Filter the Filters!

Thursday 13 October, 2016

Hi all,

In this blogpost I want to share a little trick that I use in my current project. The scope of the project is the development of dashboards for senior managers in a multinational company. Senior managers, as you might know, are always short on time. In the valuable minutes shared with these managers, they were impressed by the dashboards (duh, they were developed in Tableau!) BUT they missed some insight. When I asked how they did their analysis, they simply said: “we have our main focus points that we always want to check. If something else comes to our attention (by middle management), we dig deeper”. So I started thinking on how to solve this problem. After some drafts and ideas, I came up with the following trick they actually really liked.

The upper management in a company looks at fixed focus points (f.e. total sales in France, the average discount in Italy for the consumer segment and the overall profit for Tables in Northern-Europe). It’s the middle management that digs deeper into the data to discover some issues.

I started by creating a parameter called ‘Viewpoint’ set as an Integer and renamed as below.

parameter that controls our filter


Afterwards, the viewpoints need to be created.

4 3 2

The next step is to create a new calculated field ‘Filter Parameter’.


Now it’s time to dashboard! Create graphs and let yourself go! Just always use the filter parameter as measure and apply the following filter over the whole data source.


When your awesome dashboard is developed, create a new, blank sheet like below.


Create a new parameter called ‘Custom Parameter’ with the following formula.


Add the following filter on the blank sheet that you have created and don’t allow the value NULL.


Now, it’s time to compose the dashboard and let the Tableau magic work! Create the dashboard of your dreams but keep a blank space somewhere on the dashboard. In my example, I’ve put it on the left.


Now add a floating Vertical format container to the dashboard the size of the blank area in your dashboard. Add the Viewpoint parameter to the format container followed by the blank sheet (make sure the blank worksheet is set on entire view!). After the blank sheet, you can add all the possible filters you want. It should look somewhat like this.


Now size the vertical layout box bigger than the height of your dashboard. If your dashboard is 800 high, make your vertical layout box 1000 high etc.


Now you should be able to show the different viewpoints in the dashboard. However, if the senior manager would like to dig a little deeper, this is also possible by selecting ‘Custom’. The quick filters pop up and get analyzing! I hope this can be of help. I know this helped me a lot the last couple of months.


You May Also Like

These Stories on Uncategorized