3.8. Embedded vs Reusable Data Sources in Looker Studio
If you’re using a number of data sources for different reports, knowing the difference between an Embedded data source and a Reusable data source and when to use each will not only be a time-saver, but also mitigates the risk of making some costly mistakes.
In this lesson we will compare Embedded vs. Reusable data source in terms of location, accessibility, sharing controls, and conversion capabilities.
Embedded Data Sources
First, let's discuss embedded data sources. These are created within a report. When you edit a report and want to connect to another data source, you create an embedded data source. Its scope is limited to the report in which it's created. It isn't shared with other reports.
Embedded data sources are accessible within a single report, making it easier to manage permissions and access levels. When you duplicate or share a report, the embedded data source is copied or shared along with it.
Note: You can convert an embedded data source to a reusable one if needed.
Reusable Data Sources
Now, let's explore reusable data sources. These are the original data sources in Looker Studio, created from the homepage. Reusable data sources are global and accessible to all reports in your account.
These are useful when you have a client with a specific business logic, and you want to apply it in a central place connected to their data source. Any report you create for that client can reference the same reusable data source, making updates and maintenance simpler.
Changes to a reusable data source apply to any chart or visualization on any report referencing it. Moreover, you have more control over sharing, as reusable data sources are their own entities with separate ownership and sharing options.
Note: Reusable data sources can NOT be converted back to embedded.
Learning from Mistakes
Understanding the difference between embedded and reusable data sources can save you time and prevent costly mistakes. A personal story highlights this importance: after spending hours on data modeling for a client's reusable data source, the same data source was mistakenly used for another client. This resulted in confusion, wasted time, and damage to reputation.
By knowing the difference between reusable and embedded data sources, you can avoid such issues and ensure your Looker Studio projects are efficient and effective.