Decoding Date Data: Understanding and Applying the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE Function in Looker Studio

 Decoding Date Data: Understanding and Applying the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE Function in Looker Studio


Google Data Studio offers an extensive library of functions to aid in data interpretation and analysis. One such function is the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE. This practical function aids in simplifying and enhancing the analysis of timestamp data, thus significantly enhancing its usability and readability.


In the realm of data analytics, date formats can often be a bit tricky. This is where Google's DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE function steps in. It smoothly interprets an integer as the number of days since the countdown epoch, 1970-01-01.

The syntax of this function is straightforward:

Here, 'number' can be any field or expression that represents an integer.

The return data type of this function is 'Date', providing users with data that is both easy to understand and to use.


Utilizing the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE function doesn't require extensive knowledge or technical expertise in data analytics. All you must do is correctly input the number parameter - this could be a specific datum or an entire database field.

Here's a simple way of envisioning the function's usage:

In this case, the function interprets the integer '18510' as it would count days from 1970-01-01 and provides the corresponding date.


Let us consider a scenario where an online store records the date of each transaction in Unix time. The marketing team wishes to analyze the sales metrics based on a day-to-day comparison but finds the Unix timestamp format challenging to interpret. Using the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE function, this issue is effortlessly resolved.

DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE(Sales['Transaction Date'])

Here, the function will convert each transaction date stored in Unix timestamp in the 'Transaction Date' field into a more readable and comparable date format.

Limitations and Tips

While the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE function undeniably holds significant utility in Google Data Studio, there are few limitations to consider. The function only works with integers and can't interpret floats or strings.

Also, remember that Unix Time begins at 1-1-1970. Any date prior to this can't be interpreted using Unix Time and, by extension, with this function.

Nonetheless, it's a valuable utility to have in your toolbox when handling date and time data fields present in your datasets. Especially so when it comes to making the data more readable and thus substantially more useful.

In conclusion, when working with date data in Google Data Studio, the DATE_FROM_UNIX_DATE function can prove to be of great help. Its simplicity, combined with its potential for making time data much more usable, makes it an asset for anyone looking to effectively visualize and interpret their data.

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