Two ways to stop users clicking where you don't want them to

by Ali Agah

Sometimes there are items on the dashboard that you just don't want your users to interact. Here I teach you two tricks I learned from Andy's channel.

Example use case

For me, this is usually the case when I'm trying to pass off a worksheet as a text box or image. For example, for this week's Makeover Monday, I created a title which changed depending on the year selected (see below).

To make the title dynamic, I created a text chart on a worksheet, turned off tooltips and floated it in. The problem was that users can click on the title to highlight the worksheet (see below)... the magic is gone.

I found two ways to fix this:

1) Trick Tableau with a filter action

This method is harder but has only one setback that I know of. It's not  

Step 1: create a Dummy calculation as shown and put it in the details field of the relevant worksheet.

Step 2: Go to dashboard actions and create a filter action.

Step 3: Set up the action as you see below. The Source Sheet is the relevant worksheet in the dashboard and the Target Sheet is the worksheet itself. Run action as select and show all values.

Finally add a Target Filter which states the Dummy field equals any other field. Click OK and users can no longer click on the sheet!

Why this works

I believe this works because worksheet interactivity is the last step in Tableau's order of operations. So when I create a filter which cannot be true (i.e. the Dummy field is never equal to the other field you select), the filter is attempted before the highlighting.

Since the filter cannot make changes, the user doesn't notice a difference.

To the user, the worksheet is a text box.

A caveat

I've noticed that the second method quickly becomes complex once you use it more than once in a dashboard.  You can easily end up with filters that don't work without you knowing why.

That's why if you're making multiple sheets static, you may want to use the second method.

2) Place a blank on top

You can simply float a blank on top by shift+clicking in the object menu and dragging it where you need.

The problem is, in my experience, floats tend to move around on their own. The only way to prevent it is by overlaying another dashboard-sized container. But that's overkill because then you can't have interactivity anywhere.

That's why I use the first method whenever I can.