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A Beginner’s Guide to Google Data Studio

Last updated on February 15, 2022
9 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Google Data Studio streamlines your reporting process.
  • Learn to customize interactive reports from a variety of data sources.
  • Follow a step-by-step guide to start building your reports.

Skill Level

Beginner, Intermediate

Reporting can feel like a very daunting task. Updating sheets every month and pulling out important insights takes up a lot of time. If you identify with those statements, we encourage you to start using Google Data Studio reporting. 

Google Data Studio is a free data visualization and reporting tool. With just a few steps, you can create effective reports to help you make informed decisions about your business. This guide will cover what Google Data Studio is, the benefits of this tool as well as the steps to get started!

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a digital tool that transforms data into highly configurable charts and tables. The platform has the capability to sync all of your data sources so you can view it in one reporting experience for a more streamlined way to analyze your data. You can view the information in a variety of charts including line, bar, and pie charts, geo maps, area and bubble graphs, paginated data tables, pivot tables, and more. 

Benefits of Google Data Studio

If you’ve ever had a hard time analyzing your data or you spend more time building reports than learning from your data, this may be a great asset to your tour or activity company!

  • Free to use: This means it’s accessible to businesses of all sizes.
  • Connects to many data sources: This includes Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so many others. 
  • Web-based tool: Rather than needing to install software on your computer, Google Data Studio works completely on the web and everything is stored on the cloud.
  • Fully customizable: Mix and match the type of data you want to see on each report you run. You can also apply different styles and color themes to match your reports to your business. 
  • Interactive platform: Each report has filters and date range control so they are flexible. You can include links and clickable images for a well-rounded report.
  • Easily share your reports: Simply download the report, save as a PDF, and send. 
  • Display reports on your website: With an embed code, you can easily add any report to your website, offering a unique way to share information with customers. For example, you could create a graph showing all the countries or states your visitors are from!
  • Saves you time: This tool has real-time data integration, letting you quickly run reports, which gives you more time to spend on other parts of your business.  

Time to Get Started

Now for the fun part. Learning how to use Google Data Studio! 

  1. Choose a template
  2. Connect your data sources
  3. Choose a chart type 
  4. How to share a report

Simply go to the Google Data Studio web page to get started. (Note: You will need to have a Google account for access, which is also free.)

Step 1: Choose a template

Google has several template options to choose from, but you can also just pick “Blank Report” to start from scratch. There is always the option for customized fonts and colors so you have consistent reporting.

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Step 2: Connect your data sources.

Click the “Add data” button on your toolbar. You’ll see several different options such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, and more. As a beginner, start by connecting to just one data source. Simply click on your data source choice, then “Authorize”; you will choose what data you would like to see (for example, which specific Google Sheet), and finally click “Add”. 

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Step 3: Choose a chart type

Which chart you pick depends on the type of data you’re displaying. For instance, a line chart could show revenue made over time or a geo map could show where your customers typically live. To choose your chart type, simply click “Add a chart” in the toolbar. 

graphical user interface, application

Pro tip: Customize your chart visuals by clicking the chart you want to alter and then clicking “STYLE” on the right side of the screen. You can change the color, add data labels, and more. You can also add a heading or other text by clicking “Textbox” in the toolbar. You are also able to customize and format text. 

Step 4: Share your reports

The last step is learning how to share your report. You can download it as a PDF by clicking “File” > “Download as” > “PDF”. Then, you can share your reports via email, Slack, or any other means. Or, share your reports by email by clicking “Share” on the top left corner and adding in email addresses. Google Data Studio works similarly to a Google Doc in that you have to change permissions of the specific report to “Can view” or “Can edit”.


Now you have the tools to start utilizing Google Data Studio. Import your data, visualize the information, make intuitive decisions, and, most importantly, save yourself time!

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