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How to Create Navigation Bars in Looker Studio

Last Modified on December 22, 2023

Not impressed with the standard navigation menu in Google Looker Studio?

As you’re building your dashboard, you’ll find the need to create multiple pages to better showcase valuable insights from your data. You’ll then look for ways to help users navigate your report and will discover that Looker Studio has this built-in functionality.

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Even though this prospect excites you, you feel that the native navigation bars in Looker Studio are lackluster. Whether it’s because you want something more unique and engaging or want to make them follow the theme of your dashboard, you’re looking for an alternative.

Seek no more because we’re here to show you how to create navigation bars in Looker Studio that are functional, visually appealing, and user-friendly.

Here is an overview of what we’ll cover:

Let’s dive in!

Looker Studio Pages & Reports Overview

Looker Studio has excellent built-in capabilities when dealing with multiple pages, reports, and various types of navigation.

If your report only has a few pages, keep things simple and consider the standard navigation bars in Looker Studio.

Standard navigation bars example

Here, we have a section for each page showing an icon and the page title created when adding pages to your report.

There are two ways of adding pages to the dashboard; the first way to add pages is by selecting PageNew page.

The first way of adding pages

Another way is by clicking on the page navigation section to manage pages, which opens the report pages pane. Hover over the + button.

Adding pages in the report pages section

Then, you can either click on Page or Add a Page.

Page adding options in the report pages section

Looker Studio creates the navigation bar automatically when you add a new page to your report.

To modify the standard navigation bars in Looker Studio, go to Theme and LayoutLayoutNavigation Type.

Changing the navigation type of the navigation bar

Here, you have the following navigation type options: Left, Tab, Top Left, and Hidden.

Navigation type options

If you select the Left navigation type, the navigation bar will move to the left. It will only show the icons, but you can still view the page titles by clicking the > arrow.

Left navigation type

These are the basic things you could do with the standard navigation bars in Looker Studio. 

Among the frequently overlooked features in Looker Studio are adding/changing icons to your pages and using drop-down menus to categorize your pages.

Icons and drop-down menus in the navigation bar

You can see the structure by going to manage your pages. For this example, we have three categories: acquisition, behavior, and conversions. Each of these categories has a set of pages.

Looking at the Acquisition category, we have the Traffic sources page and an untitled section on top that contains the First user medium page.

Pages in the acquisition category

To build this, you should follow the first steps of adding a page to your dashboard – manage your pages, then hover over the plus sign.

You’ll see four options: Page, Section, Divider, and Header.

Element options to add to the report pages

If you want to categorize your pages with a drop-down menu, add and sort your pages into different sections.

Moving and sorting a page or section can be done by clicking and dragging each one to whichever location you want it to be.

Sorting elements into sections

How to Build a Navigation Menu (Type 1)

Although Looker Studio covers the basic navigation needs, your dashboards may require more flexibility and customization. Your client may ask you to build a navigation menu like this one:

Sample navigation menu

This navigation menu suits the design of your dashboard better and makes the user experience more seamless. Let’s look at how to build the first type of navigation bar in Looker Studio.

We have built three pages in our sample dashboard: Traffic, Funnels, and Conversions.

Pages in the sample dashboard

First, add a shape that will be the background for our menu.

Go to ShapeRectangle.

Inserting a rectangle into the dashboard

Inserting a rectangle into the dashboard

Insert this anywhere on your dashboard and resize it to a vertical rectangle. Next, set the border radius to 25 and the background color to dark grey.

Formatting the rectangle

🚨 Note: We have left the hex codes for the exact colors we used in this tutorial in a textbox on our dashboard.

Next, add your logo to the navigation menu. Make sure that it has a transparent background.

Select ImageUpload from computer.

Uploading an image from your computer

Insert your logo on the top portion of the rectangle. Resize your logo to fit the navigation menu.

Inserting and resizing the logo

Now, we need to copy our navigation menu base for all the pages and ensure that they are located in the same place.

Instead of repeating the process for the other pages, select all elements of our navigation menu, right-click, then click Make report-level.

Making the navigation menu report-level

When you navigate to the other pages, the navigation menu will appear at the same location.

Copied navigation menu on the other pages

Now, we’ll add multiple shapes to build our navigation buttons.

🚨 Note: The techniques we’re using are discussed in more detail in our How to Create Interactive Buttons in Looker Studio guide.

Insert a rectangle that has the same width as our navigation menu. Next, change the background color. We’ll start with the same color as our navigation menu, then click the + button to use a custom color.

Adding a navigation button background

To add some contrast back, select a color that’s a little lighter. Next, select Done.

Selecting a lighter background color for the navigation button

Next, create a copy of our rectangle. You can do this by right-clicking on the rectangle, then selecting Duplicate.

Duplicating the navigation button background

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste the rectangle. Create as many copies as the number of pages we have in our dashboard.

Sections for the navigation buttons

Hold down the CTRL key while selecting the rectangles. Copy and paste the shapes to all of our pages. Then only keep the rectangle corresponding to the page number. For example:

Navigation button indicator on the second page

Follow the same procedure for the third page, but keep the third rectangle instead.

Navigation button indicator on the third page

Let’s go back to our first page. Now, we’re going to add texts and icons to our navigation bars in Looker Studio.

Add Text, then type Traffic for the first button. Change the font color to white or light grey, and the font size to 16px.

Adding a page title to the navigation button

You can either repeat the process or duplicate the text for other pages. Change the text for the other pages.

Editing the page titles for the other pages

Next, let’s add our icons. Here, we used images saved to our computer.

Adding icons to the navigation button

Don’t worry. We’ll show you where to get these kinds of icons later.

The next step is to select the icons and text and copy them to the other pages.

Copying the icons and text to the other pages

When you copy the icons and text, confirm that they are positioned correctly.

The pasted icons and text to the other pages of the dashboard

Now, let’s go back to the first page and remove the other rectangles. Only keep the rectangle to highlight the first page.

Navigation button formatting for the first page

All that’s left to complete our navigation bars in Looker Studio is to add our navigation links.

Here, we’ll utilize the technique of adding a transparent image on top of the buttons, so that the whole shape can be clicked.

Insert any image and uncheck the Preserve Aspect Ratio option. Resize the image to fit the navigation button, then click the Insert link.

Inserting an image for the image link URL

Uncheck the option to Open the link in a new tab, then select our first page. Finally, click Apply.

Inserting a link to the image

Copy and paste the image over the other buttons and change the image link URL to their corresponding page.

Image links for the navigation button

Select all three images. In the Style tab, change the opacity of the image to 0%.

Making the image with links transparent

Don’t click away from our selection yet, and copy our images. Go to each of your pages and paste these images.

Copying the images with links to the other pages

That’s how to create the first type of navigation bars in Looker Studio.

How to Build a Navigation Menu (Type 2)

Now, let’s build the following navigation bars in Looker Studio. The process is similar, but you’ll see that there are minor changes.

We’ll start with another rectangle, but this time, let’s make it a bit narrower. Set the border radius to 20, and choose the same dark grey color for the background color.

Formatting the navigation menu

Next, select the image and upload your logo. Resize and place it at the top portion of your navigation menu.