Google Data Studio Date Format for Google Sheets – Tutorial

Last Updated: August 19, 2022

Before you upload data from Google Sheets to Google Data Studio, you need to make sure two things:

  • You pulled data correctly into Google Sheets. 
  • The data you pulled into Google Sheets is in the correct format.

Because this is going to affect your data visualization and data analysis in Data Studio. If you feed garbage to Data Studio, you will get garbage. Garbage in, garbage out.

Example of an incorrectly formatted data table in Google Sheets

Following is an example of an incorrectly formatted data table in Google Sheets:

Table

The data table is not formatted correctly because of the following reasons:

#1 The date in Google Sheets is not compatible with Google Data Studio date format 

For example, the field ‘Order Date’ is not of type ‘date’. And some of the dates are not even valid (for example, 27/1/2021).

That is because the American date format begins with the month and ends with the year (MM/DD/YYYY)

In most of the world (including the UK), the day is written first and the year last (DD/MM/YYYY). 

So, you must ensure that all your dates begin with the month and end with the year (MM/DD/YYYY)

date in format

For Google Data Studio, you should consider formatting your dates in the (YYYY-MM-DD) format. So the year is written first and the day last. Though it is not compulsory, it is good practice.

How to format dates for Google Data Studio

Step-1: Select all of your dates data (in the American format):

select data

Step-2: Navigate to Format Menu > Number > More Formats > Custom Date and Time:

format date

Step-3: Select the year-month-day format from the available options in the list and then click on the ‘Apply’ button:

Apply

As soon as you click on the ‘Apply’ button, all of your dates will automatically be converted into this new format which Google Data Studio understand:

new date format

The correct way to format your data fields is by selecting all the data in your field and making sure it is of the correct data type from the ‘Format’ menu.

#2 The data in Google Sheets is not using the correct data types 

For example:

2.1 Number data should be of type ‘number’

‘Transaction ID’ is a number, and its data type should be ‘number’. To change it, you can navigate to Format Menu > Number > Number.

number format

2.2 Text data should be of type ‘Plain text’

Customer Name is text, and its data type should be ‘Plain text’. You can navigate to Format Menu > Number> Plain text to change it.

plain

2.3 Currency data should be of the type ‘currency’ 

For example, if your currency is US dollars, then all currency data should be displayed in US dollars (and not as numbers):

currency

#3 There is an empty row at the very top and in the middle of the data table

empty rows

If the Google Sheet contains empty rows, it could create miscalculations in many of the formulas.

It can also lead to a null value or empty space in the Data Studio graphs if the selected cell comes under the range of the graph. Now imagine a scenario where you have a bar graph for each row and multiple empty spaces in the graph. You won’t be able to get complete information, and hence empty rows must be deleted.

Another major drawback of having the top row empty is that Google Data Studio considers the first row as a header; if it is empty, it will not add the data source.

#4 The data table has got an empty column

empty coumns

There should not be empty columns in the Google Sheet. It can lead to an empty space in the graphs in Google Data Studio.

#5 The data table contains totals

total

There should not be subtotals or grand-totals in your data table. This can be considered an additional row and inflate the overall calculation in Data Studio reports.

#6 The column headers are missing

missing headers

Note: Each column must have a header, and these headers must be meaningful, unique and self-explanatory. If the headers are empty, the data will not be added to the data source, and you won’t be able to add a chart or table to the Data Studio report.

Example of a correctly formatted data table in Google Sheets

Following is an example of a correctly formatted data table in Google Sheets:

final image

Best practices to follow while working on Google Sheets and Google Data Studio

  1. Make sure your data table starts from cell A1, right in the top upper left corner.
  2. Don’t add extraneous data in the same worksheet, like adding notes or other tables, charts, etc. 
  3. Each dimension and metric should be mentioned with proper headers.
  4. A data type should be defined for each column based on its type.
  5. There should not be any empty rows or columns.
  6. There should not be any total, grand total, or summary rows.

Once you follow these best practices, you will not get any issues while creating the Data Studio reports.

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  9. How to extract data from Google Analytics into Google Sheets
  10. Learn to export Facebook ads data to Google Sheets
  11. Understanding Aggregation in Google Sheets

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