How to: Drill Down Action Sets

by Jessica Palmer

One of the great features of Tableau is  how interactive you can made the charts. Today we shall explore how to incorporate one of these interactive features into your dataset by making a drill down using set actions. This enables the end user to switch between sets by simply click on them in the workbook/dashboard without having to use the manual filters It takes your graph from looking like this:

Bar Chart Displaying the Quantity of Sales by Category and Region with no Drill Down Action

To this:

Bar Chart Displaying the Quantity of Sales by Category and Region with Drill Down Action. A: No category has been selected so quantity is only broken down by category. B: The Technology category has been selected which activates the drill down set action to now display the quantity for each region for the Technology Category.

As you can see the graph with the drill action set is easier to comprehend and takes up less space. So how do you create this?


Step 1: Place Categories onto the Rows and Quantity into Columns.  This example shall be using the Superstore dataset included with Tableau so feel free to follow along if you can.

Step 2: Create a set. To create a set right click the category field, or whatever field you initial put into rows, and select Create. From create select Set.

In the create set window you click on select on list and remember to name it. This makes it easy to locate for later use and for remembering why it was created. In this example I have simply named it Category Set. This Set has effectively created a filter which can be manually changed by going into the set in tableau.


Step 3. Create Calculated field. Call it Category to Region and insert the following equation:

This calculation is stating that if within the Category Set a specific category has been selected then the quantity will be broken down by region as well. If the category has not been selected then no values shall be displayed by region for it. Once the calculation has been created drag it onto Rows next to Category.

Step 4. Create a set action. So far whilst we are able to select a category and get in broken down region it has to be done manually. By creating an action a simple click on the category will only be required. To  do this click Worksheet, at the top left of Tableau, and select action.

Within the Action Box click on Add Action and select Change Value Set:

Once within the action name it Category to Region Action and ensure that select has been chosen on Run Action on.  This ensures category selection is enabled through a mouse click. Once the Run Action on has been chosen go to the bottom of the pop up box to target set. Underneath Set select Category Set which links this action to that set.  Under Running the action will select Assign Values to Set, this will activate the Category to Region calculation. Finally under Clearing the Selection select Remove all values from the set. This will reset the chart to look like Figure 2a when no categories have been selected. Click ok.

And that is it. Well Done, you have created a Drill Down Action Set.

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Jessica Palmer

Mon 13 Sep 2021