Decimal precision

Sets the number of decimal places that are displayed in metric values.

This option is available only if Show data label as is Number. If Show data label as is Percentage, then the decimal precision will always be 2.

Bar label position Sets the position of labels relative to the bar or column.

Color by

This section controls how your data is colored. Learn more about coloring your data

These options appear when you have a secondary (breakdown) dimension in your chart.

Single Color
When this option is selected, the data series are displayed in shades of a single color. Otherwise, the chart displays in a veritable rainbow of happy colors (depending on your report theme).

You can change the series colors using the color pickers below.

Series order

Use the current theme to color the data according to its position in the chart. This option emphasizes the ranking of the data over the identity of the data.

You can set specific colors using each data series' color picker.

Dimension values

Colors each dimension value in the chart with the color specified in the dimension value color map. This option ensures that your data uses color consistently, regardless of the position of that data in the chart.

Bar border color

This option lets you change the outline color for the bars in the chart. You can also specify a bar border color for all the bar charts in your report from the Layout tab of the Themes menu.

Reference lines

Add a reference line or a reference band to your chart by selecting the Add a reference line or Add a reference band option.

For more information about reference lines and reference bands, visit the Add reference lines and reference bands to charts page.

Reference lines are not available for 100% stacked bar charts or 100% stacked column charts.


After you enable the Zoom option for a chart on the Setup tab of the Properties panel, you can select one of the following options:

  • Click and drag to zoom: Zoom by clicking and dragging to select a portion of the visualization to magnify.
  • Scroll to zoom: Zoom by scrolling with your mouse.


These options control the display of the chart axes titles and scales. A right Y-axis section appears when you have more than one metric in your chart.

Axis options

Show axes Shows or hides the chart axes.
Reverse Y-Axis direction Controls the vertical display of the Y-axis.
Reverse X-Axis direction Controls the horizontal display of the X-axis.
Align both axes to 0

Makes both left and right axes start at 0. Available for Cartesian line, bar, and combo charts that have left and right Y-axes.

Chart spacing

This option lets you customize the spacing between bars in a chart.

For stacked bar charts, use the Group bar width slider to specify a custom bar width for between 0% and 100%. 

For unstacked multiple bar charts, use the Bar width slider to specify a custom width for each individual bar, and use the Group bar with slider to specify a custom bar width for each group of bars.

Left Y-axis

These options control the display of the chart's left Y-axis. A right Y-axis section appears when you have more than one metric in your chart.

Axis options

Show axis title Shows or hides the axis labels. 
Axis min and max Sets minimum and maximum values for the axis.
Custom tick interval Controls the interval between axis ticks.
Log scale Makes the axis scale logarithmic.


These options control the display of the chart's X-axis.

Axis options

Show axis title Shows or hides the axis labels. 


These options control the look of the chart grid.

Axis color Sets the color of the axis line(s).
Grid color Sets the color of the grid lines.
Font family Sets the font type of the grid line text.
Axis font size Sets the font size of the grid line text.
Label font size Sets the font size of the grid line label text.
Chart background Sets the color of the chart background.
Chart border color Sets the color of the inner chart border.

Background and border

These 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.


These options determine the placement of the chart legend.

Legend font color Sets the color of the legend font.
Font size Sets the size of the legend font.
Font family Sets the font type of the legend font.

No legend appears.

Right Legend appears on the right.
Bottom Legend appears on the bottom.
Top Legend appears on the top.
Alignment Sets the alignment of the legend relative to the selected position. 
Max lines Sets the number of lines used by the legend. If the number of series requires more lines, overflow items can be displayed by clicking the < and > arrows.

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.

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