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Tableau: Use filter action field in calculations

There are often times that I produce dashboards for clients that ask me to breakdown their data further into the lowest level of granularity. I usually achieve this by using the Filter dashboard action as you can see in the Fig. 1 below.

Fig. 1: Dashboard showing breakdown of individual customers in Georgia and their order details.

I like to maximise the space that I have in my dashboard and only have the finer details to ‘pop up’ when the end user would like to see it. And then ‘disappear’ when they would like to resume viewing the whole dashboard as it was.
This is achieved by using the Exclude all values option in the Edit Filter Action window. So, when I select on a state in the map, or a bar in the right-hand side chart, I would like to have the table with the individual customers and their order details to ‘pop up’, and then ‘disappear’ when I click away.

Fig. 2: This is the configuration to show the breakdown of customer order details on the dashboard.


As mentioned above, I like to make dashboards that have the flexibility to drill down into the data to show more granular detail. I have a sheet that will only appear when the other two sheets in the dashboard filters to view it.

The issue is that when I clear the area to make the granular detail ‘disappear’, the sheet title remains as seen in Fig. 3 below.

Fig. 3: Clearing the sheet below with the customer details still leaves the worksheet title ‘BREAKDOWN’ on display.


I could always just hide the worksheet title so it never shows irrespective of whether the dashboard shows the finer details or not.

Fig. 4: Option to choose to hide the worksheet title.

However, there are some cases where it is important to see the worksheet title. It can be for simple reasons such as ‘the stakeholder wants to see the title‘.

To make this work, follow the steps below:

1. Go to the Breakdown worksheet. In the Filters pane you can see the filter action field there. This is the action that was produced in Fig. 2 above.

Fig. 5: You should be able to see the filter action field appear in the filter pane of the worksheet it is actioning on.

2. Create a calculated field with that field in the Filters pane as seen in Fig. 6 below.

IF [Action (Parameter - Choose Field,NULL Highlight,QUARTER(Order Date))] = TRUE




Fig. 6: Create a new calculated field called Title – Breakdown using the field in the action pane.

The calculated field above will display the BREAKDOWN text when the filter dashboard action is enabled. When the end user clicks off and disables the dashboard action, the calculated field will display a blank entry essentially making the text ‘disappear’.

3. Make a new worksheet and put the new calculated field [Title – Breakdown] onto the Text card in Marks pane.

Fig. 7: Put the new calculated field onto Text.

4. Make the desired formatting. In my case, I have made the text formatting font to Tableau Book and size 15.

Fig. 8: Format the text as you wish.

5. Now, go to your dashboard. Hide the sheet title of the worksheet with the breakdown values.

Fig. 9: Hide the title of that worksheet.

6. Add in the worksheet with the Title – Breakdown field on the dashboard just above the breakdown sheet.

Fig. 10: Add the Breakdown Title sheet onto the dashboard just above the sheet with the customer order information.

7. Update the filter action configuration from Fig. 2 to check the new worksheet that has been added in. This is so that that [Action (Parameter – Choose Field,NULL Highlight,QUARTER(Order Date))] field can appear in the filter pane of that worksheet for it to work.

Fig. 11: Check the new worksheet that has been added.

All set! The dashboard should work accordingly with the breakdown title only appearing when the end user chooses to view the granular information.

Fig. 12: The dashboard is dynamic to show the Breakdown sheet title only when the breakdown view is enabled.

If you would like to see how this dashboard was built then you can visit this link and download the workbook.

I hope you found this useful. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comment section below.

7 thoughts on “Tableau: Use filter action field in calculations

  1. Hi Seffana,

    Is it possible to use the exact value of action filter at run time and use it in calculations? In the approach you suggested, it just tells in True or false.
    I want to create a calculation that would vary based on whether the field value is “All” or not during an action filter

    Thanks in advance!

  2. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the size of my granular details sheet stays constant. How do I make sure that it ‘disappears’ like in your example?

  3. Hi… I am trying to do something similar. I have measure which has basically the value of 1/0 for an ID. one of the sheets I have built a crosstab based on overall parameters and the flag sums up and tells #ids under that flag.. now i want to see the details of aggregated number I select. can you help with this?

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