Monday, January 28, 2013

Working with Quick Filters in Tableau

Before we start with the post, I would like to mention a change in terminology that I hope doesn't confuse too many people.  What I had previously been calling "Panes" are actually called "Shelves."  In Tableau, a "Pane" refers to a specific combination of a row field and column field.  From now on, they will be referred to as "Shelves."  I apologize for any confusion this may cause.

Now, on with the post.  Today, we will look at "Quick Filters" in Tableau.  A Quick Filter is nothing more than a regular filter that can be dynamically altered via a card on the screen.  Traditionally, you set a filter on the filter shelf and it's done.  If you want to change it, you have to open up the filter and change it there.  Quick Filters allow you to change the filter on the fly, which adds for quite a bit of simple user interaction.  Let's see an example where this comes in handy.  As usual, we will use the Superstore Sales sample data set in Tableau.

Step 1:
  • Create a Worksheet
Order Quantity by Region
Step 2:
  • Add "Category" to the "Filters" Shelf
  • Select every "Category" in the filter.
  • Right-Click on "Category", Select "Show Quick Filter"
Order Quantity by Region (with Category Quick Filter)
Now, you can select whichever Categories you want and your graph will be automatically filtered.  By clicking on the Arrow in the Top-Right Corner of the Quick Filter Card, you can change the way the Quick Filter works.  First, you can change whether the filter is applied to the database, context, or only relevant values (We'll discuss this more in a later post about different types of filters).  You can also change whether it is an inclusion or exclusion filters.  Lastly, you can change the way the card is displayed.  Quick filters are another one of the simple features of Tableau that adds an incredible amount of usability.  Finally, I will leave you with a more elaborate way to use a quick filter to emulate a page.

Step 3:
  • Drag "Order Quantity" From the "Text" Shelf to the "Rows" Shelf
  • Remove "Region" From the "Rows" Shelf
  • Remove "Category" from the "Filters" Shelf
  • Add "Order Date" to the "Filters" Shelf
  • Select "Relative Date" from the Pop-Up Window
  • Select the "Years" Box
  • Set the "Anchor Date" to be any day in "2009"
  • Select the "Next 3 Years" Bubble
  • Show the Quick Filter
Order Quantity by Year (with Anchored Year Quick Filter)
Now, you can scroll through years just like you could with a page.  As you can see, there are an incredible number of possibilities if you use a little creativity when creating your visualizations.  You should try adding custom calculations and parameters to your filters.  Thanks for reading.

Brad Llewellyn
Associate Consultant
Mariner, LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment