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Scatter chart reference

How to use and configure scatter and bubble charts.

Use scatter charts to look for relationships between variables. Scatter charts are particularly useful in highlighting trends and patterns that emerge in data. You can also use scatter plots to identify outliers in your data.

If your data contains two variables that correlate, a scatterplot can be an ideal visualization method to find and explore correlations. This could be positive correlation, which means that while the x variable increases, the y variable increases. This could also include negative correlation, meaning that while one variable increases, the other decreases. Correlation can also be null, meaning that there is no correlation between the two chosen variables. Awareness of potential data correlation can lead to greater insight about your data and can even guide predictions of future data behavior.

In this article:

Scatter charts in Looker Studio

To configure a scatter chart in Looker Studio, you select metrics for the horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) axes of the chart. You can group the data by adding up to 3 dimensions to the chart. For example, you could use a scatter chart to see if there's a correlation between ad spend and conversion rate for each country, broken down by region and ad campaign. This could help you answer questions such as "Do more expensive ads result in better conversions in all locales?"

To find trends and patterns, and to identify outliers in your data, you can include a trend line. The general direction of slope of the trend line shows the type of relationship ("correlation") between the variables: a slope upwards from left to right indicates a positive correlation. In other words, the more X, then the more Y. A slope downwards from upper left to lower right can mean a negative correlation: the more X, the less Y. Lack of slope can mean there is little or no correlation between the variables. Data points nearer the trend line are more closely correlated than those farther away from the line.

Scatter chart example

The scatter charts below give you 2 different views of the performance for a fictional online university. The left-hand chart compares the average course completion rate with the average activity rate (a measurement of how engaged the students were, in terms of forum posts, class activities completed, etc.) The linear trend line in this chart slopes upwards from left to right, indicating that there is a positive relationship between activity rate and completion rate. I.e., the more engaged the student, the more likely they are to complete the course.

The chart on the right compares the average student grade with the number of hours of homework for each course. The trend line in this chart slopes downwards from left to right, indicating there is a negative correlation between the metrics: the less homework assigned, the better the average grade.

The right hand chart also shows the presence of 2 outliers: the course in the bottom left had few hours of homework but also had a low average grade, while the course at the top of the graph had the highest amount of homework, yet still had close to a 3.0 grade average. (You might want to investigate your own chart outliers to see if you can discover why they don't fit the norm.)

Scatter chart examples display Course Name as bubble points with trend lines and outliers.

Other types of scatter charts

In addition to the basic scatter chart, you can also add a preset bubble chart from the toolbar.

Bubble chart

Bubble charts include a bubble size metric. This can be the same metric as the X or Y axis metric, or it can be a different metric. The larger the metric value, the larger the bubble.

Bubble chart example

This bubble chart visualizes visits to a national park (Pinnacles National Park in California, USA) in 2021. Each bubble represents a month. The position of each bubble in the chart represents the number of visitors and the amount of time spent by those visitors for each month. This chart uses the recreation_visitors metric to determine the size of the bubble. 

A chart with 12 colored bubbles that generally get bigger as they rise up and to the right. Each bubble represents a month of the year. A tooltip card is displayed, showing that for the month of June, there were 202,960 hours spent by 37,029 visitors.
Examining this chart shows that the fewest number of people visit the park in December and August, while the park is most crowded in the Spring and early Summer. July and February appear to be intermediate in terms of park visitation. 

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 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 Edit. (You must have at least Viewer 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 that is contained by the dimension) are names, descriptions, or other characteristics of a category.

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 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, this 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.

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 that you add becomes another level of detail that you can drill into. Learn more about chart drill down.


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 a metric as you can with a dimension.

Learn more about aggregation.

Metric options

Metric X The X (horizontal) axis metric (e.g. Avg Grade in the right hand example above).
Metric Y The Y (vertical) axis metric (e.g. Homework Hours in the right hand example above).
Bubble Size Metric Setting this causes the chart to display as a bubble chart. This metric determines the size of the data points.

Metric sliders

Let report users filter the chart or table by metric values. Learn more about metric sliders.

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.


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.

Centers the chart title above or below the chart.

Right Aligns the chart title to the right side of the chart.
Top Positions the chart title at the top of the chart.
Bottom Positions the chart title at the bottom of the chart.

Scatter Chart

Show data labels Displays individual values for the data points in the series.
Bubble color Sets the dimension to use for coloring the data points in your chart. When set to None, the bubbles display in a single color. Selecting a dimension causes the chart to display multiple colors.
Number of bubbles Determines the number of data points to display. If the number of dimension values exceeds this number, only the top N values are shown.

Color by

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

Dimension values

This option colors each dimension value in the chart with the color that is 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.

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.


A trend line is a line that is superimposed on a chart to reveal the overall direction of the data. Looker Studio supports several types of trend lines, which are available in the Trendline drop-down menu:

  • Linear

    A linear trend line is the straight line that most closely approximates the data in the chart. (To be precise, it's the line that minimizes the sum of squared distances from every point to it.)

  • Polynomial

    A polynomial trend line displays data directionality as a curved line. It can be useful for analyzing large, highly variable data series.
  • Exponential

    An exponential trend line displays the direction of data that is best represented as an exponential of the form eax+b.
  • Moving average

    A moving average trend line lets report creators visualize a moving average calculation of the data on their charts. When you select a moving average trend line, specify the time period for the calculation.

    The Moving average trend line type is available only for time series charts.

Trend lines are available only for time series charts and scatter charts.

Options for setting the trend line WeightStyle, and Color appear when an option is selected from the Trendline drop-down menu.


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 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.

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 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.

Note that this setting only applies when the legend is set to Top. This setting has no effect if the legend is set to Right or Bottom.


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.

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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