Airtable offers a vast reporting capability, available both via its apps and through custom scripts. In the blink of an eye, you can build rich charts, customize them, and enrich them with data from different Airtable bases. And if that’s not enough, you can always connect Airtable to Looker Studio to get more from your data.
In this article, we’ll explain a simple way to integrate both tools and sync data between them automatically, with no coding or scripting required.
Why connect Airtable to Looker Studio?
As we talked about in our article on Airtable reports, it’s very easy to draw simple and more advanced charts using the built-in Airtable functionalities. This feature is available for users on the Pro and Enterprise plans and will do the job just right for many.
If you’re not on either of these plans or simply need more from your data, Looker Studio is made for the occasion. Its dashboards are simple to put together and will provide an excellent representation of your Airtable data. What’s more, Looker Studio is free to use.
Airtable dashboard integration with Looker Studio also has another benefit. By pulling your Airtable bases into Looker Studio, you can blend them with any other data at your disposal. Google’s product makes it very easy to combine different datasets on charts and demonstrate the performance from many different angles.
Add this to the ease of connecting both tools, and it’s no wonder that Looker Studio is such a popular choice among Airtable users.
Reports from Airtable data in Looker Studio
There’s no official integration between Airtable and Looker Studio. However, there are some other options for connecting the two apps:
- Using a third-party solution. You can opt for an external solution that allows you to connect Airtable to Looker Studio directly. An example of such a solution is Coupler.io – this data analytics and data automation platform allows you to link the two apps automatically. In addition to a convenient direct integration, this option provides you with extended functionality. For example, you can blend data from multiple sources and perform calculations on Coupler.io’s side. Even though Looker Studio has similar functionality, it might get slow if you use it for such tasks, so it’s better to blend and transform your data before you load it into the data viz tool.
- Exporting data using an intermediary app. There is a number of Looker Studio connectors for other Google products, so sometimes it makes sense to use another app as an in-between link and export data in two stages. For example, you can get your Airtable data into Google Sheets first, and then connect Google Sheets to Looker Studio with the available native integration. Alternatively, for larger data sets, you may opt for exporting Airtable to BigQuery instead.
Now, let’s explore both methods in more detail.
First, we’ll explain how to set up a direct integration, as it’s the simplest and most convenient way to connect Airtable and Looker Studio. Then, we’ll take a look into the method that requires an extra step and see how to transfer Airtable data into Looker Studio via Google Sheets and BigQuery.
Connect Airtable to Looker Studio directly with Coupler.io
Coupler.io provides direct integration between Airtable and Looker Studio. You can easily connect the two apps within just 5-10 minutes, and you don’t need any tech knowledge for this. Let’s see how it works.
First, sign up for Coupler.io. Then, go to the Importers tab and click Add new. Select Airtable as your data source and Looker Studio as a destination.
In the next step, you will need to provide a shared URL for the view you want to export. With Coupler.io, you can import a specific Airtable dashboard view, one at a time – a limitation of the Airtable API.
Don’t feel limited by this, though, if you were planning to import multiple bases or an entire Airtable workspace. You will be able to add other views as separate sources to the same importer a bit later.
To get a Shared URL of a particular view, load the view in Airtable that you want to import. Click on Share view in the menu and copy the URL you’ll see below. Paste it into the respective field in Coupler.io.
If your view is password-protected, type in the password into the corresponding field. Also, you can add other views to this importer – just press the Add one more source button and complete the same steps as for the first view. You can also Preview and Transform your data at this point – rename and rearrange columns, sort and filter data, perform calculations, and more.
Once everything is ready, click Continue to jump to the Destination settings.
Now, let’s connect your Looker Studio account. Follow the instructions in the importer to set up the connection. The first step is to create an API token. Press the Generate button on the right to get a new token and copy it once the token appears. Then, move to the second step and press the Looker Studio button.
Complete the next steps as described in the importer’s instructions: authorize access for Looker Studio and insert the API token you generated before into the corresponding field.
Then, click Connect in the upper right corner. Your importer will be connected to Looker Studio.
That’s it! You can now return to Coupler.io to specify the schedule for the updates – Coupler.io will pull fresh data from Airtable according to your preferences. Once it’s done, hit Save and Run. Then, press View results in the next window.
Once your data is transferred into Looker Studio, you can review and change the field types. If everything looks good, click Create Report in the upper right corner and start working on your dashboard.
Link Airtable and Looker Studio via an intermediary app
If you want to perform some extensive manipulations with your data before visualizing it, this method might be useful as well. Otherwise, it’s better to opt for a direct integration as it’s much simpler and more efficient.
Now, let’s see how to connect Airtable and Looker Studio via an intermediary app. As we already mentioned, this process consists of two steps:- importing Airtable data into Google Sheets/BigQuery- connecting Google Sheets/BigQuery to Looker StudioLet’s start with exporting your data.
Option 1 – Export Airtable data to Google Sheets
First things first, create a Coupler.io account if you don’t have one yet. Then, click the Add new importer button.
Select Airtable as your data source and Google Sheets as a destination. If you prefer BigQuery, jump to the next chapter.
Next, connect the Airtable view you want to export by providing its shared URL link. We’ve already explained how to do this in the previous chapter.
Now, let’s connect the destination app. Add your Google account and give the necessary permissions to Coupler.io when asked. Then, select the spreadsheet and the sheet where you want to import the data. If the sheet doesn’t exist, just type in its name, and it will be created.
Leave the optional settings as they are and jump to the final stage. Here, select the schedule for the data refresh.
When you’re happy with all settings, click the Save and run button. After the import has finished, click View results to see your Airtable data in a Google Sheet. Here’s an example:
Once this is done, you can jump to the next section to learn how to connect Google Sheets to Looker Studio.
Option 2 – Export Airtable data to BigQuery
For very large bases, BigQuery is often a better solution.
The Source part of the importer setup is identical to what we described for Google Sheets in the previous section. You select Airtable as a source, add a Shared URL, and jump to the Destination settings.
Here, of course, you ought to pick BigQuery. Then, click Continue.
A new window will open but ignore it for now. Jump to your BigQuery console. From the left-most menu, select IAM & Admin and then Service Accounts. Click Create Service Account on top.
Name the account and press Create and Continue. In the next stage, add the following roles:
- BigQuery Data Editor
- BigQuery Job User
Press Continue and then Done.
Now, find the service account you just created. Click on the three dots to its right and select Manage keys. Select Add Key, then Create new key. Stick to the default JSON type and press Create.
A JSON file will upload. Select it on the previously opened Coupler.io connection page and press Save.
To finalize the connection, type in the dataset and table to import the data to. Note that a table doesn’t need to exist before – typing a new name will create a table when the importer is launched.
As the last step, set up a schedule as we did before and press Save and run. Here’s a preview of our Airtable to BigQuery import:
Add the Airtable data to Looker Studio
Now the second stage of the setup. You already have the Airtable data either in Google Sheets or BigQuery, and it will be refreshed according to the schedule you’ve chosen. Let’s connect the source to Looker Studio, then.
In Looker Studio, click Create and then Data source.
Then, select either the Google Sheets or BigQuery connector.
In the next stage, find the sheet or table where you jump imported the Airtable data. Select it, and press Continue.
Next, you’ll see the list of imported dimensions and metrics. You can adjust their type if you’d like, change the refresh rate (by default, it’s every 15 minutes), or adjust some other settings. Then, press Create Report.
When asked, choose Add to Report.
If you have data in multiple sheets or tables, you can repeat the process multiple times, adding them one by one.
Alternatively, you can use Coupler.io to connect Google Sheets or BigQuery to Looker Studio without the native connectors.
And now, it’s time to start building your first Airtable report. If you’re new to Looker Studio, be sure to check our Looker Studio tutorial.
Airtable dashboard integration – Looker Studio vs. Tableau vs. Power BI
Looker Studio is just one of the many data visualization tools that can be connected to Airtable. It is frequently compared to two others: Tableau and Microsoft Power BI.
Tableau is considered one of the most powerful DataViz tools on the market. It can efficiently crunch huge data sets and offers more advanced visualization techniques than its Google’s counterpart. It offers a cloud-based application as well as desktop software.
Tableau also differs from Looker Studio when it comes to data sources. Looker Studio offers native connectors only with other Google products, integrating with others via third-party connectors. Tableau works with several Google products – for example, BigQuery or Google Analytics – but it’s quite limited.
However, its true power comes from hundreds of native integrations with virtually any notable database and storage system. As such, it’s more targeted at enterprises while Looker Studio is more suitable for startups and small businesses.
See how both tools compare in our Tableau vs Looker Studio comparison.
Tableau doesn’t have direct Airtable integration but you can take an identical approach as was the case for Looker Studio. First, export the data into an intermediary app using Coupler.io. Then, plug that data into Tableau using the available connections.
Microsoft Power BI is another popular DataViz tool. It offers more visualization techniques than Looker Studio but one could also say it’s a bit less intuitive than Google’s products – although that very much depends on who you ask. Frequent users of Excel, for example, will probably have an easy time getting started with Power BI.
Power BI comes with a cloud-based service as well as Power BI Desktop that features even more functionalities.
Power BI is most suitable for frequent users of other Microsoft products. It features native integration with MS Office, Azure, Sharepoint, and others. It also works with different databases as well as some marketing and sales tools, such as Salesforce or Google Analytics.
When it comes to Airtable integration, it’s also best to take it the “Microsoft way”. First, schedule an Airtable export to Excel using Coupler.io. Then, follow our tutorial to connect Excel to Power BI.
Airtable – Looker Studio integration recap
Airtable makes it very easy to import data into the platform. One can use its Google Sheets and Excel importers or simply drop a CSV file with virtually any dataset they wish to turn into a base.
Things get a bit more tricky when it comes to exporting data from Airtable. Sure, you can always pack the contents of a base into a CSV file and upload it anywhere else – if you rely on regular data exports, though, this approach won’t work.
Luckily, there are various applications that allow you to easily transfer data with no coding required. The Airtable to Looker Studio flow that we described takes maybe 5-10 minutes to set up and will keep your data fresh for as long as you need it.
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