Understanding the FORMAT_DATETIME Function in Looker Studio for Enhanced Data Analysis and Presentation

 Understanding the FORMAT_DATETIME Function in Looker Studio for Enhanced Data Analysis and Presentation

Introduction to FORMAT_DATETIME Function

Data interpretation and presentation is a crucial component of any analysis. When working with date and time data, the ability to reformat data into a preferred style is paramount. In Google Data Studio, the FORMAT_DATETIME function serves this purpose. It transforms a date to formatted text, making it easier to comprehend and present.

How to Use the FORMAT_DATETIME Function

The FORMAT_DATETIME function works by taking in two parameters: format_string and datetime_expression. The 'format_string' parameter outlines the desired format for the transformation. In contrast, 'datetime_expression' is the Date or Time field or expression you aim to format.

The syntax would look like this:

FORMAT_DATETIME(format_string, datetime_expression)


refers to the supported format elements you can find in Google Data Studio's official documentation, and
denotes a Date or a Date & Time field or expression.

Examples of the FORMAT_DATETIME Function

To delve deeper, let's create a practical example based on a sales metrics scenario. Suppose you have an e-commerce store and analyze the data of commissioned orders. You have a field labelled 'Order Date' which registers the date and time of each sale. The format is, however, not reader-friendly, and you want to change it.

For a date registered as '2022-09-21 14:05:25', you can apply the FORMAT_DATETIME function to reformat it to a more reader-friendly and comprehensive date-time format.


FORMAT_DATETIME("%B %d, %Y %I:%M %p", Order Date)
Order Date
is '2022-09-21 14:05:25', the result would be 'September 21, 2022 02:05 PM'

Limits of the FORMAT_DATETIME Function

Although the FORMAT_DATETIME function is highly versatile, it isn't without limitations. The function isn't applicable for compatibility mode date types. It's essential to remember that date strings can be interpreted as compatibility mode Date data types. To keep the specific format, you need to transform the field type to Text.

Tips on Using the FORMAT_DATETIME function

When using the FORMAT_DATETIME function, understanding the numerous format elements supported is key to tapping into the function's full potential. Make sure to refer to the documentation for a comprehensive list.

Remember to confirm the nature of your date data before applying the function. This will ensure that your output maintains the format you precisely require.

Google Data Studio's FORMAT_DATETIME function is a capable tool in data formatting. Understanding its functionality and how to harness it ensures your data analysis process is both efficient and comprehensive.

Achieve succinct and intelligible data presentation by correctly applying this function in your data analysis tasks.

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