How to: Dimension Drill down with Parameter Actions

by Matthew Armstrong

Parameter Actions introduce a huge number of possibilities when it comes to dashboard interaction. One use-case is the ability to drill down into a dimension by clicking on the view, letting the user explore the data in more detail, whilst keeping Viz clutter to a minimum. While this was possible with Set Actions, I personally find it much quicker and simpler with Parameter Actions.

To see how we can make this, we’re going to jump into the Sample Superstore Data. We have a simple Bar chart with the sum of Sales across each region:

We want to be able to click on a region and drill down to see the total sales for each state within the region.

The first step is to create our parameter, which we’re using to drive the dynamic selection.
We want it to take the same data-type as our region field (string in our case), and we want to select the All Allowable Values option so the parameter can take any value we click on when we add our Action:

Next, we want to create the calculation that will determine the level of detail of the bars in the view:

This basically says: “if we select a Region, we want the States in that Region to be the level of detail. Otherwise, we want the Regions to be the level of detail”.

Next, we want to create the label calculation that tells us which level we’re at:

This basically says: “if the region is selected, return the state, else return a blank”.

We can then change the detail calculation to a geographic role based on the State field and put it on the detail shelf (and add our label calc to the rows)them in the view to set up our chart for the Action:

We now set up our Action to work when we select a Region, choosing to update the Region Parameter using our Region to State calc (detail calc) to update the parameter:

And we’re done. All we need to do now is format our chart with some colour in order to make the drill-down really stand out:

Dynamic drill downs are just one of the many use cases for parameter action, and really help give your Dashboard a polished viewing experience. Hopefully this blog helps you understand how to create them and what’s going on in Tableau in the background!

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