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Interactive Dashboards

Introduction: While giving presentations, it is very important for a presenter to keep people engaged and be curious about what you are presenting. End-user interactivity plays a key role here.

Tableau’s Filters, Parameters and Action features are very helpful to create interactive presentations.

ACTIONS in Tableau– It is so exciting to make our dashboards dynamic. Actions in dashboards are user interactive, where we can play with the data. By adding actions to your dashboards you can change the context of the data. It is used to Drill down and find relevant data.

With actions, we can also zoom into the data to know more about it.

There are 6 dashboard actions –



Go to URL

Go to Sheet

Change Parameter

Change Set Values

Let’s learn in detail about these actions.


This is the first and very useful action that we use almost every time. It is used to change the view/context of the data.

Example: When I click on a category, I should see its subsequent subcategory sales.

  • Here I used sample superstore data set. I created two worksheets, named them Category and Sub-Category. Dragged them into my dashboard as below.

  • Now, we can directly activate the filter action by clicking on this small funnel button that appears on top of the chart when selected.

  • Else we can go to the toolbar and click on Dashboard >> Actions >> Add Actions >> Filter

  • This Add filter action dialogue box is opened.

Source Sheets – On which sheet you are clicking for interaction.

Target Sheets – Which sheets are going to be filtered.

Hover – Works automatically when the cursor hovers on it.

Select – Activates the action with a click.

Menu – When we click on it, will get options where we can select to filter the data.

Clearing the selection - Controls what happens to the sheet that gets filtered.

Keep Filtered values – Leaves the filtered data till our next click.

Exclude all values Excludes the data and it appears only when it is selected.

After adding the required filter actions click on ok.

  • Now when we go back to our dashboard and click on any category, then it will only show related sub-category sales.

In this picture, I have selected Office supplies from Category which automatically filtered Subcategory sales in the targeted sheet.

Filters just focus on the data which we want to see.


Highlighting is like filtering the data. In Filters, only filtered data is shown whereas, in Highlighting, required data is highlighted fading others.

I am using the same (Category and Subcategory) worksheets to show Highlight action.

  • Create a dashboard using these worksheets and go to add actions >> highlight.

  • Add all required actions in add highlight action box as shown below and click ok.

  • When we go back to our dashboard and click on office supplies, its subcategory sales are highlighted in the targeted sheet fading all others.

Go to URL:

This action will open the Web browser when we click on it.

Example: When I click on a state, its information should be opened in the web browser.

  • To demonstrate this feature, I created a Map chart using the same superstore data set.

  • Create a new dashboard and drag is map into it.

  • For activating URL Action go to Dashboard >> Action >> Add action >> Go to URL >> Add URL

  • Here, I selected Run action on Menu and in URL, pasted this Wikipedia link which I copied from the net. As you can see this link is showing only California.

  • To open different browsers for different states, we should change the URLs. For this, we need to parameterize this URL with column names.

  • So, I added a <state> to the URL to parameterize that.

  • Go back to the dashboard, whenever you select any state in the map, it will show you a menu as a tooltip in which we can select any action from those options.

  • If you click on that Hyperlink, that will take you specified state web browser.

For Practice: You can also try dragging Webpage from Objects and setting the same URL. Then, you can have your webpage in your dashboard rather going to other pages.

Go to Sheet:

This action takes us to the desired sheet in the workbook. Basically, we can jump from one sheet to another sheet using this action.

Navigation in objects does the same thing.

Example: I want to go to the subcategory-wise sales sheet when I click on total sales.

  • Let’s create a new sheet that shows Total sales.

  • Add these Total sales and Category sheets to your dashboard.

  • Now click on dashboard >> actions >> add actions >> Go to Sheet.

  • Now when you click on that Total sales, Tableau will take you to the Subcategory sheet automatically.

These are four basic Tableau actions. Changes in Parameters and Sets are more complex and let's learn about them in my next Blog.

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