Best Google Analytics Shortcuts: Tricks, Tools & APIs to Save Time

Last Updated: May 26, 2022

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

Introduction to analytics intelligence questions in Google Analytics

In order to use and benefit from Google Analytics there are two things that you need to know beforehand:

  1. The terminology used in various GA reports. For example, you must know what ‘bounce rate’ is or how users are counted, etc otherwise, you will have a hard time interpreting the data and extracting insight.
  2. You must know, how to drill down data in various GA reports and find the insight you want. 

The advent of ‘Google Analytics Intelligence questions’ has made drilling down data much easier and faster. 

You can ask any question about your data in plain English and the GA machine learning algorithm will try to answer your question.

I used the word ‘try’ because getting an answer (let alone correct answer) is not always 100% guaranteed. The quality of the answer will depend upon the quality of data, you have collected. So if your data collection is not accurate then the intelligence answers delivered by GA won’t be reliable either.

Google Analytics uses historical data to answer your questions. For example, if your enhanced ecommerce tracking is not set up correctly then there is no guarantee that you will get a reliable answer from GA regarding your ecommerce data. So beware.

Note: GA can not answer questions related to ‘why’. For example, ‘why is my bounce rate is so high?’ or ‘why is my traffic so low?’.

To learn more about Analytics Intelligence, read this article: Complete Guide to Google Analytics Intelligence

Introduction to built-in keyboard shortcuts in Google Analytics

Do you know, Google Analytics provides a handy list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to perform a variety of tasks such as quickly changing a data range, date comparison mode, or toggle the navigation menu?

To see the list of all available keyboard shortcuts in Google Analytics, follow the steps below:

Step-1: Login to your Google Analytics account and then open your main view (‘All Web Site Data’ view).

Step-2: Press SHIFT + ‘?’ keys on your keyboard. You will then see a screen similar to the one below:

Google Analytics Keyboard shortcuts

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

As you can see from the list above, there are two categories of keyboard shortcuts in GA:

#1 Application Keyboard Shortcuts

#2 Date Range Keyboard Shortcuts

Application keyboard shortcuts

Following are the examples of Application Keyboard Shortcuts:

? : Open keyboard shortcut help

h : Search help center (no longer works)

a : Open account panel (no longer works)

s or / : Search reports (no longer works)

<shift> + d : Go to the default dashboard of the current view

m : Toggle the navigation menu (no longer works)

Date range keyboard shortcuts

All date range keyboard shortcuts are key combinations.

A key combination is the use of two or more keys on a keyboard either at the same time or one after the other. 

In case of date range keyboard shortcuts, press one key after the other.

Following are the examples of Date Range Keyboard Shortcuts:

d t : Set date range to today

d y : Set date range to yesterday

d w : Set date range to last week

d m : Set date range to last month (no longer works)

d 7 : Set date range to last 7 days

d 3 0 : Set date range to last 30 days

d c : Toggle date comparison mode (previous period)

d x : Toggle date comparison mode (previous year)

Open several Google Analytics reports at once

I have access to dozens of users’ accounts and hundreds of website views in my GA account and accessing them every day, used to be quite frustrating.

Follow the steps below in order to open several Google Analytics reports at once.

Step-1: Open Google Chrome browser and then right click on the bookmark toolbar.

Step-2: Click on ‘Add Folder’ option:

add folder

Step-3: Name your new folder (say ‘Analytics’) and then click on the ‘Save’ button.

Step-4: Login to Google Analytics and navigate to your main view.

Step-5: Open the Google Analytics report you want to bookmark.

Step-6: Press CTRL + D on your keyboard to bookmark the report:

bookmark added

Step-7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each GA report you want to add to your new folder.

Step-8: Once you have added all the GA reports which you frequently access every day, right-click on the bookmark folder (located on your bookmark toolbar) and then click on ‘Open all (..) in new window‘:

open all in new window

This way, you can access all the required GA reports with just one click (provided you are already logged into GA). You can directly access any report (whether standard or custom report) and even access the dashboards with just one click.

Note: Use ALT + D + Enter (windows) to open the same GA report in a different browser tab.

How to quickly jump to any GA account, property, or view

If you have got access to several Google Analytics account and you want to quickly jump to another account, then follow the steps below:

Step-1: From within any GA report/view, click on the top drop-down menu as shown below:

drop down menu1

You will then see a dialog box like the one below:

You can now easily navigate to any GA account, property, or view.

You can also use the ‘search’ functionality to quickly find any GA account, property, or view:

search accounts

The best way to quickly navigate to your desired GA view is by marking the view as ‘Favorite‘. Click on the star icon next to the view you want to save as favorite:

mark it as favorite

Now next time when you want to quickly jump to your desired view, click on the ‘FAVORITES’ link and then your desired view:

favorites view

How to quickly access any GA report from within a reporting view

Follow the steps below:

reports 1

Step-1: Type the name of the report you want to access in the GA search box. As you type the name, you will see several reports being listed in the drop-down menu:

Step-2: Click on the desired report to access it.

How to find help articles from within a reporting view

Say you want to learn more about the ‘bounce rate’ metric.

You can do that by following the steps below:

Step-1: Type ‘bounce rate’ in the Google Analytics Search Box:

search help

Step-2: Click on the ‘bounce rate’ link under the section ‘Search Help’.

analytics help

Once you click on the link you will be automatically redirected to Google Analytics help center and shown all the help articles related to ‘bounce rate’:

How to quickly get help on a particular Google Analytics report

There are situations in which you want to understand a particular GA report for better data interpretation.

Now, instead of searching on Google or checking out the Google Analytics help center, you can get all the details about a particular report from within the reporting interface.

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to the report which you want to know more about.

Step-2: Look for the following icon at the top right-hand side (not available for all reports) and then click on it:

ga report help

You will now see a section where you can get details about this report: what this report is about, how to interpret it. You may also see a short video tutorial:

How to quickly get help on a particular metric in a GA report

In order to understand various metrics used in a report, just hover your mouse cursor over a metric and you will see a small description of the metric:

metric description

The new Google Analytics Discover

ga discover
ga discover2

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access various Google tools like:

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access various expert resources like:

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access tools which help in expanding your measurement strategy:

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access various tools meant for marketers like:

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access various tools which help in improving your data collection:

Through GA Discover report you can quickly access various tools which can help GA developers:

  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Reporting API
  • Embed API
  • Management API

The Google Analytics home page

google analytics home

The GA home page is a great ready-made dashboard provided by Google. It provides a good overview of the key aspects of your analytics data and is automatically configured based on your current tracking setup.

I almost always check the home page first before diving into other GA reports.

How to increase the viewing area of your Google Analytics reports

viewing area2

You can increase the viewing area of a GA report by clicking on the arrow button:

viewing area

If you want to revert this change then click on the arrow button again.

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Use saved reports to save customization applied to a report

If you see yourself applying a particular reporting filter, advanced segment, secondary dimension, or any other customisation to a report over and over again then create a saved report.

Through Google Analytics saved reports you can permanently save any customisation to almost any analytics report. You can save a report along with: filters, advanced segments, dimensions, and other customisation applied to it. So next time when you access the report via the ‘Saved Reports’ menu you can view the report along with your customisation.

To create a ‘Saved’ report, follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to the report you want to save and then apply the customization (filters, advanced segments, or secondary dimensions, etc) you often apply to your report.

Step-2: Now in order to save your customization, click on the ‘Save’ button at the top navigation bar and then enter the name of the new saved report:

ga save button
save report

 Step-3: You can now access your saved report under the ‘Saved Reports’ menu:

saved report google analytics

Note: You can not save every type of report in Google Analytics. For example, you can not save the ‘User Flow’ report.

Google Analytics date range shortcuts

You can type the start and end date while selecting a date range for your GA report:

typing dates in ga

This way, you can select the date range, especially a long one, much faster. However, make sure that you type the date in the following format:

month day, year

The ‘month‘ should be made up of three characters which represent a month. For example: Jan

The ‘day‘ should be made up of one or two digits which can be any number from 1 to 31 and which represents a particular day of a month.

The ‘year‘ should be made up of four digits which represents a year. For example: 2017.

First, type the ‘start date’ then press the ‘Tab’ key and then type the ‘end date’.

A quick way to select a whole month is by clicking on the month name in the date selector:

click on month name

So if you click on the month name say ‘September 2017, GA will select the entire month automatically.

Use REGEX to quickly filter data within the reporting interface

Let us suppose you want to filter out all those referrals which are in the form of IP address.  Now how you will do that?  You need to use regular expressions within the reporting interface like the one below:

traffic from ips

Love it or hate it, REGEX (or regular expressions) is the way to quickly filter out any data in GA reports.

You can filter the data without REGEX too but it is going to be very time consuming (and sometimes impractical).

I find REGEX so useful that I had to write Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Regex (Regular Expressions) Guide. Check out this article, to know all about REGEX.

Following are examples of REGEX you may find useful and handy while filtering data from within the reporting interface:

1Filter 1 word keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){0}$
2Filter 2 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){1}$
3Filter 3 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){2}$
4Filter 4 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){3}$
5Filter 5 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){4}$
6Filter 6 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){5}$
7Filter 7 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){6}$
8Filter 8 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){7}$
9Filter 9 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){8}$
10Filter 10 words keyword phrase^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){9}$
11Include/exclude branded keywords(v?irgin ?atlantic)|virgin|atlantic 


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

12Include/exclude Social Media Traffic(facebook|twitter|stumbleupon|linkedin|t\.co|goo\.gl|plus\.google)\.com

How to quickly remove advanced segments in Google Analytics

The fastest way to remove an advanced segment is by clicking on it and then dragging it away from the advanced segment bar:

click and drag segment
removing mutiple segments

If you want to remove multiple advanced segments at the same time then click on any one advanced segment on the segment bar and then uncheck the segments you want to remove:

Use custom reports to quickly access the desired data

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

The Standard Reports provided by GA, may not always show you, what you want to see, in your reports. You may have to do a lot of tweaking/customisation 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 traffic source which has the highest goal conversion volume.

Check the Google Analytics custom report help guide to learn more about custom reports in Google Analytics.

Note: Just like standard reports, you can also save custom reports in GA.

Google Analytics Tools to boost your productivity

#1 Analytics Canvas – paid tool for GA report automation.
#2 GA Checker – a tool to crawl a website to find missing Google Analytics tracking code, GTM code, etc.
#3 GAConfig – a tool to quickly generate event tracking code.

#4 Google Analytics Account Setup Checklist – an interactive tool for configuring your Google Analytics account.
#5 Google Analytics Solutions Gallery – a tool to import ready-made dashboards, custom reports, and advanced segments into Google Analytics.
#6 Google Analytics Training Resources Tutorials – quickly access various resources and tutorials on GA.

Note: To get the complete list of web analytics tools, check out the Optimize Smart Web Analytics Tool Box

Use Google Analytics APIs for fast information retrieval

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

Otherwise, you may find yourself spending the majority of your time creating and downloading reports through the Google Analytics interface instead of carrying out any meaningful analysis.

Another advantage of using Google 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 got limitations when it comes to information retrieval but Analytics APIs have got (almost) none.

Google Analytics provides two types of APIs:

  1. Management API
  2. Core Reporting API

The management API provides read-only access to the Google Analytics configuration data like information related to analytics account and views. It does not provide access to the actual report data (data collected by Google Analytics via the tracking code).

You would need to use the core reporting API to access the report data.

API articles for further reading:

Other web analytics tools

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