Google Universal Analytics Shortcuts: Tricks, Tools & APIs


I am going to give you some quick tips and shortcuts to use Universal Analytics more efficiently.

 Index (What you will learn in this post)

  1. Accessing Universal Analytics Reports with Lightning Speed
  2. Built-in Keyboard Shortcuts in Universal Analytics
  3. Navigating in Universal Analytics via Shortcuts
  4. Customizing Universal Analytics through Built-in Report Shortcuts
  5. Shortcuts for Real Time Reports
  6. Recently Viewed Reports in Universal Analytics
  7. REGEX to quickly filter data within reporting interface
  8. Using Custom Reports to quickly access the desired data
  9. Google Universal Analytics Tools to boost your productivity
  10. Using Universal Analytics APIs for fastest Information Retrieval


Accessing Google Universal Analytics Reports with Lightning Speed

I have access to dozens of user accounts and some 50+ website profiles/views in my Universal Analytics account and accessing them every day, several times used to be quite frustrating.

So I came up with bunch of solutions:

Solution-1: Create a Bookmarks Folder in your Browser for Analytics Reports

Create a bookmarks folder in your browser so that you can quickly access various important reports of your clients.

Through such bookmarks you can easily access any report of any client with just one click (provided you are already logged into UA).  You can directly assess any report whether standard or custom report and even access the dashboards with just one click.


Solution-2: Use ‘Open All in Tabs’ feature of your Browser

To open all the reports of a client in one go, you can use ‘open all in tabs’ feature of your browser (here Firefox):

Chrome also provide similar feature if you right click on a bookmark folder and select ‘open all bookmarks’.

In this way you can open all of the analytics reports of your client in one go.


Solution-3: Use Firefox Add-on ‘Site Launcher’ to create Keyboard Shortcuts

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to open a particular Google analytics report. Here is how:

Step-1: Open firefox browser and install the firefox add-on SiteLauncher. This add-on let you access your bookmarks through keyboard shortcuts.

Step-2:  Once you have installed this add-on, open the analytics report you want to open through a keyboard shortcut.

Step-3: Go to ‘Site Launcher’ menu > ‘Shortcut this Page’


This will open the ‘site launcher Management’ dialog box:

Step-4: Enter the name of your report in the ‘title’ field and the one letter shortcut key in the ‘key field. Click on the ‘Add Shortcut’ button and then the ‘ok’ button.

You have now created your first keyboard shortcut for an analytics report. Create similar shortcuts for other analytics reports.


Step-5: Now open the launcher by pressing  CTRL+Space buttons on your keyboard.

The launcher will look like this (by default):

You can now see all your reports at one place along with the shortcut keys.

Now all you have to do is type ‘c’ to open the ‘content overview’ report, type ‘d’ to open the dashboard, type ‘t’ to open the ‘traffic sources analytics custom report’ and so on.

Every time you want to access a report, just open this launcher by pressing CTRL+SPACE,  see the shortcut key and then type it to open the report. So you don’t need to remember even the shortcut key for each report.

However if you do wish to remember shortcut keys, then use ALT+SHIFT+{ your short-cut-key}. For example press ALT+SHIFT+c to quickly launch the ‘Content Overview’ report.

If you have only one account to manage then you can put the shortcuts to all the important reports on this launcher panel.

If you have multiple accounts with multiple profiles/views then I would suggest you to only add shortcuts to each website account/profile otherwise there will be lot of cluttering on the launcher panel and you will not be able to access the reports as fast as you would like to.


Built-in Keyboard Shortcuts in Universal Analytics

Google Analytics also provide a handy list of shortcuts which you can use to perform variety of tasks like: quickly change data range or date comparison mode.

To see the list of all available keyboard shortcuts press ‘?’ key on your keyboard.

You will then see a screen similar to the one below:

google analytics shortcuts

Select the task you want to perform from the shortcuts list and then press the appropriate keys on your keyboard.

For example if you want to set the date range of your analytics report to today then press ‘d’ followed by ‘t’. The keyboard shortcuts are pretty easy to use.  Just try them and you will know what they do.

Press the ESCAPE key if you want to cancel the current operation or close the ‘keyboard shortcuts’ dialog box.


Navigating in Universal Analytics via Shortcuts

One of the fastest way to access a report from Universal Analytics Account Home page is to type the name of the account/view whose report you want to access and press the enter key.


google analytics shortcuts 2

‘Audience Overview’ is the first report you see when you access an account/view via Universal Analytics Account Home page.

To quickly access any report from the ‘audience overview’ report, click on ‘find reports and more’ text box:

find reports and more

If you remember the name of the report you want to access, type it into the text box to quickly access the desired report:

find reports and more 2


Following is a list of such reports shortcuts:


Universal Analytics Report Shortcuts

Which Report it opens



Behavior Overview Report



Audience Location Report



create a new dashboard



Frequency & Recency Report

This is just a small sample. You can have dozens of such shortcuts.

It may look like too many shortcuts to remember but once you start using them on daily basis, you will remember them. The best way to memorize these shortcuts is to use them as often as possible.

Note: The Fastest way to access custom reports is through the ‘open all in tabs’ feature of your browser as described above.


Customizing Universal Analytics through Built-in Report Shortcuts

google analytics shortcuts 3

Through Universal Analytics Shortcut reports you can save almost any customization to any analytics report.

You can save a report as a ‘shortcut’ along with filters, advanced segments, dimensions and other customization you have applied to it.

So next time when you access the report via ‘shortcuts’ menu you can view the report along with your customization.

 To create a Report shortcut follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to a report whose shortcut you want to create and customize it through filters, advanced segments, dimensions etc.

Step-2: Click on the shortcut button at the top navigation bar and then enter the name of the new shortcut:

shortcut report

 Step-3: You can now access your report shortcut under the ‘shortcuts’ menu.


Note: You can’t add every report to the Shortcuts menu. For example you can’t add the dashboards or ‘User Flow’ reports to the Shortcuts menu.


Shortcuts for Real Time Reports

You can also create shortcuts for real time reports in Universal Analytics.

Navigate to a Real Time Report (like ‘Traffic Sources’), click on the ‘create shortcut’ link at the top right and then enter the name for your new shortcut:



Congratulations, you can now access your real time report shortcut under the ‘shortcuts’ menu.


Recently Viewed Reports in Universal Analytics

You can navigate to recently used reports through the ‘Recent History’ feature provided in the sidebar of Universal Analytics:

find reports and more


Using REGEX to quickly filter data within reporting interface

Love it or hate it, REGEX (or regular expressions) is the way to go to segment data in Google Universal Analytics.

You can filter the data without REGEX too but it is just too time consuming (and sometime impractical) and analytics ninjas are not slow people.

I find REGEX so useful that I had to write Regular Expressions Guide for SEO and Analytics . Check out this post to know all about REGEX.

Following are some REGEX you will find useful and handy while filtering data within reporting interface:





Filter 1 word keyword phrase



Filter 2 words keyword phrase



Filter 3 words keyword phrase



Filter 4 words keyword phrase



Filter 5 words keyword phrase



Filter 6 words keyword phrase



Filter 7 words keyword phrase



Filter 8 words keyword phrase



Filter 9 words keyword phrase



Filter 10 words keyword phrase



Include/exclude branded keywords

(v?irgin ?atlantic)|virgin|atlantic

Replace ‘virgin atlantic’ by your domain name in the format as specified above.


Include/exclude Social Media Traffic



Using Custom Reports to quickly access the desired data

Universal Analytics custom report is a quick way to get the desired data.

The Standard Reports provided by Universal Analytics will not always show you what you want to see in your reports straightaway.

You may have to do lot of tweaking within the reporting interface to get the data in the desired format. So it is imperative that you use custom reports.

The biggest advantage of using custom reports is that they let you tie conversions/revenue with your desired metric and dimension.

For example through custom reports you can easily determine the keywords which have highest Goal conversion rate/volume or which are assisting in user engagement. Check the Quick Start Guide for Custom Reporting for more details.


Google Universal Analytics Tools to boost your productivity





Automate event tracking in Google Analytics.

Analytics Engine

Check this post for more details: How to Automate Event Tracking in Google Analytics


Simplify setting up GA account, Goals and KPIs



Create campaign URLs without making mistake

Google Analytics URL Builder


Import web analytics data from GA into a spreadsheet, build queries with Google Analytics dimensions and metrics, apply filters to create advanced queries etc.

Excellent Analytics (free excel plugin)


Chrome extension to verify the set up of GA tracking code

Google Analytics Tracking Code Debugger


Using Universal Analytics APIs for fastest Information Retrieval

If you are an analyst of a big organization and you have to manage hundreds of analytics accounts/profiles then you have no choice but to use the APIs provided by Google Analytics to quickly retrieve the information you want.

Otherwise you will be spending majority of your time creating and downloading reports through Universal Analytics Interface instead of carrying out a fruitful analysis.

Other advantage of using Universal Analytics APIs is the flexibility it provides in terms of information retrieval.

You can access the information in any format you want. You can easily integrate GA data with your business data and automate complex tasks. Google Custom reports have limitations when it comes to information retrieval but Analytics APIs have none.

Note: I am deliberately using the word ‘information’ instead of the word ‘data’.

Information is the data which has been processed in a way that it is meaningful to the person who receives it.

Data on the other hand is unprocessed information which won’t help you in carrying out any meaningful analysis as it lacks the context.

For example PageViews =1250 is raw data and it won’t help you in carrying out any meaningful analysis as it lacks the context.


Google Analytics provide two types of APIs:

  1. Management API
  2. Core Reporting API

The management API provides read only access to the Universal Analytics configuration data like information related to analytics account and website profiles/views.

It does not provide access to the actual report data (data collected by Universal Analytics via the tracking code). So you need to use the Core Reporting API to access report data.

Related Article: How to use Google Analytics API without any coding


This post is a part of boost your productivity series which includes the Link Building Tool BoxHow to become a WordPress Ninja in 15 minutesData Scraping guide for SEO and the more recent Excel for SEO & Analytics – Powerful Cheat Sheet.

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