Understanding Google Analytics dashboards and shortcuts

Not all metrics are useful to everyone. Luckily, it is very easy to create custom metrics that are more useful to your business. One can use dashboards and shortcuts to quickly find these metrics without having to navigate to a specific report.

Dashboards are very flexible and can be used for many different purposes. For example, you could create an overview of how your site is performing by displaying summaries of different reports as widgets together on a single page.

You’ll notice at the top of many reports there’s an “add to dashboard” button. Once you’ve customized a report to show the data you need, you can click “add to dashboard” to save that report as a dashboard widget.

You can also decide which parts of the report you want to show on the dashboard when you’re saving it such as the table, the graph, or both.

Dashboard is a collection of number of reporting widgets. A dashboard lets you save up to 12 reporting widgets. To add a report widget to a dashboard, simply select a dashboard you’ve already created or select “new.”

Clicking “Dashboards” in the left-hand navigation will allow you to easily view the reports you’ve collected.

According to the GA team – “You can select some of these visualizations for standard or real-time metrics. Use the “Add a metric” pulldown menu below to search and add the particular metric you want to include. You can even add filters to the report widget once you’ve brought it into the dashboard, similar to the way we set filters at the view level earlier.

In a report, when you add a widget using the “Add Widget” button, the widget will include a link back to the original report. However, note that if you modify the data in the widget on the dashboard, those changes will not persist when you click on the link back to the original report. If you’d like the changes to the report to persist in the dashboard, you must go back to the original report, make the changes, re-copy the URL for that report, and then update the widget with the correct URL.

Once you have created a dashboard, you can format it by clicking “Customize Dashboard” and selecting a layout. You can also drag and drop existing widgets to different locations within the dashboard. Mousing over a widget will reveal an edit icon that you can use to edit the data coming into the report widget. It also reveals a delete icon that allows you to remove the widget from the dashboard.”

There are two types of dashboards: private and shared. A private dashboard is only visible to you within that view. A shared dashboard can be seen by anyone who has access to that view. You can have 20 private dashboards per user and 50 shared dashboards per view. If you have shared the dashboard with other users, they can change what shows up on their dashboard, but their changes will only be visible to them. The original dashboard you shared cannot be changed by another user.

Share a dashboard

If you wish to share a dashboard, simply click the Share button at the top. Selecting “Share Object” will share the dashboard with any user who has access to the view. Selecting “Share Template Link” will share a link to your dashboard template that can be added to any other Analytics view (but don’t worry, this won’t include any of your data).

If you wish to share your template more broadly, you can add the dashboard template to the “Google Analytics Solutions Gallery” by clicking “Share in Solutions Gallery.” The Solutions Gallery is a place where Google Analytics users can share different types of customizations like dashboards. It’s also a great place to find dashboard templates that you can import and then customize for your own business.


The easiest way to access reports is by creating a shortcut to the report. The good thing about shortcuts is that they include any customizations you’ve made to the report. For example, if you’ve filtered the data table, then that filter will automatically be applied when you access the report from the shortcut.

To create a shortcut, simply click “Shortcut” in the report. Name the Shortcut and it will be saved in the Shortcut section of your left navigation.

Let us know if we can help set up analytics for you, or if you’d like help in analyzing and reporting on your existing data set. Our experts can create custom campaigns, setup Analytics 360 reports, and capitalize on momentary customer attention with fresher insights.


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