Report Displaying Exactly How You Want It? Save It as a Shortcut

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Shorcuts preserve report settings.

If you’ve applied any special report settings that you want to easily access again, you can save a shortcut. In this way, shortcuts are somewhat akin to custom reports, in that they preserve specific report settings.

Shortcuts save the report as configured with any of the following features:

advanced segments

secondary dimension

• table filters, default and advanced

• table sorting by column

Comparison, Percentage, and other display types

One point to note is that shortcuts are not available under Share Assets in the view admin. Although it certainly would be useful to share shortcuts, advanced segments are created on a user-by-user basis, so the other GA users with whom you’d want to share the shortcut would not necessarily have all the necessary dependencies to recreate the shortcut configuration on their end.

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Table Filters are Interpreted as Regular Expressions, So You Must “Escape” Question Marks

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Table filters are interpreted as regular expressions.

Though it’s not indicated anywhere in the interface, the table filter field in Google Analytics reports is interpreted as a regular expression (or “regex” for short).

In regex notation, there are two types of characters: literal characters and metacharacters. If you’re trying to filter your Pages report to display pages that contain article.aspx?id=, you must “escape” the question mark with a \ character so the ? acts as a literal character. Otherwise, the ? will be interpreted as metacharacter – specifically, a quantifier meaning zero or one of the previous character.

To further illustrate, if you enter article.aspx?id= into the filter field, you’ll match any pages that contain article.aspid= or article.aspxid=, but not article.aspx?id=, since the question mark is interpreted as a regular expression metacharacter and not as a literal. If you enter article.aspx\?id= into the filter field, you’ll match any page that contains article.aspx?id= since the question mark is now interpreted literally.

By escaping the question mark, we “escape” interpretation of the character following the \ as a regex metacharacter and allow it to act as a literal character.

Note as well that in proper regex notation, all literal . characters are also escaped so they’re not interpreted as the wildcard metacharacter that matches any single literal character. The filter article.aspx\?id= would also match pages that contained articlesaspx?id= and article-aspx?id= because the . is acting as a metacharacter. To restrict the match to article.aspx\?id=, you’d need to also escape the . as in article\.aspx\?id= and thereby force the . to be interpreted literally.

Don’t feel that you need to memorize regular expression notations. Know the principles, and download a cheat sheet at:

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