Where to Get the Free Dashboard?

Andrew Chien
4 min readNov 15, 2021

The dashboard is getting more and more important in this data-driven society. A good dashboard could help the user to answer the targeted questions or get the information they need in a short time. Tableau or Power BI are both good tools for that. However, both of them are not complimentary. And if we want to build a customized dashboard without charge, then the coding is inevitable. Nonetheless, it takes much time to build compared with the dashboard-making tool. So any good solution to this if we have a limited budget and don’t want to spend a long time building the dashboard? Luckily, we have the answer to that now. That answer goes to Google Data Studio.

The Google Data Studio is a service developed by Google. The first time when I used it was in 2019, however, it’s not that well-built at that time. Therefore, I didn't really jump into that but instead made a flask-based dashboard. Things could always improve over time, luckily, I checked the Google Data Studio in 2021 again and found it has more functions added that meet what I need for my dashboard. In addition, it’s free as of now. So that’s why I take this as the tool to make my personal dashboard.

The Google Data Studio could ingest the data from our Google Sheet, Google Analytics, Postgres, Mysql, and so forth. Besides, we could also get some service data provided or connected by the third party, like Google Trend.

Google Data Studio — Ingest Data

I would not go to the details of how to make the dashboard in this article but would like to take one of my dashboards as an example to show what it could do. Following the last article about the data handled by the MobileNet, then here I would just use this data as the source to show the dashboard I made.

The purpose of this dashboard is to help me find the photo I want. So basically I hope this could have the functions as the following:

  1. Show the photo in the table
  2. Search for the year the photo is taken in
  3. Keyword search based on the result of the MobileNet

In order to achieve this goal we set, firstly, we have to pick up the right charts. From the Add a Chart in the Google Data Studio, there are many different charts for us to choose, here I would just select the table. Once the table is selected, then we could choose the columns we want to display. The columns photo link and photo year are necessary for us to check. And for the photo to be displayed in the table, we have to manipulate the data a little bit. The Google Drive photo has its format for the embedded image, so we have to create the new field in the Google Data Studio with the following function applied.

concat(“https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=", file_id)

Then after this field is created, we have to create another field as the following to embed the photo.

IMAGE(embed_photo_link)

Google Data Studio Table Chart

After the photo is embedded, the final step is to add the filter to this dashboard. From the Add a Control, we could add a dropdown list, slider, or the advanced filter. Here the slider is suitable for the year field and the advanced filter is quite a fit for the result of the MobileNet. For example, here I have 3 columns specifically for the top 3 MobileNet analysis results and here we could use the advanced filter to contain the keyword we target or set the probability range to get the information or the photo we need.

Google Data Studio Filter

The above is a brief introduction of how I use the Google Data Studio to build my personal dashboard. In reality, there are way more charts and functions from the Google Data Studio. We may have other articles to cover more functions of it in the future. But if you can’t bear to wait and wanna delve into it, feel free to check some templates from the Google Data Studio and the Google Data Studio Community.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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