Data Source Fields in Google Data Studio – Tutorial

A data source is made up of a set of fields called data source fieldsYou see these fields when you create and configure your data source in Google Data Studio:

Connectors provide fields from a data set to a data source. 

Some connectors (like the Google Sheets connector) provide all the fields from a data set to a data source. Other connectors (e.g. Google Analytics connector, Google Ads connector, etc) provide only a subset of the fields from the data set to the data source.

Only the fields provided by the connector are the ones, available to use in your reports.

Types of data source fields

There are two broad categories of data source fields: 

  1. Regular field – a data source field that doesn’t perform some action(s) on another field(s) in your data source.  
  2. Calculated field – a data source field that performs some action(s) on another field(s) in your data source or chart via a formula.

Regular fields can be further categorized into:

  1.  Regular dimension – It is the attribute of visitors to your website. It is used to describe or categorize your data.
  2. Regular metric – It is a number that is used to measure one of the characteristics of a dimension.

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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.

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. 

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. 

Introduction to fields data types

The data type of a data source field determines the kind of data to expect (in the specified data set) when processing the field. 

For example, when the data type of a field is ‘Number’ it tells Data Studio to expect a number when processing the field:

When the data type of a field is ‘Currency (US – Dollars) it tells Data Studio to expect currency data in US dollars when processing the field:

Similarly, when the data type of a field is ‘Text’ it tells Data Studio to expect text data when processing the field:

The data type determines which operations are allowed and not allowed on a data source field.

For example, you can’t apply an arithmetic function to a ‘Text’ field or use a ‘Number’ field as the date range dimension in a report.

If you want to change the data type of a field then just click on the drop-down menu next to a data type.

Note: Changing the field type can have a considerable impact on how you see your data in reports.

Google Data Studio supports the following data types:

  • Numeric
  • Text
  • Date and Time
  • Boolean
  • Geo
  • Currency
  • URL
   

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