Line charts are one of the most ubiquitous types of data visualization. It’s hard to find a set of reports or dashboards that doesn’t include some form of a line chart. In Google Data Studio, you can create a standard line chart, with options for smoothed lines and sparklines. There is however one variation of a line chart that Data Studio doesn’t support natively—the stepped line chart.
A stepped line connects each data point to the next in “steps.” The line runs horizontally until it jumps vertically to the next point. A stepped line chart can be useful for charting values that change at regular intervals and for emphasizing sudden increases and decreases in a metric.
In the example below, we use a stepped line chart to visualize scores during a game of Jeopardy. The vertical steps are increases earned from correctly answered questions; the largest steps represent Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy questions:
The use cases for a stepped line are not as common as that of its standard line chart cousin, but you will certainly find stepped lines used in the wild. For example, here are presidential approval ratings and NBA basketball scoring visualized with stepped line charts.
Using Data Studio’s community visualization feature, our team at ClickInsight has built a stepped line chart for you to use. Follow the steps below and try it out!
How to Create a Stepped Line Chart in Data Studio
1. Enable community visualizations
In your data source, enable Community Visualizations access.
- Edit your data source and enable the “Community Visualization access” toggle at the top of the screen.
2. Create a new chart
Add a custom Line Chart from the community visualizations selector in the toolbar.
- From the community visualizations menu, select “+ Explore More” to open the community gallery. Select “Line Chart by ClickInsight” from the list of partner visualizations.
3. Select dimensions
Select the x-axis dimension from your data source. Optionally, select a breakdown dimension as well.
4. Select metric
Select the desired metric to display on the y-axis.
5. Adjust sort
Change the sort dimension and sort direction to ensure your data displays in the desired order.
6. Apply filters
Unless you want to display all dimension values at the same time, add filters to include only the desired values of the breakdown dimension.
7. Enable stepped lines
In the Style panel, change “Line Style” option to “Stepped”
8. Configure style and formatting
Adjust the chart formatting as desired. Our custom line chart supports the following style options:
- Chart Options
- Line Width: set width of line
- Line Style: choose default (smooth) or stepped line
- Axis Options
- Minimum / Maximum: manually set axis range
- Maximum Number of Ticks: adjust number of tick marks and gridlines
- Hide Axis: show/hide the axis
- Tooltips: show/hide tooltips
- Legend: show/hide legend
- Position: change position of legend
- Colour Palette
- Manually set up to 10 colours; Report-level chart colour palette is used as default
To get a better idea of what’s possible, check out our line chart demo report in Data Studio:
And here’s a stepped line visualization of The Rise of “Jeopardy James” Holzhauer:
If you observe any issues or bugs with this community viz, please open an issue here.
Let us know how the stepped line chart works out for you!
Complete list of posts in our 2019 Data Studio series:
1. 5 More Calculated Fields for Data Studio
2. Using Drill-Down Charts in Data Studio
3. How to Schedule Email Delivery of Reports in Data Studio
4. 4 Scatterplot Hacks for Google Data Studio
5. How to Add Clickable Images in Data Studio
6. Calculating Ratios with Filtered Metrics in Data Studio
7. Using Optional Metrics in Data Studio
8. Using Conditional Formatting in Data Studio
9. Creating Ecommerce Funnels in Data Studio
10. How to Create a Slope Chart in Data Studio
11. Creating Radar Charts in Data Studio
12. Creating Stepped Line Charts in Data Studio