Google announced 3 important upgrades to Data Studio on Friday, March 7, 2019. After taking a closer look, I wanted to share some quick impressions.

Scheduled Email Delivery

Scheduled Email Delivery – one of the most frequently requested features for Data Studio, this new capability enables reports to be scheduled and delivered automatically.

Benefits

  • Reports can now be delivered directly into your inbox
  • Designed to provide reports for executives and teams that require a stand-alone PDF for presentation and reference on a scheduled basis, such as executives who need one report to present at their monthly meetings with the C-suite

Features

  • Email Features
    • First-page preview of the dashboard
    • PDF version of complete dashboard attached
  • Flexible scheduling and distribution
    • Report owner automatically receives a copy
    • Add recipients to the distribution list
    • Set day and time for distribution to start
    • Set the frequency of ongoing distribution
      • Daily
      • Weekly on Friday
      • Monthly on the 1st Day

The Down Low

  • One size fits all report – The attached PDF version of the report will be set to ALL of the default settings of your report. e.g. Filters, Date Ranges, etc. This means that one default version is emailed to all users and not customizable at the user level.
    In addition, the document name of the PDF cannot be customized.
  • Same time, same channel – Currently, a report can only have one email schedule. Right now there are only the 3 frequency options – daily, weekly, monthly
  • The report looks like it comes right from Google – The email’s “From:” address is Google Data Studio < data-studio-noreply@google.com >. This can’t be changed.

Version History in Data Studio

Ever been working in a Data Studio report and made some unintended changes and wish you could just revert back to an earlier version? We’re in luck as Version History is finally available in Data Studio!

What’s even more amazing is that you can also revert changes in a Data Source, which could really come in handy for those times you accidentally make a mess of a complicated custom calculation.

Benefits

  • Revert your report back to an earlier version.
  • Revert your data source back to an earlier version.
  • View earlier versions of a report without having to actually change the version (helpful for looking at progress or transformation of a report).
  • Undo a version restoration.

The Down Low

  • Version History starts on February 15th, 2019 – You will not be able to restore versions prior to this date.
  • Version Storage Space – As of this posting there aren’t any details to how many versions (or even how often) but it appears to save versions each time you revisit a report and make edits. The Data Studio documentation does state that “The revisions for your reports or data sources may occasionally be merged to save storage space.“.
  • Some of the Limitations
    • Must have edit permission on the Report/Source in order to see version history.
    • Version history is not preserved when making copies of a report.
    • Restoring a report does not affect the underlying data source. If you are having a data source issue you need to look into restoring the underlying data source.
    • Does not affect sharing credentials.

Custom Rolling Date Ranges

One of the updates I’m most excited about is being able to finally control custom rolling date ranges, or in other words Last N Days/Weeks/Months etc. This is by far one of the most requested features for Data Studio and now your reports can benefit from custom date ranges.

Benefits

  • Custom Rolling Date Range
    • Last N Days
    • Last N Weeks
    • Etc.
  • Fix it to “Today”
  • Fix it to a prior date
  • Calculate on Minus N or Plus N
  • Can be altered in ‘Edit’ mode for the default date range
  • Can be altered in ‘View’ mode of the end user
  • Custom Time Frames
    • Days
    • Weeks (Start Sundays)
    • Weeks (Start Mondays)
    • Months
    • Quarters
    • Years
  • Look into the Past or Future – You’re not limited to only looking at subtracting days from a date, but can also set a time frame to be “Plus” as well. This could be useful for comparing a specific range to ‘new dates’ as the date rolls forward.
  • Flexible Start and End Dates – The Start and End Date are flexible for custom time periods.

The Down Low

Actually, I think this is a great feature. If there’s one thing I’d like to see is an improvement of the UI. Right now it’s a bit awkward and the functionality is not completely obvious.

Find out more or share your experience
You can contact me directly – mike@e-nor.com

About the Author

Mike Anderson
Data Visualization & Reporting Architect
Mike has a passion for all things data and data visualization, utilizing his BA in Arts and Technology from the University of Texas at Dallas. With certifications in Tableau and Data Studio, he strives to deliver powerful data visualizations that drive impactful business decisions. When not designing dashboards, he enjoys geeking out and enjoying all things technology has to offer.