As organizations strive to make data-driven decisions, tools such as Google Looker Studio have become essential for data analysis and visualization. One of the fundamental steps in utilizing Looker Studio is uploading data, particularly CSV files, which are a common format for storing structured data. Whether you have a static CSV file that requires a one-time analysis or a dynamically updated CSV that needs automation, in this article, we will guide you through the various options at your disposal.
Methods to import CSV to Looker Studio
When it comes to importing CSV files with Looker Studio, the method to use depends on the type of CSV file you have.
- For cloud-based or online published CSV files, you should use an automated CSV connector.
- For static CSV files that need a one-time upload to Looker Studio, it’s better to use the built-in method.
Let’s now look at these options in detail:
1. CSV connector by Coupler.io
With the CSV connector, you can seamlessly integrate CSV files stored on Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or anywhere else on the internet to Looker Studio. If an API you work with returns data as a CSV file, you can also be fetching its contents at a regular frequency.
Coupler.io allows you to set up automatic data updates eliminating the need for manual uploads and ensuring your data is always up-to-date and consistent. You can also manipulate and clean up your data before visualizing it in Looker Studio. This comes in handy when dealing with multiple CSV files or large datasets that require transformation and preparation before an upload to the visualization tool.
2. Looker Studio’s built-in method
Looker Studio offers a native method to directly upload CSV files stored in your local computer. With a few simple clicks, you can navigate to the desired CSV file, select it, and import it into Looker Studio for analysis and visualization.
Unlike the automated CSV connector, Looker Studio requires manual work to reflect any changes made to the source file. To keep the data up to date, you will have to manually upload the latest version of the CSV file each time you need fresh data. Due to these limitations, Looker Studio’s native CSV to Looker Studio upload is best suited for one-time or occasional analyses rather than continuous or real-time data monitoring.
Check out other Looker Studio connectors that may be useful for you.
How to set up an automated integration to upload CSV to Looker Studio
Uploading CSV files manually to Looker Studio can be a time-consuming task, especially when dealing with frequent updates or multiple data sources. This is where Coupler.io comes in.
Let’s consider this example. Suppose you have data in two CSV files, one residing in Dropbox and another on Google Drive. You want to fetch some data from each of the files and aggregate it on your Looker Studio dashboards. Since both files receive frequent updates, you want to update the data automatically so that Looker Studio always has fresh data.
Here’s how to connect CSV to Looker Studio:
Step 1: Configure your data source
- Sign up for Coupler.io. Choose CSV as your data source. Specify Looker Studio as the destination where you want to load the data.
- Add the URL of your CSV file. For example, if your first data source is stored in Dropbox, navigate to the chosen file and fetch an individual link you would normally use for sharing a file. Insert it in Coupler.io.
- If you have additional data sources, click on Add Source and provide the URL of the second CSV file. Coupler.io allows you to add as many sources as you need, depending on your specific requirements.
Step 2: Transform DataCoupler.io offers a powerful feature called Transform Data that allows you to modify and manipulate the CSV data before connecting it to Looker Studio. This step is optional but can be beneficial for data blending and preparation.
By selecting the Transform Data option, you gain access to a user-friendly interface where you can view and work with the columns of your CSV data. The column management menu provides various options to manipulate the data. You can effortlessly rename columns, rearrange their order, and merge columns if necessary.
Step 3: Manage Data
- After setting up the source details and transforming your data, proceed to the Destination settings.
- Follow the instructions below to connect Coupler.io to your Looker Studio account.
- Note: Authorization is only required the first time you connect Coupler.io to Looker Studio. For subsequent interactions, you can skip this step.
- Generate an access token on Coupler.io and copy it.
- Follow the provided link to create a data source in Looker Studio.
- Follow the instructions on the Looker Studio side and click Authorize to grant access.
- Insert the generated token in the credentials section on the Looker Studio side and then click SUBMIT.
- Click the Connect button at the top right of the page to establish the connection.
- Depending on the size of your data, this process may take a few minutes.
Below is a sample data that has been uploaded to Looker Studio:
You can now start exploring the data from the uploaded CSV file in Looker Studio by creating reports, and dashboards or performing data analysis using Looker Studio features and tools.
Automate CSV data load to Looker Studio on a schedule
Once you connect CSV to Looker Studio, you can configure automatic updates for your data. This ensures that your data remains up-to-date effortlessly. To set up the schedule settings:
- Toggle the button to enable automatic data refresh.
- Set up the interval, days of the week, preferred time, and timezone based on your requirements.
- Click on Save and Run to complete the connection between your CSV file and Looker Studio.
Native method to import CSV file to Looker Studio
This method is suitable in cases where you have a standalone CSV file that does not require ongoing updates or integration with other data sources.
To import CSV to Looker Studio:
- Log in to your Looker Studio account
- Click on the Data Sources tab.
- Select file upload. Alternatively, you can search for it.
- You need to authorize to connect to Google Cloud storage as Looker Studio uploads your data there.
- Click on the Click to Upload Files button.
- A dialog box or a file browser window will appear, allowing you to select the CSV file from your computer. Browse your computer’s files and select the CSV file you want to upload.7. Once your file is uploaded, you’ll see the status Uploaded. 8. Click on the Connect button at the top right-hand of the page to complete the upload process.
- Looker Studio will process the CSV file and make it available for analysis and visualization within the project.
How to load large CSV files into Looker Studio
Managing large datasets in Looker Studio can pose challenges due to limitations such as file size restrictions and storage capacity. For example, you can upload files of up to 100MB each and can’t exceed the overall storage limit of 2GB. To overcome these limitations, you could opt to use data warehouses like Google BigQuery, which offers scalable capacity. However, you would first need to load a CSV file into BigQuery and then connect a table to Looker Studio.
A simpler and faster alternative is to preprocess and transform the data before loading it into Looker Studio without the use of data warehouses or spreadsheets. Coupler.io provides a Transform feature that facilitates the extraction of specific data from CSV files of any size. This eliminates the need to upload the entire file to Looker Studio, saving valuable time and resources.
For instance, if you possess a historical record of all store orders, you could apply filters to fetch only the orders from 2022 onwards or exclude those with a value lower than $10 if it makes sense for your analysis. What’s more, you could remove a number of unnecessary columns, rename them using a chosen convention, and add additional calculable columns to use in Looker Studio straight away.
Not only would this limit the size of an import but it would further boost the performance of Looker Studio thanks to fewer calculations it would need to perform itself. As an added bonus, a dataset limited to just the essential elements would be more convenient to work with.
By adopting this approach, you not only save time and resources but also unlock the potential to derive meaningful insights from your data and create comprehensive dashboards and reports.
Which is the best way to use connect CSV to Looker Studio?
Arguably, the most convenient way to upload CSV to Looker Studio is by utilizing a data analytics and automation platform like Coupler.io. This approach offers seamless extraction and transformation of your data, ensuring a smooth transfer into Looker Studio. By eliminating the need for manual data handling, Coupler.io simplifies the overall workflow and saves you valuable time and effort.
Additionally, if you find yourself in need of assistance with business analytics or require customized dashboards for your reporting, the Coupler.io data expert team is readily available to support you. Their expertise can help optimize your data analysis process and provide tailored solutions to meet your specific requirements.
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