The structure and layout of your Google Data Studio dashboards are massively important aspects of data visualisation, as these provide the framework for users to navigate your reports. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, every dashboard is a unique case, but some recent updates to the platform provide even more tools in your arsenal when it comes to finding the right navigation layout for you. We’ve created a handy guide to take you through all the options for designing the most efficient navigation bar for your data studio reports.
Want to keep up to date with all the latest offerings from Google Data Studio? check out our 5 of the Best New Features in Google Data Studio blog for some new and exciting features for you to try!
Adding Pages to Your Dashboard
A common pitfall of creating dashboards is overloading the page with information. You might be looking to create a one-stop-shop for your reporting, but throwing everything onto a single page may lead to more problems than improved efficiency. Splitting your dashboard into multiple pages or sections can help to create a logical flow for the user, keeping each page straightforward and to the point, ultimately making the dashboard more accessible and streamlining the process of forming observations and conducting analysis. It can even help to boost report performance and speed!
To add pages to a report, simply click on the Add Page button in the top left corner of the interface. Don’t forget to make sure you’re in Edit Mode, or you won’t be able to make changes to the dashboard. You can also click on the Page menu in the toolbar, and select New Page or Duplicate Page.
If you’re working on a dashboard that already has more than one page, you’ll also have the option of using the Report Pages Menu. This is the new feature that significantly expands the options for how you want to present your pages in a report.
New Features in the Report Pages Menu
In months and years gone by, this would be the end of this guide, as there was nothing more to creating pages than adding a new page and potentially renaming it. *Cue dramatic voice* – Until now.
You’ll now notice that when you have multiple pages in a dashboard, you can no longer click on the Add A Page button seen above, but rather a Report Pages Menu opens on the right hand side of the interface, just as you’d normally see the component menu, reporting settings, or theme and layout options. Here, you’ll see a list of pages on your dashboard, and a colourful “+” button below. If you click on this button, you’ll add a new page to the list, but if you hover your cursor over the button, you’ll uncover further options; Add A Section, Divider, or Header.
How To Create Sections in Data Studio Navigation Bar
The addition of Sections is a brilliant option for managing the structure of your reports, particularly for reports with numerous pages or clearly defined categories. You could even neatly host multi-page reports for distinct websites, domains, or even different attribution models on the same dashboard using this feature.
When you click on the Section option, you’ll see a new section appear in your page list. You can then drag existing pages into the section or add new pages within any given section. In this example, we’ve created a section of Google Analytics data, a section for Online Campaign reports, and a standalone page for commentary and insights.
There are limits to the number of Sections you can use however. This may sound a bit like something from Inception, but bear with us: A max of three levels are supported, meaning that you can have another section within a top level section, but you can’t drilldown further than this. The official documentation for Data Studio has a good illustration of this, even if it’s lacking a distinctive Di Caprio factor.
Adding Dividers and Headers
We’ve covered Pages and Sections, so that leaves Dividers and Headers. You can add these in the same way as you would create a new page or section, as well as the ability to drag them into place in your page list as expected. Dividers offer a simple visual break between different pages or sections, while Headers allow you to include notes or descriptions to the end user. You can hover over the Header while in View Mode to uncover the rest of the text.
Note: Headers will only appear when using the Left or Top Left navigation layouts, and won’t show if you’re using the tab-style navigation layout. You can change the navigation layout by clicking on Theme and Layout in your toolbar, and adjusting this in the menu, under Navigation Type.
Adding Page Icons
There is one final recently added feature found within the Report Pages Menu that we’re yet to cover: Page Icons! You can now include icons next to page titles to help improve the overall visuals of your dashboard, as well as making the dashboard even more accessible to users.
To add Page Icons, hover over a page or section on the Report Pages Menu and you’ll see an option button on the right-hand side. Ever wondered how to rename a Data Studio page? This opens a further drop-down menu with options to Rename, Hide, Move, and Select Icon. Once you click on Select Icon, you’ll be presented with the range of icons available. Simply click on your desired icon, and apply. If you’re stuck for ideas, try using the search bar or category drop-down menu to help find the most relevant icons.
Improvements to Page Navigation Options
The additional features added to Google Data Studio’s page management and navigation capabilities are yet another way of helping you to create effective and efficient data dashboards. Don’t discount the impact of structuring your page layout and making your reports more accessible to all those who use them. As we always say, the more streamlined you can make your dashboard experience, the more time can be spent on really important stuff like analysis and decision making.
Please feel free to ask a question or leave a comment below, or contact us at email@example.com. You can also follow us on @GlowMetrics or subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and news within the world of Digital Analytics and Marketing.
Need more help with building reports and understanding the navigation options in Google Data Studio? We are experts in using Google Data Studio to create fully customised, visually-themed reports which automatically update your data in real-time. Find out more about how our team of Data Studio experts can help you to define your KPIs and create a bespoke Data Studio report for your reporting requirements.