Calculated Fields in Google Data Studio – Tutorial

What is a calculated field?

A calculated field is a field that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your data source or chart via a formula.

These actions could be:

  • Arithmetic and math operations
  • Manipulating text, date and geographic information
  • Using branching logic to evaluate data

Through calculated fields, you can create new metrics and dimensions from your derived data.

Types of calculated fields

Calculated fields can be further categorized into:

  1. Data source specific calculated field – It is the calculated field created in a data source. When you create a calculated field in a data source, the calculated field is available in any report that uses that data source. However, you can’t use a data source specific calculated field with blended data.
  2. Chart specific (or chart level) calculated field – It is the calculated field created in a specific chart in a report. When you create a calculated field in a chart, the calculated field is available only in the chart in which you create it. However, you can use a chart specific calculated field with blended data.

Note: When using a chart specific calculated field, you can not reference other chart-specific calculated fields in your formula, even if those fields are defined in the same chart. If you want to reference other calculated fields, use a data source calculated field.

Types of data source specific calculated fields

Data source specific calculated field can be further categorized into:

  1. Data source specific calculated dimension – It is a dimension that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your data source via a formula. 
  2. Data source specific calculated metric – It is a metric that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your data source via a formula. 

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Types of chart specific calculated fields

Chart specific calculated field can be further categorized into:

  1. Chart specific calculated dimension – It is a dimension that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your chart via a formula. 
  2. Chart specific calculated metric – It is a metric that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your chart via a formula. 

How to identify calculated fields

All calculated dimensions appear in the data source editor with an ‘fx’ symbol:

All calculated metrics appear in the data source editor with an ‘fx’ symbol:

How to identify calculated fields in the report editor

It is not easy to identify calculated fields (whether calculated dimension or calculated metrics) in a report editor as they do not appear with an ‘fx’ symbol:

If the calculated field is created in a data source then you can not easily identify it in the report editor. 

But if the calculated field is created in a specific chart then you can identify it by hovering your mouse over the edit section of the field:

Calculated field data types

The data type assigned to a calculated field depends upon the type of action(s) it performs on another field(s) in your data source or chart.

If your calculated field performs an arithmetic operation on another field(s) then it returns data of type ‘number’. So the data type assigned to the calculated field would be ‘Number’. 

Similarly, if your calculated field performs text operation on another field(s) then it returns data of type ‘text’.  So the data type assigned to the calculated field would be ‘text’.

However, this is not always the case and sometimes you may need to manually change the data type of the calculated field.

Note: You can change the data type of your calculated fields using the ‘Type’ drop-down menu in the data source editor:

Creating and using calculated fields in Google Data Studio

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