Using Filter Controls in Data Studio

Using Filter Controls in Data Studio

Interactive filters are a great way to allow your report users to explore and answer questions on their own. How does my campaign perform on mobile? Can I see the conversion rate from paid search? What volume of sales is from returning customers? Rather than creating different pages and charts for every possible permutation, filters allow your reports and dashboards to be much more dynamic and effective.

In Data Studio, you can add interactive filter controls for just about any dimension in your data source. Controls come in several different types, providing flexibility for a variety of filtering use cases. However, just looking at the list of available controls, it may not be obvious when you should use each type. Input box? Advanced filter? Slider? In this post, we will take you through each type of control and demonstrate how to use it as a filter in Data Studio.

Adding a Filter Control to Your Report

  1. Click to “Add a control” from the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired type of control. Then add the control by clicking on your report canvas.
  3. In the properties panel, select the dimension that you wish to filter on as the Control field.
  4. Configure other data and style options as desired in the properties panel.

Types of Filter Controls

Let’s go through each type of filter control and demonstrate a potential use case. Click through each image or link below to view the interactive report in Data Studio:

Drop-Down List

A drop-down list is probably the most commonly-used type of filter control. As the name suggests, it creates a drop-down menu of values for a selected dimension. A drop-down list control allows multiple selections by default, but can be configured as single-select. Here’s an example with multiple drop-down filters:

View in Data Studio

Fixed-Size List

A fixed-size list control is a variation of the drop-down list. Instead of being collapsed into a drop-down menu, all the dimensions values are shown as an expanded list. Here’s an example with 2 fixed-size filters, where the first is set as single-select:

View in Data Studio

Input Box

The input box is essentially a search box. A user can enter a value into the text field to filter the report. When you configure the input box, you can set the search type as Equals, Contains, Starts with, In, or Regex. In this example, the input control allows you to filter a Page table with a “contains” match, similar to how you may filter your All Pages report in Google Analytics:

View in Data Studio

Advanced Filter

The advanced filter control works the same way as the input box, except the user can choose the match type themselves:

View in Data Studio


Slider controls can be used to filter a report based on a numeric dimension. The slider lets the user choose the range of values to include in the report. In this example, we use Days to Transaction and Count of Sessions as filters on a table of ecommerce data:

View in Data Studio


Checkbox controls can be used to filter on a boolean dimension. This control acts like a switch and is best used to toggle between two segments that do not overlap. That said, we had difficulty coming up with a common use case for this checkbox control as a filter. The drop-down and fixed-size list controls are generally better options when you want to have a checkbox for each value, even for boolean dimensions.

Here is a proof-of-concept example that uses a checkbox filter to show or hide a “last month” comparison. Rather than the native date range comparison, this report uses 2 separate charts so that the checkbox can filter the prior month chart.

View in Data Studio

How do you use filter controls in Data Studio? Do the available filter options meet your needs? Let us know in the comments below!

Complete list of posts in our 2020 Data Studio series:

1. Visualizing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Google Data Studio
2. Creating a Google Analytics Dashboard in One Click
3. Using Google Maps in Data Studio
4. Visualizing BigQuery Public Datasets in Data Studio
5. Measuring Web Vitals – Part 2: Monitoring in Data Studio
6. Using Parameters in Data Studio
7. How to Style Links in Data Studio
8. Using Filter Controls in Data Studio (this post)
9. Extracting a Theme from an Image in Data Studio
10. Building a Google Analytics 4 Dashboard in Data Studio
11. How to Convert Text to Dates in Google Data Studio
12. 12 Tips for Enhancing Your Tables in Data Studio

By |2020-12-16T16:29:07-05:00December 10th, 2020|16 Comments
Categories: Data Studio


  1. Dean 2020-12-26 at 06:57 - Reply

    Hello Nicole,

    Thank you for writing this article. I’m very interested to know how did you manage to use the input box to search the page column without any effect on the case sensitivity.

    Please help to enlighten me on that.

    Thank you


    • Nicole Harris 2021-01-05 at 12:12 - Reply

      Hi Dean, thank you for your question! For the input box, we set the search type to “Contains” which is not case sensitive by default. Let us know if you have any further questions!

      • Manoel Sotto 2021-02-26 at 18:07 - Reply

        hello, I put the option in “contains” but it doesn’t work on the case sensitivity.

        • Nicole Harris 2021-03-08 at 15:24 - Reply

          Hi Manoel! Can you clarify whether you want the input box to be case sensitive or insensitive? If you want it to be case insensitive “Contains” should work. If you want it to be case sensitive, change it to “Equals”. Hope this helps!

  2. Hitesh Ahuja 2021-01-24 at 02:25 - Reply

    How can I see more than 50,000 items in a dropdown control field?

    • Nicole Harris 2021-01-25 at 14:01 - Reply

      Hello Hitesh,
      Unfortunately there is no way to see more than 50,000 items in a dropdown as this is the maximum.

  3. Luisa 2021-02-21 at 17:34 - Reply

    How did you remove the “type to search” box from the Fixed Sized list control. ?

    • Nicole Harris 2021-02-24 at 09:24 - Reply

      Hi Luisa, when you navigate to the Style panel of the Fixed-sized list there is a check box that says “Enable search box”. Unchecking that will remove the “type to search” box. Hope this helps!

  4. ganesh 2022-06-29 at 13:02 - Reply

    i have a list box (uses a formala for the control field, the table data in the page also uses the same dimension (formula) , but when selecting from the list box, the data in the table is not filtered

    • Heather alikakos 2022-07-05 at 15:16 - Reply

      Hi Ganesh,

      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      If I understand your intention correctly, you want to use either the dropdown list control type or the input box control to filter your chart?

      If this is correct you may want to check and confirm that your controls are using the same data source as your table.
      Another trick you can try is grouping your control filter with your chart.

      If none of the above works and your chart is still not being filtered out correctly then use the Data Studio Help: Filters page to help troubleshoot the problem further.

      Hope this helps answer your question.

  5. Claire 2022-11-16 at 00:55 - Reply

    How do I lock the control so that the report opens on for everyone on the selection I have preset? For example I have a country selector and I want it to always show the UK for the first report, and the US for the second. I’m using drop down controls.

    • Heather Alikakos 2022-11-21 at 12:41 - Reply

      Hi Claire,
      Thanks for reaching out!
      Please navigate to the filter’s setup panel and you can find an input box named “Default selection” just under the “Control field” selector.
      In there you can type in the default value(s) of your choice, separated by commas.
      Example: “United States, Canada”
      Hope that helps!

      • Claire 2022-11-21 at 16:16 - Reply

        Ah I can see that field – thank you so much!

        • Heather Alikakos 2022-11-22 at 14:32 - Reply

          You’re very welcome Claire! Glad we could help.

  6. Josh 2023-01-11 at 17:25 - Reply

    Hi, in the Drop-Down List how did you make the font size larger. Every time I add a new control with a Drop-Down List I can change the mai(Showing) font size but can’t find anywhere to increase the font size of the data that gets shown in the list. Any help would be awesome!

    • Heather Alikakos 2023-01-13 at 12:13 - Reply

      Hi Josh, thanks for reaching out!
      Unfortunately, there is no way to change the font-size of the values in a drop-down list currently. We can only change the font-size of the main title like you described.

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