June 7, 2012
Create a global filter in Tableau across multiple data sources in eight simple steps
Global filters in Tableau are often one of your best friends, especially when building interactive dashboards that span multiple worksheets. However, if you have multiple data sources and multiple worksheets, global filters do not apply to all of your worksheets.
Yes, you can use actions, but this can easily become confusing for the user when switching worksheets. But wouldn’t it be great to have a global filter work across all of the data sources? Use this technique and you’ll get what you always hoped for.
In this example, assume you have three disparate data sources each with its own dashboard.
There is also a dimension named Location in all of the data sources. Note that this dimension does not have to be named the same in every data source for this technique to work.
At this point, if I add the Location dimension to the Sales worksheets and set it to a global filter, the filter will not get applied to the Shipping and Capacity dashboards because they are not from the same data source.
To make a “global filter” apply to all of the dashboards/worksheets, follow these steps.
Step 1 – Drag the Location dimension onto the filter shelf of one worksheet for each data source and choose the Use All option.
Step 2 – Make the Location field a Global filter on each data source
Remember, you must repeat steps 1 & 2 for one sheet of each data source.
Step 3 – Create a parameter named Location (or any name you’d like) with the following settings.
Of course, your list of values will need to be relevant to your data.
Step 4 – Create a calculated field that will determine if the Location dimension equals the value chosen in the Location parameter.
Step 5 – Copy/Paste this formula across all of the data sources. You should now have the Location Flag calculated field in the Dimensions list of each data source.
Step 6 - Drag the Location Flag dimension onto the filter shelf of one worksheet for each data source and choose True.
Step 7 – Make the Location Flag a Global filter on each data source
Step 8 – Show the Location parameter in each dashboard and place it on the dashboard wherever you prefer.
The Location parameter now acts like a Compact List quick filter. Your final workbook should look like this:
Choose a different Location, then flip to another tab. You will see the dashboard update based on the new Location. Change it back if you don’t believe me.
In this example, I did not want to allow the user to pick “All” as an option in the Location parameter. Instead I wanted them to be forced to pick only one Area. You could include an All option through a few more calculated fields.