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Creating Filters with Actions on Dashboards

Product(s): Tableau Public, Tableau Desktop
Version(s): 7.0, 8.0, 8.1
Last Modified Date: 18 Mar 2015

Article Note: This article is no longer actively maintained by Tableau. We continue to make it available because the information is still valuable, but some steps may vary due to product changes.


When creating a dashboard, you may want to add a filter that applies to all views in the dashboard. One way to create this type of filter is to turn on a quick filter so that it appears in the dashboard, and then make it global. However, global filters also affect other worksheets and dashboards in the workbook. If you want the filter to apply only to a specific dashboard, you can create a control worksheet and then add a filter action that goes from the control to the other views in the dashboard.

The advantage of a filter action is that it can filter across multiple relational data sources at the same time. Multi-dimensional data sources (cubes) may require additional steps.

Create a control worksheet

This article uses the Sample - Superstore data source and assumes that you have already created a dashboard.

Step 1

Create a new worksheet.

Step 2

Drag a dimension to the Rows shelf and to Text. For example, use the Sub-Category field.

Step 3

Right-click the dimension on the Rows shelf and clear the selection for Show Header to hide the dimension header. Hiding the header gets rid of the column on the right in the view.

Step 4

Select Font on the Format menu and then select Sub-Category in the Format pane. Format the text to encourage users to interact with it. That is, format the items in the list to look like hyperlinks by changing the font color and adding an underline.

CreatingFiltersActionsDashboards_Control.png

Step 5

Right-click the blank area of the worksheet and select Title to display the title.

Step 6

Double-click the Title bar to open the Edit Title dialog box so you can give the worksheet an actionable title. For example, the title shown below is "Click a Sub-Category."

Create a filter action on the dashboard

Step 1

In Tableau Desktop 7.0 and later, select Dashboard New Dashboard.
In Tableau Desktop 6.1 and earlier, select Edit > New Dashboard

Step 2

Drag the control sheet you just created from the Dashboard pane to the dashboard. Make sure to position the sheet so others see it and know they should click there first.

Step 3

Select the control worksheet in the dashboard so that it is highlighted.

Step 4

On the dashboard view menu, select Use as Filter.

Now any selection on your control sheet modifies other views in the dashboard. Try it out in the view below by selecting a sub-category in the control sheet.

This type of filter action affects the underlying worksheets in Tableau Desktop. When the dashboard is published to Tableau Server or Tableau Public, the action applies only to the dashboard; the other worksheets are not changed.

Alternate Search Terms:actions, filter, dash, report
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