Sharing a Report
Start course

Google Data Studio is a web-based application for creating reports and dashboards. It’s an easy-to-use tool for displaying your data visually. It was designed to help Google Analytics users create custom reports, but it can now read data from many sources, including BigQuery, Cloud SQL, and Cloud Storage.

In this course, you will learn how to connect a Data Studio report to a BigQuery dataset, visualize it with charts and graphs, and share it with your co-workers to make data-driven decisions.

Learning Objectives

  • Create a report in Data Studio
  • Connect a Data Studio report to a BigQuery dataset
  • Share a Data Studio report with appropriate levels of access

Intended Audience

  • Data professionals, especially those who work with big data
  • People studying for the Google Professional Data Engineer exam



Alright, we’ve gone through two of the three high-level steps so far, connect and visualize. Now it’s time to do the third step, share a report.

Bring up the report you created in the last lesson. We should name it before we share it. I’m going to call it “Yesterday's Top Hacker News”.

Sharing it is quite simple. Just click here. If you’re familiar with Google Drive, this works exactly the same way because the reports are actually stored in Google Drive. You can just type in the email address of someone you’d like to share it with here and then set their level of access here, but let’s go to the advanced options to see what else we can do.

First type in the email address of someone you’d like to share it with. If you want to share it with a whole group of people, it would be easier to use a Google group, which is what I’m going to do. If you want to add more people or groups, you can type their email addresses next to the first one. When you’re done entering addresses, choose whether they can edit the report or just view it.

A person with view access doesn’t need a Google account to see the report. To edit a report, you do need a Google account, though. I’ll choose “Can view”. You can also write a short note to let them know why you’re sharing this report with them. Click the “Send” button to email the notification to the users you gave access to.

There are also a couple of useful settings down here. By default, anyone with Editor permission on the report can give access to other people and even change access for people you’ve already added. In many cases, you’ll want to maintain control of who gets access, so you’ll want to check this box to take that power away from editors.

The second setting is to prevent viewers from downloading, printing, and copying the report. Check this box if you don’t want viewers to show the report to other people.

If you want to share the report with a wider audience, then you can give people this shareable link, by sending it to a mailing list or even putting it on a web page.

There are quite a few options for how widely to share it. If you click on “Change”, you should see five options. It’s probably not obvious what the difference is between the first two options. “Public on the web” means your report will show up in Google searches, whereas “Anyone with the link” won’t. People will have to have the link to get to your report. The next two options work the same way except inside your organization. If your domain administrator has restricted sharing so you can’t share outside of your organization, then the first two options will be disabled. I’m going to leave it at “Off”, which will turn off link sharing.

One reason you might not want to share your report widely, or even with anyone else, is because your GCP billing account will be charged whenever anyone causes your report to send a query request to BigQuery.

That’s pretty scary, but there’s a restriction you can put in place for both security and cost control reasons. Select “Report settings” from the File menu. Then click the pencil next to “full”. It says, “Using Owner’s Credentials”. Click on that.

When it’s set to Owner's Credentials, Data Studio uses the data source owner’s credentials to access the BigQuery dataset, so a user doesn’t need to have access to the underlying data to see the chart in the report. If you change it to “Viewer’s Credentials”, then a user has to already have permission to access the underlying dataset or they won’t see the data in the report.

This is a good way to avoid giving people access to data they’re not supposed to see. It also prevents people from incurring charges to your billing account unless they have access to the dataset, which usually means they’re using the same billing account, although that’s not always true.

Something that can be a little bit confusing is the term “data source owner”. That doesn’t mean the owner of the underlying dataset in BigQuery. It means the person who created the connection to that dataset in Data Studio.

Click here to go to the Data Studio home page. On the left, you’ll see that “Reports” and “Data Sources” are treated separately. Click on “Data Sources”. Although we created this data source when we were in the report, it’s available for use in other reports. It can even be shared with other people in the same way you share reports with other people.

If you created the data source, then you’re the owner, even if other people use it in their reports. To see which reports are using it, select “Manage added reports”. It takes quite a while to come back with a list, though, so I’ll fast forward. There’s our report.

One of the great things about sharing reports is that you can use them as templates. You can just make a copy of the report and modify it to meet your needs. If you go back to “Reports”, you’ll see that Google has made some reports available as templates. There’re more than just these three as well.

Click on one of them. You’ll see a “Use Template” button. This only shows up because the URL has “/preview” at the end of it. You can make that button appear on your reports too by giving someone a link with “/preview” at the end of it. That’s really not necessary, though, because you can just make a copy of a report from the File menu, which I’ll show you after this.

Click the “Use Template” button. The only thing you have to do is tell it which data source to use (or data sources if there’s more than one, like in this case). If you have access to the report’s original data source, then you can leave it with that, or you can change it to your own data source. Your data source will have to have somewhat similar data, though, or it will be hard to adapt the charts to your data.

Click “Create Report”. Now you can edit everything in the report.

Here’s how you’d do this with a report that doesn’t have the “Use Template” button. Go back to the home page and click on the Hacker News report. Go into edit mode. Then select “Make a copy” from the File menu. It does exactly the same thing as the “Use Template” button did.

And that’s it for report sharing.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Guy launched his first training website in 1995 and he's been helping people learn IT technologies ever since. He has been a sysadmin, instructor, sales engineer, IT manager, and entrepreneur. In his most recent venture, he founded and led a cloud-based training infrastructure company that provided virtual labs for some of the largest software vendors in the world. Guy’s passion is making complex technology easy to understand. His activities outside of work have included riding an elephant and skydiving (although not at the same time).