Area chart reference

How to use and configure area charts.

An area chart is a variation on the line or time series chart. It uses shaded areas under the plotted lines on the graph to indicate the volume of data that is represented by the lines. Like a time series, area charts are useful for seeing how your data trends over time.

In this article:

Area charts in Looker Studio

Area charts let you visualize a single dimension (the breakdown dimension) and a single metric, plotted over time.

Area chart example

The example below shows 2 area charts. Both charts show sales data from a fictional pet store. The chart on the left shows sales of items by category (contained in a Product Category dimension). This dimension has 3 values: Bird, Dog, and Cat.

The chart on the right shows sales of individual products (contained in an Item dimension).

The metric In both charts is quantity sold (called Qty Sold in the data source).

These examples show 2 different styles of area chart. The left one is stacked: the series values appear in layers, building one atop the other. The right is unstacked: each series starts at the same baseline.

A stacked area chart displaying stacked lines and shading, and an unstacked area chart displaying overlapping lines and shading.

Area chart example showing stacked series on the left, and unstacked series on the right.

Configure the chart

Select the chart. Then, on the right, use the property panel to configure the chart options.

Setup properties

The options in a chart's setup panel determine how the data is organized and displayed.

Data source

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

  • 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.

Date range dimension

This option appears if your data source has a valid date dimension. For Google Ads and Analytics data sources, this option is automatically set to the 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.

Time dimension

A time dimension provides a time-based X-axis for your chart. The data type of this dimension determines the granularity of the time series. For example, to visualize daily data, use the Date data type with full year, month, and day. To group the data by calendar quarter, change the data type to Year Quarter.

For compatibility mode dates, use the Granularity option to change how your data is grouped. Learn more.

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

The Breakdown Dimension displays the metric data broken down according to the selected dimension. For example, a chart showing 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.


Metrics measure the things 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.

You can display a single metric in an area chart.

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 Use 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. 

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.


Filters restrict the data that is displayed in the component by including or excluding the values 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

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.

Style properties

A chart's style properties control the overall presentation and appearance of the chart.

Area Chart

This section controls the overall appearance and layout of your chart.

Show Stack Stacks the data series.
100% Stacking When checked, stacked charts show the contribution of each data series to 100% of the total value.
Show Cumulative When checked, data series are summed over time. Otherwise, the data is shown with no additional aggregation.
Show points Displays individual data points. Viewers can mouse over a data point to display its value.
Show data labels Displays individual values for the data points in the series.
Compact Numbers Turn on Show data labels to see this option:
Rounds numbers and displays the unit indicator. For example, 553,939 becomes 553.9K.
Decimal Precision Turn on Show data labels to see this option:
Sets the number of decimal places in metric values.
Number of 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). Remaining series will be grouped in an "other" category.

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 checked, 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.

Missing data

This option appears when your time dimension is missing data. Looker Studio offers 3 ways of dealing with this situation.

Note: this option has no effect on bar series. The Line to Zero option will affect a trendline, however.

Line to Zero When you select this option, a line series will drop to zero for the missing dates. This is the default option.
Line Breaks When this option is selected, missing data appears as breaks in the data series.
Linear Interpolation When this option is selected, Looker Studio will continue the series by connecting the data points on either side of the missing data.


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.

Optionally, select the Pan/Zoom X-axis only checkbox to allow zooming and panning only along the X-axis.


These options control the display of the chart axes titles and scales. A right Y-axis section appears when you have more than 1 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.

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 1 metric in your chart.

Axis options

Show axis title Shows or hides the axis labels. 
Axis min and max Set 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. 
Custom tick interval Controls the interval between axis ticks.


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.
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. Border radius of 100° produces a circular shape.
Opacity Sets the chart's 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 lower and right borders.


These options determine the placement of the chart legend.

None 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, and viewing the chart in the Explorer tool. Chart header options are:

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 Set the color of the chart header options.
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