How to nest two (or more) REPLACE functions in one Google Data Studio formula

11 October 2020

Recently I was working with a data source in Google Data Studio that needed a bit of tidying up. It was actually Google Analytics data, and the Event Action contained the html entities & and ' which needed to be replaced with the & and ' characters respectively.

I knew how to replace either one of those values using a calculated field:

  1. In Google Data Studio, go to Resource > Manage added data sources
  2. Click the EDIT action alongside the relevant data source
  3. Click ADD A FIELD
  4. Give my new field a name
  5. Use the REPLACE function in the formula to do something like this:

    REPLACE(Event Action,"&","&")

REPLACE in Data Studio

  1. Click Save

But how should I tackle the second replace? Well, one approach would be to create a second calculated field that uses my first calculated field as the input:

REPLACE(My Example Field,"&#039","'")

Second REPLACE in Data Studio

That works fine for two replaces, but what if I needed to make 20? Or 50? The more replaces I need, the less feasible it becomes to create and maintain a calculated field for each step.

The good news is that it is possible to nest REPLACE functions (and other functions) in Google Data Studio. So instead of the two-step process above, I could just use the following formula:

REPLACE(REPLACE(Event Action,"&","&"),"'","'")

Nested function in Data Studio

So you can see that within the one formula, the output of the & REPLACE then becomes the input for the ' REPLACE.

This seems pretty straightforward, but I couldn't find it documented anywhere on Data Studio Help so I thought I would share.

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