6 Simple Steps to Get Your Data Ready for Looker Studio

Title screen for getting data ready for looker studio.

Why is Looker Studio so frustrating to get started with?

Have you ever tried to use Looker Studio but been frustrated because it didn’t work like charts and graphs in a spreadsheet?  Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel software give some options for making charts.  As long as you have your numbers and categories set up in a table, you can select that data and make a variety of charts right in the spreadsheet.

charts showing aggregate data and raw data

Calculated Data & Raw data

So, why doesn’t this work in Google Looker Studio?  Well, in spreadsheet software, charts are usually made from calculated data.  This is when data has already been summarized into a single table or data set. From there, you can select the data and choose a chart for display. 

aggregate data in a spreadsheet and a stacked bar chart of the data within Google Sheets

On the other hand, Google Looker Studio works with raw data or data that is set up like a database.  This means that for each entry, there is one row of data. Think about filling out a Google Form. If you look at the data in a spreadsheet that comes from the form, you’ll see that each entry is on its own row.  This is how the data needs to be set up for Looker Studio.

Data in raw table format connected to Looker Studio and displayed as a stacked bar chart.

6 Steps to get started

Let’s look at some other tips that will help you get started with connecting your data to Looker Studio. Preparing our spreadsheet for Looker Studio involves several steps to ensure that the data is in the correct format and is easily accessible for analysis. Follow these steps to prepare a spreadsheet for Looker Studio:

  1. Organize your data: Make sure that your data is organized in a logical and consistent manner. This will make it easier to understand and analyze the data in Looker Studio.
  2. Remove any unnecessary columns: If there are any columns in your spreadsheet that are not relevant to your analysis, remove them to avoid confusion and clutter.
  3. Check for errors: Look for any errors or inconsistencies in the data, such as blank cells or incorrect data types. Fix these errors before uploading the data to Looker Studio.
  4. Choose the right data types: Make sure that each column in your spreadsheet is using the correct data type. For example, a column containing dates should be formatted as a date, and a column containing numbers should be formatted as a number.
  5. Name your columns: Give each column a clear and concise name that accurately reflects the data it contains. This will make it easier to understand and analyze the data in Looker Studio.
  6. Connect the file to Looker Studio: Once you have prepared your spreadsheet, log in to Looker Studio and navigate to the Data section. From here, you can upload your CSV file or connect to Google Sheets and begin analyzing the data.
Graphic of six steps to get started to connect data to Looker Studio

By following these steps, you can ensure that your spreadsheet is properly prepared for Looker Studio and that your data is ready for analysis. Now, go out and make some awesome dashboards!

Do you want to try this on your own with the same data set? Grab it here.

Do you want to see my Looker Studio report with this data set? Check it out here.

If you want to know more about building dashboards in Looker Studio, check out my self-paced online courses designed specifically for educators.

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