How to create a custom report in Google Analytics 4


January 6, 2023


Analytics & CRO


Digital Specialists

Google Analytics 4(GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics and provides several new features and enhancements over the previous version. It’s especially useful for businesses looking to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and their online behavior.

It allows you to create custom reports that are unique to the user. To receive and consolidate exactly the information that’s necessary for your business. And this significantly speeds up the decision-making process. In Universal Analytics, there was a"Settings" - "Custom Reports" section, but  for this. That's all changed in Google Analytics 4. We’ll explain how to create custom reports in GA 4 using the Free forms report in the Explore tool.

Custom Reports in Google Analytics 4

To get started, click Explore on the left side of the Google Analytics 4 interface.

Here you'll find report templates.

  1. Free form. This report is as versatile as possible and contains almost all available segments, dimensions, and metrics that are convenient to combine. Data can be presented in various forms (table, histogram, diagram, etc.). We'll tell you more about the report later in the post.
  2. Funnel exploration. Allows you to visualize the steps of users on the way to perform a certain action and quickly learn how successfully customers pass each of the stages.
  3. Path exploration. In this report, the flow of events, the events initiated by users, and the screens they viewed are visualized in a tree diagram.
  4. Segment overlap. The method allows you to compare up to three audience segments to see how they intersect and how they relate to each other. This allows you to identify groups of users that match a complex set of conditions. Based on the information obtained, you can create new segments and use them with other methods in the Research tool and in other Google Analytics reports.
  5. User explorer. It's necessary to mark a certain group and explore data on the actions of individual visitors from it. This information helps you personalize your offers and understand and improve user journeys.
  6. Cohort exploration. To explore the dynamics of the behavior of groups of users of your site or application.
  7. User lifetime. A report to analyze the actions and transactions of visitors for the entire time they used your site or application.

Free Form Research in Google Analytics 4

This custom report it’s divided into three main parts:

  1. Variables: segments, dimensions, and metrics that can be used in a custom report. You can add multiple metrics and dimensions by clicking the "+" icon.
  2. Tab Settings: This is where you customize the layout of your report by adding charts and tables. You can choose from a variety of chart types and customize the appearance of your charts and tables. how the data used in the report will look.
  3. The result is a report generated based on your configuration.

The best way to explain the various components of a custom report in GA 4 is to show how to create a freeform exploration.


This is where you select the metric and dimension you want to include in your report. You need to choose the data you plan to use in the report:

1. Change the name of the exploration in the upper left corner of the interface.

2. To choose a different date range, click on the date in the upper left corner(below the name of the exploration) and select the desired one. For example,"last 7 days", "last 30 days", etc.

3. If you want to compare how different groups of your users/visitors behave, you should first include these segments in the Segments section. Click on the “+”icon:

4. Parameters and metrics.

Parameters in Google Analytics characterize events, products, transactions, and users.Basically, these are attributes that describe something. For example:

Metrics are quantitative values ​​that help you measure the data you need. Let's say how many events were registered yesterday, how many transactions were completed last week, and what was the conversion rate last month.

Here are some examples of metrics in GA 4:

To create your report, you must first include a dimension and/or metric in the Variables column. You can do this by clicking on the “+” icon and selecting what you need

After selecting the required metric/dimension, click the "Import" button in the upper right corner.

Some analysis methods do not allow you to use certain parts of the Variables section. For example, when creating another exploration - a Funnel exploration- there is no option to include/use metrics.

The "Variables" column is responsible for entering data. To use certain segments/metrics/dimensions, they must be included in this column. If you need to modify an existing report later, add new elements. You can also change the date range.

Tab Settings

In this column, you can configure how the report will look like.

1. First of all, it is necessary to determine the method - select "Free form" from the menu among the proposed reports.

2. The visualization section has the following options:

Each rendering method affects which customization options will be available in that same column. Most often, users choose a table, so I suggest considering it.

3. Comparison of segments include up to four segments here that are already listed in the Segments section of the Variables tab.

Add segments to the Tab Settings column by dragging them from the Variables tab. Or just double-click on the Variables tab and they will be added automatically. If at least one segment is added to the comparisons section, a new Summary field will appear. This field is responsible for placing segments in the table. It offers four options: first row, last row, first column, and last column.

4. Rows: depends on what dimensions you want to use in the rows of the table. For example, a country report contains the name of the country in each row

Optionally,multiple dimensions can be included in the strings. Then different combinationsof all dimensions will be displayed as separate components in rows. Forexample, add cities to the country report.

Additionally, you can choose which row to start with and how many rows to display at once.

If you're working with multiple dimensions, consider switching to inline strings that look like this.

This will make the report more visual.

5. Parameters are also added as columns. For example, the Device Category option.

6. Meaning: Here you can drag and drop the metrics you want to display as columns in the report. A maximum of 10 metrics in one report.

7. You can also choose the cell type:

8. Filters:. Lets you quickly narrow down the data you use. For example, exclude a certain event from the report. Click on the filter field and select the dimension you want to use in the filter.

Result (report)

After setting all the necessary elements in the "Variables" and "TabSettings" columns, a report should appear.

Add new tabs or duplicate them to it as needed. In each of them, there can be different reports — not only the exploration of a free form but also the funnel exploration, overlapping of segments, etc. You can also copy or delete them by clicking the triangle icon next to the tab name.

There is also an option of quick buttons: cancel, redo, share the report, and download the report.

In each cell of the report, there are additional functions that can be opened by clicking the right mouse button:

Include Selected Only- will add an "Include" filter (or multiple filters as needed) to the report based on which cell you clicked. For example, you can quickly narrow your report to users, events, etc.

Exclude Selected - will add an Exclude filter(or multiple filters as needed) to the report based on which cell you clicked.

If you've accidentally turned a filter on or off, remove those newly added filters in the Filters section of the Tab Settings column. Or click Cancel in the upper right corner of the report.

If you select the CreateSegment option, you’ll see the segment creation interface with some conditions. They will be pre-filled by the system.

The View Users option will open a report with the users that belong to that particular selection.

Just remember 

The creation of Custom Reports makes it possible to obtain and consolidate exactly the information necessary for your business, which significantly speeds up decision-making.

GoogleAnalytics 4 provides an extensive list of dimensions and metrics that can be included in reports. Also, don't forget about segments and filters.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how to use Freeform reports inGoogle Analytics 4. It may take some practice to get comfortable with creating custom reports, but with time and practice, you will become proficient at using this tool. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different approaches to see what works best for your needs. The more you use the Freeform report, the more familiar you will become with it, and the easier it will be to create custom reports that meet your specific needs.