Google Data Studio Time Series & Area Charts

By Zekeriya Mulbay
Table of contents

A time-series graph (times series chart) is a data visualization tool that illustrates values at successive intervals of time. Each data point on the graph corresponds to both a time and a quantity that is being measured.

Area Charts are variations of time series charts.

What are time series charts?

A time-series chart helps you understand how your data changes over a period of time. For example, you can display the count of website sessions daily over the course of a week, or your company's profit margin quarter by quarter for the last 4 years.

The Users metric below shows how many people are visiting your website. It shows their locations with different lines and fades of grey.

How to add a time series chart?

Here you can see how to add a time series chart to your report. Also take a close look at how to add a breakdown dimension for countries.

Chart Settings

Click on the chart, afterwards on the right, use the properties panel to change the chart options.

Data Tab

This tab shows settings related to the data source.

  • Data source: A data source lets you to connect to the data set you want to use. Data source options are: change the data source, view/edit the data source, add a blended data source.
  • Dimension: Dimensions are categories for your data, and dimension values are a name, description or other characteristic of a category. You can choose dimensions either directly from the available fields or by clicking the "Add Dimension" link. Dimensions may differ according to cart types. For example geo charts's dimensions will be only locations.
  • Drill down: This option appears if the chart support it. Drilling down gives viewers a way to reveal additional levels of detail. When you turn on Drill down, ****each dimension you add becomes another level of detail you can see. Here is an example how drill down works;
  • Breakdown dimension: The Breakdown dimension is a way to see how the data in a chart is broken down by a selected dimension. Here is an example; Age is the main dimension and gender is the breakdown dimension.
  • Date range dimension: This option appears if your data source has a valid date dimension. For Google Ads and Analytics data sources, this option is automatically set to the Date dimension. With this, you can set a date range property for this chart, or if a viewer of the report uses a date range control to limit the time frame.
  • Metric: Metrics are used to measure the contents of dimensions and provide the chart with a numeric scale and data series. Drag fields from the Available Fields tab on the right onto the chart to add measurements. You can also click Add metric in the Data tab.
  • Optional metrics allows you to select more than 1 metric and viewer will able to change them.
  • Metric Slider given the viewer an option to filter desired metric value to view. For example, you can limit the chart to only show Average Orders where the total value is between $100 and $200. (not all charts offer this option)

💡 At least 1 metric is required. You can have up to 20 metrics in a single-dimensional graphic. One metric can be used for charts with two dimensions.

  • Setting the default sort: The Sort and Secondary sort options control the default sorting behaviour. You can select any metric in the chart's data source, or any dimension currently displayed in the chart, to use as the primary or secondary sorting field. The Secondary sort option only appears when there is an appropriate combination of dimensions and metrics in the chart.
  • Default date range: This lets you set the timeframe for an individual chart*.* When this is changed, this specific chart's date range overrides the date range of the page. Default date range options: Auto: Applies the date frame of the dashboard if there is a data selector. If not, then tries to include all data. Custom: This Lets you use the calendar widget to select a custom date range for the chart.
  • Date compare type: Displays comparison data for the selected time period.
  • Filter: Filter help filter the raw data which is coming from the data source. It might be helpful when you want to include specific values or exclude some. For example, you might want to exclude ad campaigns with zero impressions.
  • Google Analytics segment: This option appears for charts based on a Universal Analytics data source. A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. You can apply segments to your Data Studio charts to help ensure that your Data Studio and Google Analytics reports show the same data.
  • Interactions: When interactions are enabled on a chart, that chart acts as a filter control. Here is an example, on this dashboard, the campaign table has the interactions option activated. So viewers can click on any row and top metrics represent metrics of this selected row.

Style tab

A chart's style properties control the overall presentation and appearance of the chart.

  • Colour by: Here you can change colour settings.
  • Missing Data: This option is visible when your dimension has a missing data. There are 3 options: line to zero, line breaks, linear interpolation (Google Data Studio connects 2 points before and after the missing point)
  • Series: This section repeats for each metric displayed in the chart.
  • Line or Bars: Displays the data points for this series as a line or bar.
  • Line weight: Determines the thickness of the line series.
  • Series colour: Sets the colour for the series line or bar.
  • Cumulative: When checked, data for this series is summed over time. Otherwise, the data is shown with no additional aggregation.
  • Show points: Displays individual data points on a line series. Viewers can mouse over a data point to display its value.
  • Show data labels: Displays individual values on for the data points in the series.
  • Compact Numbers: (Turn on Show data labels to see this option) Rounds numbers and displays the unit indicator. E.g., 553,939 becomes 553.9K.
  • Decimal Precision: (Turn on Show data labels to see this option) This changes the number of decimal places in metric values.
  • Trendline: Adds an additional line to show the trend in the change of metric values. A linear trendline is the straight line that most closely approximates the data in the chart. If your data is best explained by an exponential of the form eax+b, you can use an exponential trendline to show the direction of your data. A polynomial trendline displays data directionality as a curved line. It can be useful for analyzing large, highly variable data series.
  • Legend: None: No legend appears, Right: Legend appears on the right, Bottom: Legend appears on the bottom, Top: Legend appears on the top.
  • Alignment: Sets the alignment of the legend relative to the selected position.
  • Max lines Sets the number of lines used by the legend. If the number of series requires more lines, overflow items can be displayed by clicking the < and > arrows.
  • Axes: These options control the display of the chart axes titles and scales. A right Y-axis section appears when you have more than 1 metric in your chart,
  • Show axes: Shows or hides the chart axes.
  • Reverse Y-Axis direction: Controls the vertical display of the Y-axis.
  • Reverse X-Axis direction: Controls the horizontal display of the X-axis.
  • Show axis title: Shows or hides the axis labels.
  • Axis min and max: Set minimum and maximum values for the Y-axes.
  • Custom tick interval: Controls the interval between axis ticks.
  • Log scale: Makes the Y-axis scale logarithmic.
  • Grid: These options control the look of the chart grid.
  • Axis colour: Sets the colour of the x-axis line.
  • Grid colour: Sets the colour of the grid lines.
  • Chart Background: Sets the colour of the chart background.
  • Chart border colour: Sets the colour of the inner chart border.
  • Background and border: These options control the appearance of the chart background container.
  • Background: Sets the chart background colour.
  • Border Radius: Adds rounded borders to the chart background. When the radius is 0, the background shape has 90° corners. A border radius of 100° produces a circular shape.
  • Opacity: Sets the chart's opacity. 100% opacity completely hides objects behind the chart. 0% opacity makes the chart invisible.
  • Border Color: Sets the chart border colour.
  • Border Weight: Sets the chart border line thickness.
  • Border Style: Sets the chart borderline style.
  • Add border shadow: Adds a shadow to the chart lower and right borders.

Spread the word

Keep reading