Using Parameters For Benchmarking Against Descriptive Statistics

So I hit a situation recently whilst with a client where we were trying to analyse a measure, for a one particular dimension, benchmarked against the overall Average / Quartiles etc (for all dimensions) - if that makes sense?

I will explain further by example, see below:

The above is looking at the Sum of Sales by Product Type. 

Now, I could easily compute the average and quartiles of this – as follows:

Note the averages and quartiles are just done through table calculations as follow:

  • Drag the measure you want in the view and click on the arrow to the right of the measure’s pill.

  • Then click on the aggregation you want and that's it!

Okay so back to the topic! So we were looking at this view:

Now say I wanted to show Actual Sales for the Product Type “Coffee” compared to these descriptive statistics (without actually having the Product Type in the view) how would I do this?


So I drag in Sum(Sales) to the view:

Now I need a way of filtering the Sum(Sales) to reflect the product type “Coffee”, but at the same time I want the Average, Lower and Upper Quartiles to remain unfiltered (so that it shows an overall benchmark).

Using simple filters here won’t work as the filter will apply to the whole sheet. So how to I get around this.

Parameters is the answer!

  • Right Click on Product Type in the Dimensions Shelf
  • Go to Create
  • Click on Parameter
  • The following will come up:

  • Click “OK”
  • You will then see your “Product Type Parameter” created in your parameters shelf on the bottom left of your Tableau window
  • Now, create a calculated field as follows:

  • And drag this field into the view
  • That’s it, you are done. Ensure your Parameter is selected on “Coffee”, and you should have a view like this:

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