Data Viz Done Right

May 2, 2013

Tableau Tip: Creating a primary group from a secondary data source


Mike Roberts, our Tableau consultant from InterWorks was helping one of our users last week and sent along a great tip for creating a field in your PRIMARY data source with a field in your SECONDARY data source.

Step 1: Add ‘Helper’ sheet and drag desired field from your PRIMARY source on to the ROWS shelf.


Step 2: Add matching field from SECONDARY data source and nest it next to the existing field on the ROWS shelf.


Step 3: Right-click the SECONDARY field on the ROWS shelf and select ‘Create Primary Group’.



NOTE: make sure you check the Include ‘Other’ check box

Step 4: Verify the group is now in your PRIMARY data source.

That’s it! You no longer need to blend or use the SECONDARY SOURCE field.

There is one gotcha to be aware of: If a record is added to the dimension you’re grouping in the primary data source, a new person in this example, you will have to regenerate the group or the new person will automatically get put into the “Other” group.  Creating a primary group does not dynamically update.


  1. This just made my day... maybe even my week, month and quarter!


  2. Thanks for drawing attention to this feature. We've covered it in our KB article below, but it hasn't gotten as much attention as I would have hoped. Note that you can use a similar technique to mass-apply aliases, which is the "Edit Primary Aliases..." menu item above the one for creating groups.

    Here's the KB article I mentioned:


  3. So cool. I totally needed this today. The secondary data source was only there to help group a lot of codes together and manually grouping them would not have happened. Leaving it in the secondary meant no action filters, no, it's no problem! THANK YOU!

    1. Awesome Robert! I'm happy it helped you!

  4. hi,

    I have trouble in creating a report.

    Table Name : Country
    Column 1 : state
    Column 2:city
    when I do a filter in state, say enter california...i should see of filter all the city in california...
    How do I do this?