Google Whisperer’s Guide to Data Studio Controls

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Google Whisperer’s Guide to Data Studio Controls

One of the great features of Data Studio is the ability to interact with reports using real-time data. Gone are days of pages and pages of PDFs for a monthly report. The controls in a report allow you to select different dates or channels for comparison. A few weeks ago, Google released a huge update to the controls they offer by default in Data Studio. With three new controls available, I’ve created the Google Whisperer’s Guide to Data Studio Controls.

Google Data Studio’s first two controls are the date range control and data control. Date range control allows you to pick a certain date or date range and all the metrics on your report will update. Data control will allow you to switch between different accounts. Data control saves a lot of time if you are switching between different UA properties . The new & updated controls are: drop-down list, fixed-size list, input box, advanced filter, slider and checkbox.

Drop-Down List

A drop-down list is a single dimension that allows you to select different parts to display in that report. This is a great addition if you are reporting on dimensions such as source, source/medium, country or referrals. This control will only show one metric with the dimensions, so make sure you select one that runs in parallel with the dimension, such as users or sessions. You can select more than one dimension and the report will total your selection.

Fixed Size List

The fixed size list controller is just like the drop-down, but it shows all of the options for the dimension you selected. The fixed sized list is persistent and always visible on your report. This should only be used when the groupings for the dimension are small, like channel grouping or device category.

Input Lists & Advanced Filters

The input list allows users to enter in their selection to the report filters. The most important thing about the input lists is that it’s case sensitive. You have to type the input correctly in order for it to return results. That’s great for a dimension like device category or default channel grouping. You should use this when the possible dimensions are easy to remember and type in. For more general searches, the advanced filter control is what you want to integrate into your report. The advanced filter control has the same text entry box, but it has a switch to go between equals, contains, starts with, regex or in. This is great for dimensions or metrics that have a lot of possibilities. For example, if your data studio report is looking at inventory or product pages, you could use the advanced filter to show every page that had “silverado” in the URL. Advanced filters & input lists are also great for reports using Google Search Console, Google Ads, or other keyword related data. Being able to look at metrics based on a certain keyword can help you assess if a campaign really paid off.


The new slider control is the perfect addition to any Data Studio report where you want to look at a range of metrics for a dimension. Sliders can only be used on numeric fields. If you try to add a dimension into the control, it will error out and you will have to delete it. When you adjust the slider to a certain range all of the metrics on your page will update to reflect that range.


The checkbox control is a specialized control only useful in specific scenarios. The checkbox control applies only to boolean data types. That is when data can only have two possible values, usually true and false. For most Data Studio users, you won’t use this control. If you had custom dimensions passed into Google Analytics, this filter may be able to be applied.  

If you want to see any of these controls in action, check out the sample report here with all the controls. The potential of these new controls is limitless but that is not the only update Google has released recently. They also released new parameters for Google Data Studio, and my new guide will be tackling how to build your first parameter in Google Data Studio. In the meantime, if you are a dealer with Google Analytics questions, reach out to the Whisperer today!


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