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Using the Advanced Date Filters in Looker Studio

Last Modified on November 16, 2023

Are you constantly setting new custom date ranges every time you update your data reports?

If you are…did you know that Looker Studio (ex Google Data Studio) can configure those rolling dates for you automatically?

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Using the Advanced Date Filters feature, you can input rolling dates into any of your dashboards on Looker Studio.

For example, you can create a data visualization based on the last two weeks, without having to update your date range each day.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to configure a dashboard with a timeframe that is always relative to the current date using Looker Studio’s Advanced Date functionality.

💡 Top Tip: Adding tooltip annotations is also a great way to provide direction and context to viewers and make the dashboards interactive.

Learn the three most important elements to rolling timeframes:

Ready to get started? Then let’s dive in!

Add Standard Date Filters to Your Looker Studio Report

Rolling Time Frame with Static and Dynamic Dates

The Advanced Date Functionality, can now be found in all the date pickers that we have in Looker Studio.

This tool allows for uniting all marketer data in one place (spreadsheets, Google Analytics, Google BigQuery, Google Ads, etc.), building detailed, easy-to-understand data reports, visualizing results with charts and graphs, and allows teams to work on dashboards and reports through permissions.

The Advanced Data Functionality being clicked on in Looker Studio

Open the report that you want to give a rolling timeframe.

If you don’t have a report with a data source attached, check out our Looker Studio Tutorial to get started.

Looker Studio showing a pre-made blank report named, “Advanced Date Selection”

Click on Edit.

The EDIT button being clicked on inside the blank report in Looker Studio

Next, we want a chart that will be relevant to our rolling time frame. Let’s create a time series chart to see what options we have for selecting the date range.

Under Add as chart, select Time series chart.

The Time series chart being clicked on in the Advanced Date Selection blank report

On the Looker Studio space, the time series chart will be displayed.

The newly-created Time series chart being displayed in the blank report window of Looker Studio

We want to see the number of sessions over time for this website. To see more sessions, drag the lower right side of the time series chart to the right to extend it.

The Time series chart being dragged to the right in the Looker Studio

By default, the date range that is applied to a chart in Looker Studio is Auto. This default range lasts 28 days. 

The Auto default range being highlighted and the cursor pointing towards the date range of the Time series chart

However, we have a variety of customizable options. So we can choose for this to show other periods of time by clicking on the Custom default data range.

The Custom default range being highlighted in Looker Studio

Let’s see what our options are. We’ll click on the date range selector below the Custom date range option.

The date range being clicked in Looker Studio

Then, click on the date range dropdown menu at the top right section of the window.

The date range dropdown menu being clicked on for editing the date included in the Time series chart

There are several types of dates in the dropdown menu. Among them is Fixed which is a simple range set by a specific start date and end date.

The Fixed option being chosen from the date range dropdown menu

Instead of the last 28 days, we can choose this to always show, for example, May 1st to May 14th.

After selecting a specific date range, click Apply.

Random dates being selected on the Fixed date range window

Click on View to see a preview of the date range selected.

The View button being clicked on the Looker Studio

Regardless of the date when the end-user accesses this chart and views this report, they’re always going to see the report from the first of May to the 14th of May.

The dates May 1 and May 14th being highlighted in the preview mode of the Time series chart

Rolling Time Frame with Dynamic Dates

The fixed date option is static, but we also have some dynamic options that are based on the date that the report is being accessed.

Some of these standard settings allow you to display data from the last seven, fourteen, twenty-eight, and thirty days.

There are also options for reporting on the last calendar week, calendar month, quarter, and year.

The options inside the date range dropdown menu being displayed

But what if we wanted to set the date range for this chart from two months ago until two weeks ago? Or the last week before yesterday instead of today?

What about data from the last three weeks, but not including the days from the current week?

We can’t do any of those with standard date filters. Instead, we’ll need to customize our rolling timeframe using the advanced settings.

Advanced Date Selection

With advanced date selection, we can customize all kinds of date ranges and timeframes for our data reports.

When you open your date range control, click on the Advanced option from the dropdown.

The Advanced option being selected in the date range dropdown menu

First of all, we need to select the start date. For the date type, we can choose  a fixed date. 

The start date dropdown menu being clicked on

For example, we want to report all data from the first day of January 2019 all the way up until last week.

The start date will be Fixed. You can toggle or type in the year, then select the month January.

January 2019 being selected in the date range calendar

Then, click on the date for the month where you want your data report to start.

So the first day included in our report would be January 1, 2019.

January 1, 2019 being picked as the preferred date and the Fixed date type being highlighted

Select the end date for Today.

We don’t want our report to actually include all data up to today, but we’ll address that next.

The Today day type being selected in the day type dropdown menu

The option for Weeks (starts Monday) seems like a better choice, so we’ll replace the Day option with that.

The Weeks (starts Monday) option being selected from the duration dropdown menu

Then, click Apply.

The Apply button being clicked in the date range dropdown menu

Once you’re back on the Looker Studio page, click on the View button.

The VIEW button being clicked on the  Looker Studio page

Now, whenever a user views this report, they will see that the report starts on January 1st and shows data all the way up to the last week.

The start date (January 1) and the end date (May 21) being highlighted on the Looker Studio report

You can also set a dynamic start date for your reports. Let’s try this out.

Again, click on the date range menu.

The date range section being clicked a second time in Looker Studio

Let’s say we want to see the data from four weeks ago to last week. 

On the start date section, we’ll select Today, click on Minus, input 4 on the text window, and then select Weeks.

Then, on the end date section, we’ll select Today, click on Minus, input 1 on the text window, and then select Month.

The Start date being set as Today Minus 4 Months

Click Apply to save the changes.

The End date  durations being highlighted in the dropdown menu

After applying the changes, the chart will now reflect the data from the first of February until the end of May.

The start date (February 1) and the end date (May 21) being highlighted on the Looker Studio report

💡 Top Tip: To make your reports stand out, you can create interactive buttons in Looker Studio.

Comparing Metrics for Advanced Date Ranges

We can use the advanced date range settings for more than just time series charts.

Let’s try adding a scorecard to demonstrate changes in statistics (like an average) between custom time periods. 

Click on the Add a chart dropdown then select Scorecard.

The Add a chart and Scorecard buttons being clicked in Looker Studio

Since a scorecard shows you a single number, it’s good for things like important total counts and averages.

In this case, I’d like a scorecard that shows me the average of a metric called Order Value.

Under the Available Fields section, type the metric that you want to include in the search bar.

Once the desired metric shows up, drag it to the left under the Metric section.

The word, average being input into the field search bar in Looker Studio and the Average Order Value field being dragged to the Metric section

To start off, click on the radio button for Custom and the date range section.

The Custom radio button and the date range section being clicked on

Then, click on the date range dropdown menu.

The date range dropdown menu being clicked on

Let’s think about this hypothetical situation where the client wants to see the performance of their website in terms of Average Order Value over the last seven days compared to how it performed from January 1st to the last seven days.

For this, we want to first set the custom date range for the actual value of this scorecard to be from the last seven days until today.

To do this, select the Last 7 days option on the dropdown menu.