Filter/Parameter-Driven Highlight Boxes

Scenario: At work. Need to deliver a dashboard with various BANs and filters. Before you know it, you are acutely aware that your end user is going to immediately forget what filter they applied. What you want – something to “highlight” the BAN they are using as the filter, the total denominator, or the basis for some other portion of the measure.

Solution: A clever filter-driven highlight box.

Confession: I totally made this up on my own due to a business need/idea, but given the intelligence of the Tableau community, in now way am I likely the first person. But if I am, then Whoopee! Also, I’ve only used Superstore once, but pardon this terrible dashboard, but clearly I couldn’t share what I did at work. That would have been MUCH easier. Anyhow, this is an easy trick and I just figured I’d share because I found it useful. 🙂

Click on the image below to interact with or download the workbook.

Filter Highlight Box.png

The Steps

  1. Create your BANs (“Big Ass Numbers”) and other graphs that will be filtered based on the dimension or measure (depending) in your BANs. In my example, I have summary BANs for three measures: quantity, sales, and profit. My line graph then shows just one of those measures.
  2. Create a parameter if your view will use different measures (otherwise just use a filter and skip this step). In my example I created a parameter called “Select Measure” and then a calculated field called “Select Measure”. This is just the filter portion that changes the line graph above. I then drag that out unto my dashboard. If you are just using a dimensional filter, then add that to your sheet and put it on your dashboard.
    highlight box.PNG
  3. Create the Boolean (T/F) calculated fields for your highlight boxes. In my example, I created three, one each for quantity, sales, and profit. For example, the “Profit Box” calculation was: [Parameters].[Select Measure]=”Profit”.
  4. Create a sheet for each highlight box you need. For my Profit Box worksheet, I put my new “Profit Box” calculation on the details, change the mark to a square, increase the size to the max, and change the color to red. Then I placed the “Profit Box” calculation on the filter shelf and select “True.” I repeat that for each of my measures. Note: You will need to change your filter or parameter each time you make a new highlight box worksheet in order to be able to select “True” on the filter shelf.Highlight box2.PNG
  5. Back on the dashboard, add a horizontal container and place all three highlight box worksheets within it. Only one will be red and the rest blank. Using the floating options, place your three BANs centered over each of these three highlight boxes in the correct position (Profit BAN over the Profit Highlight Box, etc.).Highlight box3
  6. Ta-Da! Now you have a dynamic highlight box that will highlight the data that is being displayed in the line graph so your end user doesn’t forget what they are looking at! I think this is helpful for large presentations or on screens when perhaps people are not looking as closing at titles or axes labels. This helps draw their attention to what is being displayed below.

I hope this trick is helpful and useful! And if you know of a better way, let me know. This seems pretty easy, but I’m sure there are various ways to achieve the same end result.




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