Creating Actions In Tableau

n #TodaysTableauTip, I am going to look at some basic Dashboard Actions in Tableau. Hopefully this blog post will talk you through what they are, and how to create them. This is the first of a few in a series of blog posts around actions in tableau; I will start fairly simple, and get a bit more advanced over time.

So, what is an Action?

I’m sure there are tonnes of definitions out there, but for me an “action” in Tableau allows you to create interactivity within the report or dashboard you use. One of the great selling points for a tool like Tableau is the fact that you can create a report, publish it to users, and then give them the freedom to interact with it.

So, let’s look at creating some in Tableau.

As you can see from the below screen shots, I have two Tableau worksheets – one highlights the Total Sales by Year of Order Date, and the other highlighs Total Sales By Month of Order Date, with a colour legend of Year

Sales By Year

Sales By Month

Now, as a Tableau Developer, I can publish these sheets as is for my users to view, or, I can add a little bit of interactivity to the reports, and give my users a bit more control.

This is where “Actions” come into play.

·      Go to your “Sales By Year” worksheet

·      Click Worksheet in the top menu

·      Click Actions

·      You will end up with this window

·      Click on “Add Action”

·      You will see the following 3 options:

o   Filter

o   Highlight

o   URL

I will step slightly away from the creation of the action, just to explain what the above actions mean:

o   Filter Actions are used to send information between worksheets. Typically, you would select a mark on one sheet, and it will navigate to another sheet (with no filter applied, or the filter selected being applied)

o   Highlight Actions will allow you to “highlight” marks of interest by colouring them in, and fading the other, non selected marks.

o   URL Action – is a hyperlink that points to a web page, file, or any other wed-based resource outside of Tableau

Okay, back to creating the action, so we got to the following point:

·      You will see the following 3 options:

o   Filter

o   Highlight

o   URL

·      For the purposes of example – click on Filter, and you will see the following come up.

·      Name the Filter, I am going to call it “Year Filter”

·      Select your “Source Sheet” – I am selecting “Sales By Year”

·      Select your “Target Sheet” – I am selecting “Sales By Month”

·      Leave everything else as is, and click okay

Okay, so now you canplay and see what you action has actually produced.

Let’s go to our “Sales By Year” sheet, and click on a mark for a particular year – (say 2013). You’ll see a hyperlink come up in your tooltip with the action that you just created.

Click on it, and see what happens

You will see, that the button has triggered Tableau to navigate to the “Sales By Month” sheet and filter our bar graph for 2013 only (as that is the mark we selected).

And that’s it – you have now successfully created your first action – congratulations.

In the next post in this Series for Actions, I will delve a bit further into other use cases for actions. And also look at the difference between Menu, Select and Hover Actions. BUT until then – why don’t you have a play and let me know how you get on.



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