Sharing Reports and Dashboards in Google Data Studio

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Written by Conor Ross

Conor is a Digital Analytics Specialist, having previously studied Psychology and an MSc in Research Methods at the University of Dundee, followed by a Marketing MSc at Queen’s University Belfast. He works particularly closely with the Google Data Studio and Google Optimise platforms.
April 16, 2021

 

Sharing Reports and Dashboards in Google Data Studio

 

One of the great things about Data Studio is how easy it is to share your creations, data visualisations, and reports with others, making it a brilliant way to efficiently present data, whether that’s to colleagues, clients, or the world. Let’s take a quick look at the current sharing options available in Data Studio, before highlighting a recently added feature that may be overlooked. At first it might look like there aren’t many options, but it’s important to distinguish between these sharing methods and explore what they mean for access to your report.

 

Invitation Only – Require Log-In

Your dashboard might be exclusively invite-only, like the fanciest events, and that’s okay. You can add specific e-mails and accounts to the user list. This is the most secure option when it comes to sharing your dashboards, as it requires a Google Account and a log-in to access the dashboard.

You can also set access permissions here, with three main settings: Is the Owner, Can Edit, and Can View. These have varying levels of access, but they’re quite self-explanatory. There are also some further options if you’re the owner, allowing you to prevent editors from changing access levels and adding users themselves, as well as preventing viewers from downloading or copying your dashboard, which brings us nicely onto our next sharing method…

 

Download Dashboard as a PDF

You can download your dashboard as a PDF, whether you want to export the whole report or just select pages. The downside to this is that you lose any interactivity you’ve set up in your dashboard, but it’s ideal for keeping backups, particularly if you need to present your dashboard and the Data Studio server is on a slow day. There are also built-in options to password protect the PDF and include a link back to the full dashboard. One thing to remember when exporting your dashboard as a PDF is that it will be exported with any filters and selections you’ve applied to the report.

 

Embed Report

If you decide to enable embedded, you can host your dashboard on a webpage. You can see an example of this on our Data Visualisation Showcase on the Rugby World Cup. You can embed a report using a code snippet that adds an IFrame to your page, or an Embed URL.

 

Schedule Email Delivery

You can schedule email delivery for your dashboard, sending it out to a list of recipients. You can customise which pages of your report to share, and if you want to set this as a regular occurrence then there are plenty of options to do so. This is ideal if you have regular meetings to discuss your data and statistics, and great for keeping people up to speed.

 

Link Sharing

This the most accessible way to share your dashboard, simply providing you with a generated link that you can send to others. There are still a number of options here that you should be aware of, with varying levels of security:

 

  • Anyone on the Internet can find and view

    • Perfect for dashboards and visualisations you want to share with the world, and another perfect opportunity to use our Six Nations Rugby Dashboard as an example: https://datastudio.google.com/s/sKp37_kTIBA. Is it obvious that we like pairing data visualisations with sporting statistics? You can also find dashboards with this option by searching online.
  • Anyone on the Internet can find and edit

    • Something of a terrifying prospect… we’ve never been quite sure why this one exists, answers on a postcard please! Maybe this is best suited to a social experiment.
  • Anyone with the link can view

    • This is probably the most common method of sharing dashboards, offering the security of a generated URL but not requiring users to log-in. It’s efficient, and it’s relatively secure. This is great for dashboards with a large number of users.
  • Anyone with the link can edit

    • Very similar to the above, but with the option of allowing anyone in possession of the URL to edit the report. Again, we probably wouldn’t recommend this out of protection of your dashboard, but it’s a quick way of sharing edit access. Don’t forget if anyone were to make inappropriate changes or break your dashboard, you can always use the Version History to revert.
  • Anyone in your organisation with the link can view

    • This is something of an in-between option, that’s brilliant for sharing with colleagues. You can share the generated URL, but the user must be logged in to an organisation account ([email protected], for example). This saves the owner time as they don’t need to add specific accounts and manage these users.
  • Anyone in your organisation with the link can edit

    • You know the drill by now, but this is the same as the above but allows all these users to edit the dashboard as well. Perfect for collaborative dashboards and reports within your organisation or company.
  • Link Sharing: Off – Only specific people can access

    • This is the setting you’ll use if you want to restrict access to invitation-only, as we discussed earlier.

As you can see, there are a lot of link sharing options, with some important distinctions between them. This may seem like a lot, but every dashboard is different, and every use case unique. There are many instances in which we’ve made use of the majority of these options, excluding “Anyone on the Internet can find and edit”, of course.

 

Sharing Your Current Report View

 

The sharing options in Data Studio haven’t changed much over the last couple of years, until a small update has quietly added a much-requested feature: Sharing Your Current Report View. This means any filters, date ranges, and other selections you’ve applied to your dashboard can be carried over as you share it. This is really handy if you’re looking to highlight specific points of interest and datasets to whoever the lucky recipient is. We’ve seen that this is somewhat possible when downloading your report as a PDF, but this maintains the interactive and dynamic nature of your data dashboard.

To share your report with your current settings, simply click the drop-down menu next to the Share button, just as you would for any of the previous options and click Get Report Link. This generates a short URL that you can share with others, similar to the other link sharing methods. However, you’ll see a tick box available that allows you to “Link to your current report view”.

 

Option to Generate a Link to a Report in Google Data Studio

Generating a report link for your current view in Google Data Studio

 

With this ticked, the link provided will share the dashboard with your date range controls, filter controls, and other selections, all applied. If this box is unticked, you’ll share the dashboard in its default state. A small tick box that may not be immediately apparent, but a gamechanger for sharing your dashboards!

Bonus Tip :- Data Studio has recently added a Reset button to the interface, which you’ll see next to the Share button while in View mode. This resets all your applied filters, date ranges, and other selections, across the entire report. Previously, this had to be done on a widget by widget basis, or by refreshing the page. Another small feature that may be overlooked, but an important quality of life update towards improving the user experience on Data Studio.

 

There is a vast array of methods when it comes to sharing your creations in Google Data Studio, but as we can see there are some subtle notable distinctions to be aware of before you begin distributing your visualisations. The new options to link to your current report view are a welcome addition that further boost your options for report sharing, and the latest in a long line of worthwhile updates to the platform.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below or contact us at [email protected].  For more on data visualisation and Google Data Studio, you can check out other Data Studio articles on the GlowMetrics blog or follow us on @GlowMetrics for more tips, guides, and up to date news in the world of Digital Analytics and Marketing.

 

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