The ability to filter records of interest is a core feature desired by dashboard users and analysts to discover insights across their datasets. To cater to this need, Tableau has a feature known as a filter action, which enables user interactivity and in-depth exploration of data in dashboards by filtering data from one worksheet or dashboard to another based on selected data marks. It is one of the most-used dashboard actions in Tableau and is an essential feature to be aware of.
In this guide, you will learn how to configure a filter action in your dashboard and its various use cases.
To configure a filter action on your dashboard:
Click Dashboard in the top menu and click Actions…. On the other hand, if you want to configure the filter action on your worksheet, click Worksheet in the top menu.
In the Action window that pops up, click Add action and then the Filter… option.
There are various options available in the Add Filter Action window that pops up for configuring the filter action as per your requirements:
1. Name: You can use a descriptive name for your filter action. For example: Click here to filter the table by State. This name is displayed in the on-click menu if Menu is selected as the Run action on option.
2. Source Sheets: In the Source Sheets section, you can choose whether the filter action should be initiated from specific worksheets or all of them. The list of worksheets belonging to a particular dashboard or data source can be viewed by selecting the data source or dashboard from the dropdown menu.
3. Target Sheets: In the same way, you can choose which worksheets should get affected by the filter action.
4. Target Filters: This section is meant for selecting whether all common fields or only specific selected fields are to be filtered in the target sheets.
5. Run action on: There are four ways to do this, any of which can be chosen to trigger the filter action:
6. Clearing the selection: There are three options to configure which action should take place once the user clears the filter by clicking on the whitespace in the viz.
Leave the filter: Once the filter is applied through the filter action, the filter doesn’t get cleared and only gets updated if the filter action is triggered again through other data points.
Show all values: The filter gets removed and all data points become visible back again as they were prior to applying the filter.
Exclude all values: The data view becomes empty as all values are excluded upon clearing the filter.
Filter action can also be configured by selecting the worksheet in the dashboard and clicking on the filter icon as shown below:
Another way to configure the filter action is by clicking on the Use as Filter option in the dashboard drop-down menu as shown below.
This generates a filter action with a default name and configuration options as show below:
Note: Make sure you rename the generated filter actions in a descriptive way so that they become more manageable and can easily be referenced by other Tableau developers at a later date.
There are two use cases for using filter actions:
The filter action can be configured on source and target worksheets that are present on the same dashboard. This enables the user to bring data points of interest into focus by filtering other data points on the dashboard.
If a source sheet is present on one dashboard and the target sheets are present on another dashboard, the user gets redirected to the second dashboard once the filter action gets triggered from the source sheet. This enables the user to do advanced data exploration across multiple dashboards.
Click here to access and download the dashboard shown above, which demonstrates the use of filter actions.
In this section, we’ll go through each chart to understand what insights are being reflected through the dashboard above and how the addition of a filter action on the dashboard can further help in filtering the data and bringing the user’s focus on the data points of interest.
This filled map reflects the overall profit ratio of the state by using a diverging color scheme, which is reflected by the color legend.
This is a scatter plot chart with states represented as data points based on their total sales and profit. The same diverging color scheme has been used as in the previous chart to reflect the overall profit ratio.
This is a ranked table of all states wherein the horizontal bars represent the sales amount in each category and the color represents the overall profit ratio.
There is also a horizontal stacked bar with the market segment names. This has been placed to act as a filter in case the user only wants to see the filtered statistics in the charts below for a particular market segment.
Clicking on Home Office triggers the filter action, which results in filtering out the data and revealing that Colorado has the lowest profit ratio of all states for the Home Office segment.
It can also be observed from the screenshot above how highlight actions can be used in coordination with filter actions to highlight points of interest.
In this guide, you learned about configuring filter actions for your dashboards and use cases for choosing the right configuration options. To learn more about other dashboard and worksheet actions available in Tableau and how they can be used simultaneously, feel free to check out this amazing course.