How to set up a bar chart on Google Data Studio

By Zekeriya Mulbay
Table of contents

A bar chart uses horizontal or vertical bars to show comparisons among categories. The longer the bar, the greater the value it represents. One axis of the chart shows the specific categories being compared, and the other axis represents a discrete value.

Here are 2 bar charts from the Google Analytics data source. The base dimension for both charts is Medium. The left-hand chart uses stacked bars to show several metrics (Sessions, Users, and Exits) for medium. The right-hand chart uses a second dimension, Country ISO Code, to breakdown each medium

How to add a column or bar chart?

Click on the "Add a chart" button on the toolbar and select one of the bar charts among the "Bars" section.

You can observe an example scenario below. Please note changing the dimension and metrics as well.

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.
  • 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 gives 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.
  • 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 charts acts like a filter controls. Here is an example, on this dashboard, campaign table has the interactions option activated. So viewer 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.

Bar Chart: This section controls the overall appearance and layout of your chart. depending on the type of the bar chart, you might see different options from below.

  • Vertical: Displays the data series as vertical bars.
  • Horizontal: Displays the data series as horizontal bars.
  • Bars: Determines the number of data series shown in the chart. If the number of series selected is less than the number of series in your data, only the top N series will be shown (where N equals the number of series you've selected).
  • Series: Determines the number of secondary dimension series shown in the chart. If the number of series selected is less than the number of series in your data, only the top N series will be shown (where N equals the number of series you've selected).
  • Stacked Bars: When checked, the chart displays stacked bars. Otherwise, the chart displays grouped bars.
  • 100% Stacking: When checked, stacked charts show the contribution of each data series to 100% of the total value.
  • Show Data Labels: When checked, displays the value for each series in the chart.
  • 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.

Reference lines: This lets you compare your data to reference data. For example, you can use reference lines to visualize daily sales against a target sales figure.

Color by: Here you can change color settings.

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 color: Sets the color of the x-axis line.
  • Grid color: Sets the color of the grid lines.
  • Chart background: Sets the color of the chart background.
  • Chart border colour: Sets the color 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.

Chart Header: The chart header lets viewers perform various actions on the chart, such as exporting the data, drilling up or down, and viewing the chart in the Explorer tool. You can choose a show on hover - which is the default, always show and do not show.

Spread the word

Keep reading