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How to Customize Looker Studio Reports

Last Modified on December 22, 2023

Looking for ways to customize Looker Studio reports?

Looker Studio offers extensive customization options to make your dashboards unique, from changing chart colors to creating custom dimensions.

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Instead of going through each option individually, we’ll take a more hands-on approach by building a dashboard together, focusing on essential customization features.

Here is an overview of what we’ll cover:

Let’s dive in!

Customize Looker Studio Reports

Here is a sneak peek of the dashboard we’ll create:

Example dashboard

You can either sit back and read through this tutorial or follow along as we rebuild this dashboard.

Let’s start by creating a Blank Report.

Creating a blank report in Looker Studio

For this demonstration, we stored our dataset in Google Sheets. Take note of the spreadsheet and worksheet names.

Sample dataset from Google Sheets

Select the Google Sheets connector.

Using the Google Sheets connector in Looker Studio

Next, select the correct spreadsheet and worksheet. Then, click Add.

Adding data stored in a Google Sheets worksheet to the report

Finally, click Add to Report.

Confirming the addition of Google Sheets data

We are now in the Report Editor and ready to get started.

First, get rid of the table occupying the report by default.

Removing the default table

Next, provide a name for the report.

Providing a name for the report

Great! Now, what we’ll do first is rebuild our banner.

To start, let’s insert a rectangle. Click and drag over the top of the canvas. Next, let’s change the background color. Then, use a custom color by clicking +.

Adding a rectangle and changing the background color

Use the #1f1755 hex code for the custom color, then click Done.

Selecting a custom color

Next, add the logo. Click the image icon and upload it from your computer, then place it near the top of the canvas.

Inserting a logo

When inserting logos or any image with a transparent background, there may be instances when it gets filled with white color.

If this happens, click on the image. Go to the Style tab and set the background color to Transparent.

Setting a transparent background to the image

🚨 Note: This process only works if the original image has a transparent background. It will not work for images with filled backgrounds.

We had our logo split into two images. Quickly resize the first one, then insert the second.

Resizing and inserting the second logo

Following this, group the logos so we can move and resize them freely. Select both, right-click, then click Group.

Grouping the two logos together

Before proceeding, let’s adjust the height of our canvas to ensure that all charts and elements we want to add will fit properly.

Go to Theme and LayoutLayout.

Going to the layout settings

Scroll down and go to the canvas size section. Here, adjust the height to 1050px.

Adjusting the canvas height

Next, let’s add a date range control. By default, the display text is black. We cannot read the text if we place it on the banner. To fix this, go to Style and change the font color to white.

Adding and styling a date range control

Now, let’s build our scorecards.

Adding Scorecards to the Report

Add a scorecard, use the Views metric, and insert a Date sparkline.

Configuring the scorecard

Next, select Period for the other comparison option and Previous Period for the comparison date range.

Setting the comparison date range

We won’t see the comparison percentage because we haven’t selected a date range yet.

Now, let’s change the background of the scorecard. First, set the background color to the custom color we used previously. Next, select the background color again and click Gradient.

Setting a gradient background

Set the gradient angle to 45°, then click Done.

Custom gradient configuration

With the darker background, we can barely see the information on our scorecard. To fix this, change the font color to white.

Changing the scorecard font color

Next, change the sparkline color to light blue. Check the Fill and Smooth options.

Sparkline settings

The fill option turns the sparkline into an area chart, while the smooth option reduces the spikes in our graph.

Position the scorecard near the top left portion of the banner. Next, center the metric name, metric value, and comparison value.

Additional scorecard formatting

Instead of repeating the formatting steps for the other charts we want to display, we will duplicate or create copies of our scorecard.

Creating duplicates of the formatted scorecard

Change the metric of the second scorecard to Total Users and the third scorecard to Conversions.

Changing the metrics of the copied scorecards

Now, let’s select a date range to see the comparison percentages.

Select April 18 to 24. Notice that the negative comparison percentages don’t contrast well with our background.

Selecting a date range

So, let’s change the comparison percentage font color.

A quick trick to selecting multiple charts at once is to click and drag an area encompassing the three charts.

Quick selection of multiple charts

Next, go to the Style tab and change the Negative Change Color to yellow.

Changing the negative change color

It’s time to soften the corners of the scorecards by setting the border radius to 5.

Setting a border-radius

Notice the scorecards no longer have sharp corners.

Rounded corners of the scorecards

Next, let’s greet our users with a welcoming text.

First, let’s go to EmojiTerra and copy the waving hand emoji.

Copying the waving hand emoji from EmojiTerra

Now, let’s add text to the dashboard. Type a welcoming message and paste the emoji. Change the font color to white, font size to 20px, and bold the text.

Dashboard welcoming text formatting

Then, add a few interactive buttons to the report.

Creating Interactive Buttons

We want to give viewers of the dashboard the option to download or share this dashboard.

First, click Add a ControlButton.

Adding buttons in Looker Studio

Change the text and the formatting. Set the font color to white, font size to 18px, background color to our custom color, opacity to 70%, border color to grey, and border thickness to 2.

Interactive button formatting

Looker Studio buttons have three action types: Navigation, Report Actions, and Filter.

By default, the buttons will be of the  Navigation type, which we can use to navigate to a page in the report or an external URL. You will set this by clicking Insert Link.

Navigation button types

Here, we can set dynamic page links, specific pages in the report, or an external link.

Inserting a link to the button

Now that we know about navigation buttons, let’s discuss the next type. The report actions buttons let users access report actions such as sharing and downloading.

To understand how they work, create a copy of the button, then select Report Actions. For the specific action, choose Download Report.

Creating a download button

Clicking the Download button allows users to download a PDF of the dashboard.

Downloading a PDF of the dashboard

Another report action is to let users share the dashboard.

Create another copy of the button, then select Report ActionsInvite People.

Creating a share button

This button allows users to share the dashboard with certain people and groups and specify access roles.

Dashboard sharing settings in Looker Studio

The last button type is Filter. The Filter option lets you create preset filters for viewers to quickly and conveniently apply complex filter logic to charts and reports.

💡 Top Tip: Those are the default button types, but learn how to customize Looker Studio buttons by checking out our guide on How to Create Interactive Buttons in Looker Studio.

In the next section, we’ll discuss creating page navigation menus. We don’t need to make one in this example dashboard, but we’ll give you a demo if you need them for your report.

Looker Studio has different menu options. There is the default page navigator and one where we create our own. We’ll show you how to create a basic one.

💡 Top Tip: If you want to learn more about menus, check out our guide on creating navigation bars in Looker Studio, covering everything about menu navigation.

First, we need a report with more than one page. So, click Add Page.

Adding a new page to the report

Create three pages and rename them to Home, Audience, and Contact Us.

Created pages in the report

Now, let’s look at creating a custom page navigation.

First, insert text with the page title. Set the font color to white, then Insert Link.

Inserting a link to the page navigation text

We are creating a navigation button for the homepage, so select Home for the page link, then click Apply.

Inserting a link to the homepage

Since we inserted a link, the color will change to blue, and an underline will appear.

To revert this formatting, select the text again. Set the font color to white and deselect the underline option.

Resetting the navigation text formatting

If the color does not change, select a different color first and then white. If that still doesn’t work, refresh the page and try again.

Center the text, then create duplicates for the other pages in the report. Change the links accordingly for each page.

Creating page navigation for the remaining pages

We have now finished creating our custom banner.

If we preview our dashboard, you’ll see the default navigation menu at the left of the canvas.

Default page navigation menu in Looker Studio

Since we have already created our custom menu, let’s remove this default one.

Go to Theme and LayoutLayout. Set the navigation type to Hidden.

Hiding the default page navigation menu

Finally, let’s change the page background color before proceeding to the next section.

To do so, go to PageCurrent page settings.

Going to the current page settings

Go to the Style tab and change the background color to our custom gradient.

Changing the page background color

Now, let’s build our charts.

Customizing Charts

First, let’s add a time series chart. Set the grid color to transparent and the axis color to white.

Inserting a time series chart and setting the grid colors

Let’s also change the line weight to 2 and the line color to light blue.

Formatting the line weight and thickness of the time series chart

Finally, let’s style the border. Set a border radius of 5, color to light grey, and border thickness to 2.

Formatting the time series chart border

Next, we’ll add our geo chart. But first, let’s add an outline.

Insert a rectangle. Set a transparent background and copy the border settings we implemented in the time series chart: border radius of 5, light grey border color, and border thickness of 2.

Inserting an outline for the geo chart

Now, let’s add the geo chart. Set the max value color to our custom color, then uncheck the Show legend option.

Inserting and formatting the geo chart

With geo charts, it can get difficult to determine which countries bring the results you need, especially when there is a lot of data. So, let’s add a bar chart to accompany this geo chart for clarification. 

Duplicate the geo chart and change it to a bar chart in the properties panel.

Creating a bar chart from the duplicated geo chart

Reduce the number of bars to 5 and set the bar color to light grey. Now, the bar chart will only show the top 5 countries.

Showing only five bars and changing the bar color

Next, change the bar chart metric to Total users.

Changing the bar chart metric

Go to the style tab again and change the grid color to transparent and the axis color to white. Quickly resize the chart to make it fit properly.

Formatting the bar chart

Lastly, enable cross-filtering.

Enabling cross-filtering for the bar chart

Cross-filtering allows users to filter other charts in the report based on the selection from the bar chart. For example, clicking Germany will filter the scorecards, time series, and geo charts.

Cross-filtering charts by data from Germany

Great! Next, let’s present our pages and content that brings us the most users.

First, add a table and set the header color to white.

Inserting a table in Looker Studio

Next, set the background and border color to transparent. Change the font color to white. Deselect the row numbers option. Finally, resize the table for the top five entries.

Formatting the table

Replace the table dimension with Page Title.

Using the page title dimension in the table

Deselect the Show pagination option, then resize the table accordingly.

Removing table pagination

Finally, let’s format the border to match the other charts: border radius of 5, light grey border color, and border thickness of 2.

Formatting the table border

Next, let’s add our device categories and a space for users to contact us.

Insert a donut chart and replace the dimension with the Device Category.

Inserting a donut chart for the device categories

Next, let’s change the colors by clicking Manage dimension value colors.

Managing dimension value colors

Change the desktop color to grey and the mobile color to our custom color. Then, click Close.

Changing the device category colors

Finally, use the same border settings: border radius of 5, light grey border color, and border thickness of 2.

Formatting the donut chart border

If you’re limited in the space available for your chart, you can remove the legend by going to the Legend section and selecting None. Adjust the chart size accordingly.

Removing the donut chart legend

Now, let’s move on to the contacts section. Again, start with a shape with our custom color for the background color. Resize the other charts so that all these elements fit well.

Adjusting the bottom section of the report

Upload an image for the contact us section of the dashboard.

Inserting an image for the contact us section

We built this image on Canva and exported it as a PNG file with a transparent background.

Let’s add some text. Change the font color to grey, font size to 16px, and bold the text.

Inserting text in the contact section

The last thing to do is add a link to the image, which you should know how to do now.

Finally, let’s add some filter controls.

Customizing Filter Controls

We are interested in where our users come from, so we need to add a source/medium filter.

Insert a drop-down list control and select Session source/medium for the control field.

Inserting the session source/medium filter control

Change the font color to white and remove the background color. Next, click the edit icon beside the control field.

Formatting the session source/medium control

Rename the dimension to Source & Medium. The source field is at the bottom.

Renaming the session source/medium control

Next, let’s add an icon beside the filter control. You can design one or look for resources online. A great site we recommend is FlatIcon.

Type a keyword and select one of the icons.

Selecting an icon from FlatIcon

What’s great about this website is that it allows you to Edit an icon! 

After this, save it in a PNG or SVG format and choose different pixel sizes.

Editing and downloading options in FlatIcon

These icons are free but have a page where you add credits to those who created these icons.

Once you’ve downloaded an icon, insert it beside the filter control.

Inserting a filter control icon

Finally, test out your dashboard and see if everything works as intended.

For testing, let’s select a date range from April 18 to 24.

Selecting a date range to test the dashboard

Check if your charts, buttons, and controls are working and if you’re happy with the formatting.

Summary

Great! That’s how you customize Looker Studio reports. We’ve looked at how to recreate an existing dashboard, discussing design techniques and tricks along the way.

From charts and images to filter controls, this guide has covered all the decorating tips to design your dashboard.

Do you still want to do more with your dashboards? Check out these top 3 Looker Studio dashboard enhancements to make your report stand out.

Which customization technique did you find the most interesting? Are there other design elements you can recommend? Let us know in the comments below!