Is Profit Ratio Influenced by Quantity?

For this week’s challenge, Ann asked we recreated a scatter plot that ‘on click’ became a connected scatter plot and also displayed an ‘insights’ box to the user.

Building out the data

The scatter plot is to show Profit Ratio by Quantity, so first up we need

Profit Ratio


formatted to percentage with 0 dp.

A mark is shown on the scatter plot per Category and Month/Year. When working with dates like this, I often prefer to created a dedicated field to use as an ‘exact date’ which I can then format. So I built

Month Year

DATE(DATETRUNC(‘month’,[Order Date]))

and formatted it to the March 2001 format (ie mmmm yyyy).

We’re also going to need a set based on the Category field, as that is going to drive the interactivity to help us connect the dots ‘on click’. So right click on Category and Create Set and just tick one of the categories displayed for now.

Selected Category

Let’s build these out into a table as follows

  • Order Date to Filter, filtered by years 2018 & 2019
  • Category, Selected Category & Month Year (exact date , discrete) onto Rows
  • Measure Names to Text and Filter to Quantity & Profit Ratio
  • Right click on Selected Category and select Show Set to display a selection control to easily allow the set values to be changed

To help drive the interactivity, we’re going to need to store the value of the Profit Ratio for the Selected Category in the set.

Selected PR

IF ATTR([Selected Category]) THEN [Profit Ratio] END

Format this to percentage 0 dp too, and add this to the table – it will only display the profit ratio against the rows associated to the category in the set

At this point, we’ve got what we need to build out the scatter plot, but I’m going to continue to create the fields needed for the ‘Insights’ piece.

These are looking for the months that contained the Max & Min values for the Profit Ratio and Quantity. I’m going to tackle this with Table Calcs.

Max PR per Category

WINDOW_MAX([Profit Ratio])

Adding this to the table, and setting the table calculation to compute by Month Year only, gives us the Max Profit Ratio for each Category

We need 3 more fields like this :

Max Qty per Category


Min PR per Category

WINDOW_MIN([Profit Ratio])

Min Qty per Category


Add all these to the table, setting the table calc in the same way as described above.

Now we know what the min & max values are, we need to know the month when these occurred.

Max PR Month

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Selected Category]) AND [Profit Ratio] = [Max PR per Category] THEN MIN([Month Year]) END)

Format this to March 2001 format.

If the category is that selected, and the profit ratio matches the maximum value, then retrieve the Month Year value, and duplicate that value across all the rows (this is what the outer WINDOW_MAX does).

Add this to the table in the Rows, and adjust the table calc settings for both the nested calculations to compute by Month Year only. The month for the selected category which had the highest profit ratio will be displayed against all rows for that category, and null for all other rows.

Again we need similar fields for the other months

Max Qty Month

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Selected Category]) AND SUM([Quantity]) = [Max Qty per Category] THEN MIN([Month Year]) END)

Min PR Month

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Selected Category]) AND [Profit Ratio] = [Min PR per Category] THEN MIN([Month Year]) END)

Min Qty Month

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Selected Category]) AND SUM([Quantity]) = [Min Qty per Category] THEN MIN([Month Year]) END)

Format all these too, and add to the table with the appropriate table calc settings applied.

If you now change the value in the the Selected Category set, you should see the table update.

Building the Scatter Plot

On a new sheet, build out the basic scatter plot by

  • Order Date to Filter, filtered by years 2018 & 2019
  • Profit Ratio to Rows
  • Quantity to Columns
  • Category to Colour and adjust accordingly
  • Month Year exact date, continuous to Detail
  • Change Shape to filled circle
  • Adjust the Tooltip to suit
  • Change the axis titles to be capitalised
  • Change the sheet title
  • Remove all row/column borders & gridlines. Leave the zero lines and set the axis rulers to be a sold grey line

Add Selected PR to Rows, and change the mark type of that card to line, and add Month Year to path. In the image below, I still have Furniture selected in my set.

Add Month Year to the Label shelf too and format so the text is smaller and coloured to match mark colour

Make the chart dual axis, synchronise the axis and remove the Measure Names from the colour shelf of each mark. Hide the Selected PR axis.

If you now change the selected set value, you can see how the other categories ‘join up’.

Building the Insights Box

Take a duplicate of the data table built originally, and add Selected Category to Filter. If you’ve still got an entry in your set, this should reduce the rows to just those records for that Category.

Remove the fields Profit Ratio, Quantity, Selected PR from the Measure Values section, and remove Selected Category from Rows.

Create a new field

Index = Size


and add this to the Filter shelf, setting the value to true.

The INDEX() function will number each row, the SIZE() function will number each row based on the total number of rows displayed (ie all rows will display the same number), so INDEX()=SIZE() will return true for the last row only

Now we’ve only got 1 row displayed, we’ve got the info we need to build the data in the Insights box by

  • Move Month Year to Detail
  • Category to Colour
  • Move Max PR Month, Max Qty Month, Min PR Month, Min Qty Month to Text
  • Move Max PR per Category, Max Qty per Category, Min PR Per Category, Min Qty per Category to Text

This will probably show duplicate instances of the values. This is because we didn’t fix the table calculation setting of the Index=Size field. Edit that to compute by Month Year

and then re-edit the Index=Size filter to just be true again, and expand the display so you can see all the values.

Now you can easily format the Text to the required display

I used this site to get the bullet point image from

Building the dashboard & interactivity

Add the scatter plot to the dashboard, and remove the legends that automatically get added.

Float the Insights sheet and position bottom right, remove the title. fit entire view, and also remove the colour legend which will have been added.

Add a dashboard Set Action to assign values to the Selected Category set and remove all values when the selection is cleared

Additionally, add a highlight action that highlights the Category field only (this keeps the lines highlighted on selection of a single mark).

Now practice clicking on and off marks on the scatter plot and you should see your lines & insights box being added and removed.

Finally add the title and header line by adding a vertical container at the top above the scatter plot.

Add a text box for the title, and underneath add a blank object.

Set the padding of the blank object to 0 and the background to black. Then edit the height to 4, and adjust the height of the container if it’s now too large.

Make adjustments to the position of the floating insights box if need be so it isn’t overlapping any axis.

And that should be it! My published viz is here.

I’ll be taking a break for a couple of weeks, so will be on catch up when I return from some R&R.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you create a drill down using set actions?

For week 30, #WorkoutWednesday alumni Emma Whyte returned re-posting this challenge which was originally set in Week 41 of 2017 (see here). The idea behind this was to see how the challenge could be achieved using features that have been released since that challenge – in this case set actions.

I’ve been doing the #WorkoutWednesday challenges since they were first introduced, so I completed the original challenge, which is posted here.

Despite it being over 2 1/2 years ago, I had a strong recollection as to what was required to achieve this. So the challenge I set myself, was to recreate without looking at my own solution.

Building out the data

This is one of those challenges where we can build the data out into a table to check the functionality before building the actual viz. I always like to do this where possible, as I find it a good reference to make sure I’m getting the logic & the calculated fields I need right.

Start by adding State & City to Rows and add Sales & Profit via Measure Names on Columns .

As the challenge is to use Set Actions, then naturally, we’re going to need a Set. The Set we need is based on State with the idea being that when there is a State(s) in the set, then the City will display instead.

Selected State

Right click on State and Create -> Set. Select an option in the dialog, eg Alabama say

We will need to show the marks based on State or City depending on whether a State has been selected or not. We need a single field that we will use in the viz that displays the dimension we need to show

Display Value

IF [Selected State] THEN [City] ELSE [State] END

Add this onto the Rows and you’ll see how this is working

We can test the functionality of putting values into and out of the set without the need for the dashboard action at this point, by right-clicking on Selected State and selecting Show Set – the list of set values to select will display (a bit like a filter list).

We need a way to figure out what rows to show – how to identify whether there’s anything selected in the set.

Count States Selected

{FIXED : COUNTD(IF [Selected State] THEN [State] END)}

By being an LOD, this will set the count of the items in the set across all the rows in the data. Add to the sheet so you can see how this works

So we want to show information when either there isn’t anything in the set, or for the rows associated to the Selected States only

Records to Show

[Count States Selected] = 0 OR [Selected State]

Add this to Rows and test out… with no State in the set, all the rows are True

but with a State selected, only the rows associated to that State are True

But we seem to have too many marks showing when there’s nothing in the set….?

That’s fine.. just take City out of the view now, and if you deselect all States you should get the 48 rows we’re going to start with listed, and all are Records to Show = True. The Sales & Profit values will also now be aggregated to the appropriate level.

Building the Viz

Ensure your Selected States set is empty, and build out the scatter plot

  • Profit on Columns
  • Sales on Rows
  • Display Value on Detail & Label
  • Records to Show on Filter set to True
  • Mark Type = Shape set to x

Verify the functionality by clicking a State in the list, and the view should change to show the City.

We need to colour the marks based on Profit

-ve Profit?


Add this to the Colour shelf and adjust colours accordingly.

Finally we need to look at how the title/subtitle changes based on which level we’re at.


IF [Count States Selected] = 0 THEN ‘Sales vs. Profit by State’
ELSE ‘Sales vs. Profit for ‘ + [State]


IF [Count States Selected] = 0 THEN ‘Select a state to drill down to city level’
ELSE ‘Double-click a city to drill up to state level’

Add these onto the Detail shelf, then they’ll be available to reference in the Title of the sheet.

And then adjust the Tooltip, and we’re pretty much ready to go.

Adding the Set Action

Create a dashboard and add the scatter plot sheet to it.

Add a dashboard action to Change Set Values which runs on the Select action, and assigns values to the Selected State. On clearing the selection, values are removed from the set.

And that should pretty much be it. My published version is here. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘throwback’ to previous challenges, and would like to see this theme continue on occasion.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe


Can you add and remove items from a set?

Lorna set a fun ‘create your own pizza’ challenge this week to demonstrate the ability to both add and remove items in a set via the use of Set Actions, a feature introduced in v2020.2 (so you’re going to need this to complete the task).

There’s essentially 5 components to this dashboard, which I’ll guide you through

  • The central bar chart
  • The graphical product type selector on the left
  • The list of selected products to the right
  • The actual vs budget bar at the top
  • An indicator of how much you’re over/under budget

Central Bar Chart

The essence of this is a simple Type, Product by Price bar chart, coloured by Type. Manually move the Type field so the ‘Size’ option is at the top.

To indicate if the product is vegetarian or not, we create

Veg Indicator

IF [Vegetarian] = ‘Yes’ THEN ‘●’ ELSE ” END

which we can add to the Row shelf, and format to be coloured green (I use this site to get the shapes).

The tick is used to indicate if the product has been added to the pizza or not. Selected items will be identified by the use of a set, so we need to create one. Right-click Product and Create->Set. Tick a few options.

And similar to the Veg Indicator we can build

Selected Product Indicator

IF [Selected Products] THEN ‘✔’ ELSE ” END

Add this to the Row shelf between Type and Product.

The order of the Products listed will change. I want it to be ordered alphabetically by Product within each Type. The quickest way to resolve this, was to duplicate the Product field, add it to the Rows between the Type and Selected Product Indicator pills, and then hide it.

The final requirement for this chart, is to highlight the selected products in a different shade of the ‘base’ colour.

Add Selected Products to the Detail shelf, then change the … detail icon to the left of the pill to the colour icon. This will mean there are 2 pills on the Colour shelf, and the colour legend will change. Adjust to suit

The chart just then needs formatting to add the Price to the Label of the bar, remove the row/column lines, hide the Type column, hide the field labels, hide the axis, and adjust the width of the columns.

Product Type Selector

Lorna provided the images needed for this, which need to be saved to a new folder in the Shapes directory of your My Tableau Repository. I called my new folder simply Custom.

Then on a new sheet, add Type to Rows, set mark type to Shape and add Type to shape too.

Hide the Type heading and remove the row lines.

Selected Products List

Add Type & Product to Rows and enter MIN(1) onto the Columns. Add Selected Products to the Filter shelf to restrict the list just to those in the set.

Add Type to Colour and Product to Label, changing the font to white and centring. Fix the axis from 0-1 and hide it. Hide the Type & Product columns.

Manually reorder the Type field to be listed Size -> Crust -> Sauce -> Toppings

Actual vs Budget Bar

The budget field can be changed by the user, so we need a parameter, Budget, for this, which is an integer parameter where the display is formatted to £ with 0dp, and defaulted to 15.

Create the bar by adding Price to Columns, Selected Products to Filters and Type to Colour. Reorder the items in the colour legend to get the colours displaying in the correct order with ‘Size’ on the left and ‘Toppings’ on the right.

Add the Budget parameter to the Detail shelf, then add a Reference Line which refers to the Budget. Adjust the label displayed to be custom as shown below, and format the thickness and colour of the line to suit

Format the reference line so the text is displayed at the top right, and edit the font & size of the label displayed.

Then make the row height of the chart taller, but adjust the size of the bar to be narrower. The reference line spans the whole height of the row, so reducing the height of the bar itself provides space for the label to display without overlapping the bar.

Hide the axis and remove gridlines etc.

Finally we need to display the total price of the products selected. We can’t just add Price to Label as there are multiple segments on the bar, and this will display a Price per Type.

Instead we need a new field

Total Price Selected Products

{FIXED [Selected Products]:SUM([Price])}

Since this chart is filtered by Selected Products = True, this returns the total price of all the items in the set (selected). Add this to the Columns shelf and make dual axis & synchronise axis.

Readjust the mark types, so the Price marks card is back to a bar, and the Total Price Selected Products is Text. Remove the Measure Names pill from the Colour shelf of both cards (the dual axis will have automatically added it), and also remove the Type pill from the Colour shelf of the Total Price Selected Products card. Instead, add Total Price Selected Products to the Text shelf of this card.

The text will overlap the bar whether you align left , middle or right. The trick is to add some spaces in front of the text and then align right.

Hide the axis.

Over / Under Budget Indicator

This is just a text display, but a few calculated fields are needed so the text can be coloured differently depending on whether it’s over or under.

First we need to know the difference from budget

Diff from Budget

[Budget]-[Total Price Selected Products]

Text Budget Diff Over

IF [Diff From Budget] < 0 THEN ABS([Diff From Budget]) END

This will just display the difference if the value is negative, but the ABS function will return the number as a +ve. This field should be formatted to £ with 2 dp.

Text Budget Diff Under

IF [Diff From Budget] >= 0 THEN [Diff From Budget] END

This will just display the difference if the value is positive. Format to £, 2 dp.

Only one of these fields will ever hold a value at any time.

Similarly we need fields to show the text to display.

Over Budget Text

IF [Diff From Budget] < 0 THEN ‘Over Budget’ END

Under Budget Text

IF [Diff From Budget] >= 0 THEN ‘Under Budget’ END

On a new sheet, add Selected Products to the Filter shelf, then add all four of the above fields to the Text shelf.

Adjust the order and colour of the fields in the Label editor, setting the fields related to being ‘over budget’ to red and the ‘under budget’ fields to green.

Now we’ve got all the building blocks, we can put it all on a dashboard.

Building the dashboard interactivity

Add all the sheets in their various locations. Most were tiled, except for the Budget parameter and the Over/Under Budget Indicator sheet, which I floated.

Filter the bar chart

Add a dashboard Filter Action to filter from the Type Selector sheet to the Product Bar Chart on select, filtering on the Type field only.

Add / Remove from Set

Add a dashboard Set Action to the Chart sheet that runs from the Menu, and adds the selected item to the Selected Products set.

Create another Set Action on the same chart, which removes values instead.

And that’s the main crux of the challenge. The only addition is ‘nice’ feature to avoid the item selected from being shown as selected (ie fading out all the other items in the chart).

I reverted to the trusty true = false dashboard action which I applied to the Selector chart and the Selected Items chart.

This involves creating 2 new fields True = True and False = False and adding these to the Detail shelf of the relevant chart.

A dashboard Filter action is then added which targets itself using the fields True = False

However, when I tried to add this same feature to the main bar chart itself, the bar chart stopped working as expected. I think there was conflict between there being 2 filter actions on the same chart. I have to admit, this is where I did check Lorna’s solution, as this was a small feature that really bothered me, and I didn’t want to publish without it.

It turns out she simply used a highlight action to resolve this

I vaguely recall using this sometime ago, but the ‘true=false’ concept has become so ingrained as my ‘go to’ method, that I struggled to think of this.

And that should be it. You now have the tools to customise your own pizza 🙂

My published viz is here. Enjoy!

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Profitability Spotlight – is your budget recovered?

For week 22 of #WOW2020, Ivett Kovacs set her first challenge as a guest poster.

At first glance it looked like it would be tricky, and it was! There were many head-scratching moments as I made my way through this, and I couldn’t complete it all without having to look at Ivett’s solution – more on that later.

Understanding the data

First up, a word on the data provided, as the requirements weren’t as clear as I’d have liked.

Ivett provided a small custom data set to build this challenge on

It contains 2 rows for each Sub-Category. The value to be plotted for Review is evident on the challenge – it’s an average. But the aggregation for Revenue & Budget isn’t that obvious, as there is no direct indication on a label or in the tooltip. Should the values be summed or averaged, or a combination of both?

The Profit value in the tooltip is the only clue you have. The Profit value for Tables is -$60, the value for Chairs is $50. From examining the values in the data, the assumption is Profit = AVG(Revenue) – AVG(Budget), so the values to plot for Budget and Revenue need to be averaged.

The assumption is this data set is a combination of a two datasets; one containing the Revenue & Budget per Sub-Category

the other containing the customer reviews

So when it comes to the viz, we’re looking to plot based on the following data

Understanding what numbers I need to be aiming for when doing these challenges is crucial to me to ensure I’m heading down the right path 🙂

Duplicating the Data

The key thing to realise about this chart is that the right hand line is a fake axis; ie not an axis at all, just a vertical line located so that it looks like it is an axis.

What we actually need to do is build a triangle for each Sub-Category, where each point of the triangle is a different (x,y) coordinate. This means we need 3 rows of data per Sub-Category, 1 row to represent each point being plotted.

So for this we need to Union the data twice, so there are 3 instances of the data – drag another instance of the table into the data pane and drop when the Union option appears. Do this twice.

The union duplicates the rows of data, and each set is identifiable by an automatically generated Table Name field containing values WW, WW1,WW2

Defining the points of the triangle

As I said above, we need to build a triangle for each Sub-Category, where each point of the triangle is a different (x,y) coordinate.

At point 1, we’re going to plot our Review value. At point 2, we’re going to plot our Revenue value, and Budget will be at point 3.

From the diagram above, you can see our x coordinates are one of two numbers, either 0 or x1 (ie the x coordinate for the Revenue & Budget points is the same).

The y coordinates vary per measure, and need to be ‘normalised’ to a common scale, as otherwise, the Revenue & Budget figures would be plotted significantly higher than the Review values (you might find this blog by Zen master Jonathan Drummey useful at this point).

When normalising, you’re typically looking to convert your values to a scale from 0-1; this means the values aren’t plotted at their absolute values, but are still plotted in the same relative order to each other ie lowest value at the bottom, highest at the top.

When normalising a set of values from 0 to 1, your lowest value would typically be at the 0 position , with your highest value at the 1 position. To calculate where your value would sit on this scale, you need to know 3 numbers; the value to convert, the maximum value in the range of values to plot and the minimum value in in the range of values to plot. The normalised value is then :

(Current value – min value) / (max value – min value)

ie the difference between your value and the lowest as a proportion of the difference between the whole range.

However, in this instance, I chose to simplify the normalisation, and my method only works due to the values in the example data provided.

Side Note I consider Revenue & Budget to be values that are directly related to each other ie if Budget = Revenue I’d expect them to be plotted at the same point. I therefore chose to normalise these values across the combined range. This gave me different results from the solution, where Budget and Revenue were normalised independently of each other.

The maximum average review value is 5, the maximum value for budget and revenue combined is 100. As 100 is exactly 20 times bigger than 5, I simply chose to normalise the revenue/budget values to be on a scale of 0-5 instead, rather than normalising all values (Review, Budget & Revenue) to be on a 0-1 scale.

First up, we want to identify a position for each point


IF [Table Name] = ‘WW’ THEN 1
ELSEIF [Table Name] = ‘WW1’ THEN 2

Then we’ll create the x coordinate for each point


IF [Path] = 1 THEN 0

I’ve just chosen an arbitrary value to plot the 2nd & 3rd points at – could easily have been 1.

Then we’ll create the y coordinate for each point, which is where the normalisation comes in


IF MIN([Path]) = 1 THEN AVG([Review])
ELSEIF MIN([Path]) = 2 THEN AVG([Revenue])/20
ELSEIF MIN([Path]) = 3 THEN AVG([Budget])/20

Dividing by 20, normalises the values to a scale of 0-5 as discussed above.

Let’s put these values all out in a table, so we can see what’s going on

Building the Polygon Viz

You can see we have 3 points per Sub-Category, so we can plot the x & y measures on a sheet as follows :

  • Add Min(x) to Rows
  • Add y to Columns
  • Add Sub-Category to Detail
  • Add Table Name (or Path) to Detail
  • Change Mark Type to Polygon
  • Change Colour to #666666 with 30% opacity


We need 2 new calculated fields for the Tooltip


AVG([Revenue]) – AVG([Budget])

formatted to $ with 0 dp



formatted to % with 1 dp.

Note this will differ from the solution, where I think Ivett inadvertently used SUM(Budget) rather than AVG.

Add these to Tooltip field and adjust text accordinly.

Colouring the Line

To make the line, I created a second instance of y


IF MIN([Path]) = 1 THEN AVG([Review])
ELSEIF MIN([Path]) = 2 THEN AVG([Revenue])/20

which just plots 2 points rather than 3.

Add this to Columns next to y, make dual axis and synchronise axis. Things might have disappeared – you need to remove Measure Names from both marks cards. Change the mark type of the y2 card to Line.

You won’t see much difference at this point (or you shouldn’t). We need a field to define the colour

Colour : Line

IF [Profit] < 0 THEN ‘Non-Profitable’ ELSE ‘Profitable’ END

Add this to the Colour shelf of the y2 marks card and adjust to suit.

Labelling the line

On the y2 marks card, add Review (set to AVG) to Label shelf, and move Sub-Category to Label shelf. Set Label to only label Start of Line. Adjust format/layout of Label to suit.

Set the format of Review to Number Standard – this is a format little used, but will display a whole number or a decimal. I discovered this through an Andy Kriebel WoW from a long time ago and is a real gem!

Finalising the viz

To tidy up and get the viz looking like the solution

  • Format to remove all gridlines
  • Hide the y2 axis
  • Hide the ‘4 nulls’ indicator if you have it
  • Edit the y axis
    • Fix the axis from 0.5 to 5.25
    • Add a title
    • Set axis ticks to none
  • On the y2 marks card, edit the Colour shelf and change the markers to show to All (this gives the circles on each end of the line)
  • Change the Min(x) pill to be FLOAT(Min(x)) using the ‘type in pill’ function
  • Edit the x axis to be Fixed from -0.3 to 19.9
    • cutting off the end of the axis makes the end circle disappear. This is very sneaky, and I had to see the solution for this!
  • Hide the x axis
  • Remove the row divider lines

So we’ve now got the core viz – hooray! But we’re not quite done – boo!

Expand /Collapse

Ivett set the viz to expand to show a column by Sub-Category on click.

This is another requirement I couldn’t get however hard I tried. I duplicated my viz and created a version with Sub-Category on Columns and tried to use Parameter Actions to set a parameter that would control which viz would display using a sheet swap techinque. However when I added the necessary field to the Detail shelf, all the polygons disappeared and I don’t understand why…. I therefore published my first instance of this challenge with a parameter the user controlled to decide which view to show. This is here.

So I had to look at Ivett’s solution to see how she had achieved this, and it involved sets.

Right click on Sub-Category and Create – > Set

Selected Sub-Cats

Don’t select any values at this point.

Create a field


IF [Selected Sub-Cats] THEN [Sub-Category]
ELSE ‘Click to Expand’

If there are values in the set, then the set values will be returned, otherwise the text ‘Click to Expand’ will display.

Add this to the Columns shelf, and ‘Hide field labels for columns‘ so the text ‘Expand’ doesn’t show.

A dashboard action will ultimately drive the behaviour, but we can test the display by editing the set and selecting all values.

The view should expand as expected, showing a column per Sub-Category

But the name of the Sub-Category is still displayed on the label, and in the example this isn’t the case. To fix this I created another calculated field

Label: SubCat

IF [Selected Sub-Cats] THEN ” ELSE [Sub-Category] END

which I added to the Label shelf, and adjusted the display to suit.

‘Reset’ the view to show the collapsed version by re-editing the set and removing all values.

How to Read this chart legend

I simply duplicated the main viz, and filtered by Sub-Category = Chairs.

I removed the label, and then used the Annotate Point functionality to add the relevant labels against the points.

Profitable Legend

The Profitable / Non-Profitable legend makes use of our trusted friend MIN(0), with pills arranged as below.

Applying the Set Action

Create a dashboard to the size specified, and just use floating objects to position the text and various sheets.

To drive the expand / collapse function, create a Set Action on the main viz as below, that targets the Selected Sub-Cats set.

Revenue / Budget Label

This is just managed using Text objects on the dashboard, carefully positioned in the right locations. You might need to add additional objects to get the layout required.

The background of the whole dashboard is set to light grey and the sheets and objects need to be set to the same grey or white to get the same presentation.

So fingers crossed, you should have a complete solution now.

My final version (after I peeked at Ivett’s) is here.

Happy Vizzin’! Stay safe!


How much do these states contribute to the total?

By Week 20 of #WOW2020, Tableau v2020.2 was released, so guest challenger, Sean Miller, returned with a challenge to demonstrate one of the new bits of functionality that had been released – the ability to remove values from a set via dashboard actions.

Selected states on the map are highlighted and added to the list displayed on the right; clicking a state on the list then removed it from being highlighted on the map.

This felt like it should be straightforward, which was quite a relief after the last couple of weeks, and I’m hoping this blog doesn’t take too long to write 🙂

Spoiler alert! It was straight forward – hurrah! I do really value these ‘simpler’ challenges, when the main purpose is to introduce new features and functionality. In a business environment, it’s not always possible to work with the latest release, so having these challenges as a useful working example of a new feature to reference in future, is of great benefit.

So, if you hadn’t already realised, you’re going to need v2020.2 to complete this challenge, which you can get here , or you may need to use Tableau Public instead.

Creating the State set

Double-click State, double-click Sales and change mark type to Filled Map, and you’ve got your basic starting point 🙂

We want to be able to have different colours for the states depending on whether they’re in or out of a set of selected states.

Create a Selected States set by right clicking on State and selecting Create -> Set. Choose a random set of states.

Note – in v2020.2, the Selected States set is now just listed in the top left hand ‘dimensions’ pane (which also is now no longer labelled dimensions) with a ‘set’ icon to indicate its ‘data type’, rather than being listed in a separate ‘Sets’ section towards the bottom.

Drag this set onto the Colour shelf of the map. The states selected in the set will be coloured differently from the other states. Adjust the In/Out colour legend to suit.

Remove the map features

The displayed map in the solution is very ‘clean’; all labels,non US countries etc are hidden. This is set by selecting Map -> Map Layers from the top menu, and unchecking all the pre-selected Map Layer options.

Map Tooltip

The tooltip displays more measures than just the Sales, so we need some calculated fields

# Orders

COUNTD([Order ID])

# Customers

COUNTD([Customer ID])

Add these to the Tooltip shelf and adjust the display accordingly.

Creating the State List

There are several ways to build a basic list, but to get the formatting nicer, I created it using a bar chart as follows

  • Type in ‘Min(1)’ to Columns
  • Add State to Rows
  • Add Selected States to Filter shelf
  • Add State to Text shelf
  • Adjust Text to read ‘x <State>’ and format to white text, and align left middle

Adjust the colour of the bar to suit, then

  • Uncheck Show Header from the State pill in the Rows
  • Adjust the axis to be fixed from 0 to 1
  • Hide the axis.
  • Change the Tooltip text to ‘CLICK TO REMOVE’
  • Change the title to include the instruction

Invoke the Set Actions

Add both sheets to a dashboard.

Add a Change Set Values Dashboard Action to the Map sheet as below

As you click a state or select a group of states, it/they will be added to the list.

Add another Change Set Values dashboard action, this time based off the state list as follows

As you click on a state in the list now, it will disappear from the list and the state will no longer be highlighted on the map.

You will notice though, that as you click states on the map, your selections remain ‘selected’ until you click again. To fix this we need to use a little ‘true = false’ trick to ‘automatically deselect’ the states.

Automatically deselect states

Create new calculated fields called





and add both of these to the Detail shelf on the Map sheet.

Then back on the dashboard create a Filter action as follows

Building the Bar Charts

The above has completed the main part of the challenge and demonstrates the new feature, the option to Remove values from set in the Set Action dialog.

However Sean added some extra charts to the display.

Sales Chart

Add Sales to Columns and Selected Sales to Colour. Change Sales to be a Quick Table Calculation and set it to Percent of Total.

The tooltip and the chart title have additional information so we need

Total Sales


Sales of Selected States

{FIXED: SUM(IF [Selected States] THEN [Sales] END)}

% Sales of Selected States

[Sales of Selected States] / [Total Sales]

Format all these accordingly.

Add all these to the Detail/Tooltip shelf as required and amend Tooltip and Chart Title as necessary.

Orders Chart

This is pretty much the same as above….

Add # Orders to Columns and Selected Sales to Colour. Change # Orders to be a Quick Table Calculation and set it to Percent of Total.

The tooltip and the chart title have additional information so we need

Total Orders


Orders of Selected States

{FIXED: COUNTD(IF [Selected States] THEN [Order ID] END)}

% Orders of Selected States

[Orders of Selected States] / [Total Orders]

Customers Chart

This doesn’t work quite the same (I only found out after the event), as a customer can order against more than 1 state it would seem. So while you’ll still need the following

Total Customers

{FIXED:COUNTD([Customer ID])}

Customers in Selected States

{FIXED: COUNTD(IF [Selected States] THEN [Customer ID] END)}

% Customers of Selected States

[Customers of Selected States] / [Total Customers]

we need to build it as a dual axis, with % Customers of Selected States on Columns alongside Min(1)

This should be all the building blocks needed. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you build a dynamic date drilling chart?

Week 19 of #WOW2020 saw Ann provide this challenge, which she declared would be easier than Luke’s from the previous week.

The aim was to start with a chart by week, but on selection drill in to show a by day view, with the slight twist that all days between the first and last selected dates should display, even if the specific week in between wasn’t explicitly selected.

I knew this was going to involve set actions (although there was a clue on the ‘latest challenges‘ page – I tend to pick up the challenges through Twitter, so often bypass this page, but it’s worth a look for extra clues :-))

So on the face of it, the challenge seemed as if it should be ok, but it’s usually only when I start building that things can start to unravel.

One area that Ann hadn’t been explicit about in the requirements, was the behaviour in certain scenarios. I had to revise some of my initial attempts/calculations in order to match Ann’s workbook. This week I’m not going to go into all the wrong turns, but this is the behaviour I observed in Ann’s workbook, and so ultimately tried to replicate.

  1. When at the week level, if multiple points are selected, the days then displayed should start from the first day of the first week selected (which will be a Sunday as we’re working with how the US standardises a week start), and finish on the last day of the last week selected (which will be a Saturday).
  2. When at the week level, if a single point is selected then the 7 days in that week only should be displayed.
  3. When at the day level, if multiple points are selected, the days then displayed start from the first day of the week the first day is in and end on the last day of the week the last selected day is in (so you may get more days than actually selected). eg if the 1st day selected is a Tuesday and the last day selected is a Friday, the ‘drill in’, will start on the previous Sunday, and end on the following Saturday. This isn’t necessarily what you may expect to happen.
  4. Based on the above, when at the day level, a single day is selected, the ‘drill in’ will show the 7 days in the same week. Once you’re down to displaying the 7 days in the same week, clicking on any single day or selecting a couple of days, won’t appear to do anything as the same results are displayed.

Being aware of the above, will explain why some the calculations I end up with look the way they do.

Ok, let’s get on with the build…..

Ann stated that she’d hardcoded to the ‘last 52 weeks’, but essentially it looked like she was displaying data for all of 2019. This wasn’t really something the challenge was testing, so I simply started by adding a data source filter for the year 2019 (right click on data source -> Edit data source filters). I also had to set the date properties of my data source to set a week to start on a Sunday as I’m UK based, so my week’s are defaulted to start on Mondays (again right click on data source -> Date Properties). As a result of my year filter, I didn’t seem to have the same starting/ending dates as Ann, but as already stated, this wasn’t the main aim of the challenge, so I didn’t stress about it.

I decided quite early on that I was going to also use a Parameter Action to decide the level I was at (ie had I drilled in or not). I wasn’t entirely sure when I started how many ‘levels’ I might need, so chose to use an integer parameter for this. I ended up only needing 2 levels, so a boolean could have worked equally as well, or, as I type, I think I could have used this parameter to store the ‘date level’ (day or week) I want to display my dates at, which would have made some of my calculations easier to read. I’m not going to do this though.

Drill Down

Integer parameter set to 0 by default.

Now I want to define a date field that I’m going to use on the axis, that will vary depending on the ‘level’ we’re at.

Date to Plot

IF [Drill Down]>0 THEN DATETRUNC(‘day’, [Order Date]) ELSE
DATETRUNC(‘week’, [Order Date])

Note – I used >0 as I wasn’t sure if I’d have levels 0, 1 & 2… as it turns out I just used 0 & 1 in the end.

Add Date to Plot to Columns as a Continuous, Exact Date and Sales to Rows and we’ve got our starting point

Change the Drill Down parameter to 1 and the chart will change to display at the day level

Drilling Down on selection

On selection, we want to add the selected dates into a set, so first up, we need to define that set.

Right click on Date to Plot and Create -> Set

Selected Dates

Select some random dates so we can test with. These will get set properly later based on the Set Action we define on the dashboard.

Based on the dates in the set, we need to determine a min and a max date we can then use to restrict the dates being plotted on the chart.

Min Date

{FIXED:MIN(IF [Selected Dates] OR [Drill Down]=0 THEN DATETRUNC(‘week’,[Date to Plot]) END) }

This either gets the 1st day of the week based on the earliest date in the set, or the 1st day of the week of the whole data set (when we’re at the ‘starting’ level with Drill Down =0).

We also need

Max Date

IF [Drill Down]=0 THEN
{FIXED:MAX(DATEADD(‘day’,-1,[Date to Plot]))}
DATEADD(‘week’,1,{FIXED:MAX(IF [Selected Dates] THEN DATETRUNC(‘week’,[Date to Plot]) END)})-1

If we’re at the starting level (Drill Down = 0) then we want the last day within the latest week in the data set (this field is used in the title display, so necessary to get this to display right), otherwise we need to get the last day of the week associated to the maximum date in the set.

Now we need to be able to restrict the dates displayed in the chart based on these

Dates to Include

[Order Date]>= [Min Date] AND [Order Date]<= [Max Date]

Add this to the Filter shelf and set to True.

Your display shouldn’t change, as we’re still at ‘level 0’, even though our set has random dates selected. If you now manually change Drill Down to 1, you should see a change

Setting up the dashboard actions

Ok, now we’ve got the basic idea, let’s get it all working properly with dashboard actions before we sort out all the other bits n bobs.

First up, let’s manually reset everything by setting the Drill Down parameter to 0 and emptying all the values selected in the set.

Add the sheet onto the dashboard, and create the set action, which is set to target the Selected Dates set and to Keep set values if you click on a blank area of the chart after selection.

However, this on it’s own won’t change the display. We need to set the Drill Down parameter to 1 too.

For this we need another field

Set Drill Down Level


Add this to the Detail shelf of the chart.

Then back on the dashboard, add a Parameter Action that targets the Drill Down parameter using the value stored in the Set Drill Down Level field

Now if you select the dates in the dashboard, you should get the desired behaviour, and if you select again, you should filter the days selected further (as per the behaviour described at the top of the page).

Resetting the display

The Reset button is actually another sheet.

I created a ‘fake’ bar chart by adding MIN(1) to Rows, and double clicking in the space below the Detail and Tooltip shelves on the Marks card, and typing the text ‘CLEAR SELECTION’. This creates a ‘pill’ without having it defined explicitly as a calculated field, and I added this to the Text shelf, and centred/formatted appropriately. I then set the axis to be fixed from 0 to 1 and hid it.

I set the colour to #a26dc2 and set the text to ‘match mark colour.

We only want this sheet to display, if we’ve ‘drilled down’, so I need

Show Reset

[Drill Down]=1

which is added to the Filter shelf and set to True.

I also need a parameter action off this sheet, to reset the Drill Down to 0 on selection. For this I need another field



which is added to the Detail shelf.

Depending on what you’ve already been playing around with, there’s a chance this sheet may already be empty. Get the dashboard into a state where you’ve drilled down to the day level, then add this sheet, and add another Parameter Action.

Reset is set to run off the ‘button’ sheet only, to target the Drill Down parameter by using the value in the Reset field.

You should now be able to test all this out and get the desired behaviour.

Adding Animations

To get the chart to transition between selections, we need to use the Animations functionality.

On the Format menu, select Animations and adjust the settings as you choose.

Play around and you should have the main features of this challenge now working

Dynamic Title

The title needs to change based on whether you’re at the weekly or daily level. It also needs to show total and average sales. So for all this I need

LABEL: Level

IF [Drill Down]>0 THEN ‘Day’ ELSE ‘Week’ END

LABEL: Subtitle Level

IF [Drill Down]>0 THEN ‘Daily’ ELSE ‘Weekly’ END

LABEL: Instruction


Total Sales


Avg Sales


All these fields are added to the Detail shelf of the main chart along with Min Date and Max Date, and then the title is edited and formatted accordingly to reference these.


In a similar manner, the tooltips also need adjusting, they just need to refer to the LABEL: Level field

Colour of the Line

Although not explicitly mentioned, the line colour seemed to change from a lighter shade at the weekly level to more intense at the daily level. To achieve this I created


[Drill Down]

and added to the Colour shelf. This gives a colour legend displaying either 1 or 0 depending at what state you are in the interaction. Set colour values accordingly.

Average Line

Add this to the chart simply by selecting Average Line from the Analytics pane and dragging then dropping onto the Table shelf that appears. Format appropriately.

And apart from other basic formatting to remove gridlines/ axis titles etc, that should be it.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you show missing selected periods and autosize bars?

Newly wed Lorna Brown (previously known as Lorna Eden 😉 ) returned for this week’s #WOW challenge.

The requirement was to create a bar chart showing number of orders per subcategory per day/week/month over a user defined number of years. The chart is coloured based on Profit. The bars also need to change size based on what date part was being displayed Lorna already hinted they’d be parameters and set actions involved.

Building the chart

First off let’s create the parameters we need to drive the dates we need to include in the viz.

Select Period

A string parameter listing Daily, Weekly, Monthly. The trick here is to store the datepart of day, week, month as the value, while displaying the required text for selection. Default to Weekly.

Doing this means later we can refer directly to the parameter when we need some date manipulation.

Number of Years

A range integer parameter starting from 1 to 4, defaulting to 2

With these, we can define the Date field that we need to plot on our axis

Date to Plot

DATE(DATETRUNC([Select Period],[Order Date],’Sunday’))

This has the effect of truncating every order date to the 1st day of the relevant month or week or just to the day, so for example if ‘month’ is selected all the orders placed in May 2019 will be grouped together under 01 May 2019 etc.

Dates to Include

YEAR([Order Date])>={MAX(Year([Order Date]))}-([Number of Years]-1)

{MAX(Year([Order Date]))} is a shortened notation for the level of detail calculation (LoD)

{FIXED : MAX(Year([Order Date]))}

which basically returns the highest year in the data set, which in this case is 2019. If the [Number of Years] parameter is set to 1 for example, we would expect all of 2019 to display, hence we need to subtract 1 in the formula so we get all orders in 2019.

Adding this to the Filter shelf and set to true will limit the orders to the dates in the years required.

Finally we need the measure

Number of Orders

COUNTD([Order ID])

Right, with those parameters set, we can now build the basic bar chart. For now we’ll just restrict the data to a single Sub-Category directly – we’ll look to adjust this later.

  • Add Dates to Include = True to Filter
  • Add Sub-Category = Tables to Filter
  • Add Date to Plot as a continuous exact date to Rows (green pill)
  • Add Number of Orders to Columns
  • Add Profit to Colour
  • Set Mark Type to Bar
  • Adjust the Tooltip to match
  • Show the Select Period & Number of Years parameters
  • Adjust the Sheet Title to reference the Select Period parameter

Sizing the bars

You’ll see the bars all look a bit overlapped. You might be tempted to adjust the bar size by moving the slider to reduce the overlap, which may well work, but as you change the Select Period parameter you’ll find that what you’re doing is setting the bar width to set width that is the same whether you have 24 marks displayed (monthly for 2 years) or 156 marks (daily for 2 years). The requirement is for the bar to adjust in width, so it’s wider when there’s less marks.

To do this, we need a calculated field


CASE [Select Period]
WHEN ‘day’ THEN 1
WHEN ‘week’ THEN 5
WHEN ‘month’ THEN 10

These are just arbitrary values I chose, and you can play around with the values to suit, but the key is you’re choosing a range of numbers with the smallest for ‘day’ and the largest for ‘month’.

Add this field to the Size shelf. and change it to be a Continuous Dimension ie a green pill of just Size rather than SUM([Size]).

Then click on the Size shelf and change from Manual to Fixed, and set the alignment to Centre.

Changing the Select Period parameter you’ll see the bars adjust their width from being very narrow for Daily, wider for Weekly, and wider again for Monthly.

Sub Category Selector

This is based on techniques that have cropped up in a few #WOWs this year.

We’re going to be using Set Actions for this bit, so to start we need a Set.

Right click on Sub-Category -> Create Set. Name the set Selected Sub-Category and just select a single value, Tables for now.

Now on a new sheet, add MIN(0.0) to Columns (type directly in) and Sub-Category to Rows.

  • Change the Mark Type to Shape
  • Add Sub-Category to Label
  • Add Selected Sub Category set to Shape, and adjust the shape and colour to suit
  • Create a calculated field called True and another called False, each containing the value True and False respectively – add these to the Detail shelf.
  • Edit the Axis to be Fixed to start at -0.07 to 1. This is to shift everything to the left.
  • Turn off Tooltips
  • Format to remove all column, row, zero & grid lines & axis rulers.
  • Uncheck Show Header on Sub-Category and MIN(0.0)

Building the dashboard

First up, now we’ve got a Set to store the Selected Sub-Category, remove, the Sub-Category field from the Filter shelf of the bar chart. Add the Selected Sub-Category set to the Filter shelf instead.

Now create a new dashboard sheet and add the bar chart to it.

By default, the Profit colour legend and parameters will be displayed in a vertical layout container to the right of the bar chart.

Remove the colour legend, and position the Select Period parameter above the Number of Years.

Then add the Selector sheet between the two parameters, and remove any additional legends that get added.

Add a dashboard action Deselect against the Selector sheet to stop the un-selected Sub-Categories from fading out.

Add a further dashboard action Select Sub Cat against the Selector sheet to set the value of the Selected Sub-Category set on selection. The dashboard action should be set flagged to Run on single select only, so multiple values can’t be chosen.

Change the vertical layout container to be floating, then adjust the height and set the background colour to white.

Use the Add Show/Hide Button option on the Layout container to enable the collapsible container functionality.

You’ll just need to move things around a bit, adjust the sizes to suit, but that should be pretty much it.

My published version is here.

Keep safe & Happy vizzin’!


Can you swap States?

Week 49 of #WorkoutWednesday2019 was Luke’s last challenge of the year, so following a poll he posted a ‘notably tough’ challenge.

On the face of it, it didn’t look too bad…. I figured it would involve a trellis chart for the small multiples, set actions (for the state selection), and something table calculation related to crack the ranking. Hovering over the state label for each small multiple, I also figured some dual axis was probably at play. The bit that actually looked most tricky to me initially, was displaying the States just as their shapes.

Single State viz

I decided to build the single state viz first. I created a set (Selected State) based off the [State] field, and selected California as the state ‘in’ the set.

I then started to build the viz simply by double-clicking on State (which automatically adds State to the detail shelf, and the automatically generated Long & Lat fields to the rows & columns. I added the Selected State set to the filter shelf, which immediately restricted the data to California, and I changed the mark type to filled Map.

To isolate the display just to the State itself, I figured would be something to do with the various Map Layer options available (menu Map -> Map Layers); I wasn’t sure exactly what but found by unchecking every pre-selected option, I got a ‘clean’ display.

Changing the opacity of the mark colour to 0 and setting the border to red gave me the desired display.

Maybe the State shape wasn’t going to be as much of an issue as I thought….?

The cities needed to be displayed as circular marks, so I knew this would need a dual axis to make this work. I duplicated the Latitude field (hold ctrl as you click and drag the field) and did the following :

  • changed the mark type of the duplicated field to circle
  • added City to the Detail shelf
  • added Sales to the Size shelf
  • changed the colour of the mark to blue, upped the opacity to 50% and removed the shape border

I then made the chart dual axis and increased the size of the circles to suit.

Finally I added State and Sales to the Label shelf of the Map marks card and adjusted the Label formatting to suit.


So the requirement was to show the top 25 states in a ‘grid’ or ‘trellis’ format ordered by the state with the most sales.

However there was a subtlety to this:

  • the grid should always show 25 states
  • the selected state should not display in the grid
  • the overall rank of the state should display, so if the 3rd largest state is selected, the displayed ranking would be 1, 2, 4, 5, 6… up to 26; 3 would be omitted from the list.

The best way to explain how I tackled this, is to show the info in a tabular format.

Firstly, create a table of Sales by State sorting the State by Sales desc

Apply a Quick Table Calculation of Rank to the SUM(Sales) pill. Then edit the table calculation, setting the rank to be unique and fixing the Compute Using to apply over State.

Add the Selected State pill alongside State, and as California is still our selected state, you see we now have two ‘1’s. This is because we fixed the table calculation to State, so its now being applied for each ‘In/Out Selected State’

This is the table calculation we want to use to filter our data to get the ‘top 25’ fields. With ‘California’ selected as being ‘in the set’ and therefore the selected state, we need the next 25 states to the be ones showing in the grid. This being from New York to Oklahoma.

Holding down ctrl and then dragging the Sum(Sales) pill to the filter shelf (ie duplicating the pill), you can set it to show at most 25

However, the ‘rank’ displayed against each row, isn’t the rank we want to show on the viz. New York is the 2nd largest state, so should be labelled no 2, not no 1 as shown above.

We need another version of the Sales rank. Add Sales back into the chart, and again apply a Quick Table Calculation of Rank.

The 2nd rank is now showing values 1 – 26, and if you edit the table calc, you’ll see it automatically has set itself to ‘table down’ which is actually being applied to both State and the In/Out Selected State. Alter the table calc to be unique and fix it to apply to State & In/Out Selected State, which will ensure the values remain the same regardless as to how you move pills around.

This second rank is what is used to display the ‘overall rank.

Finally, we’ve still actually got 26 states shown, when we only want the 25 states ‘out’ of the set displayed. We simply apply the sneaky trick to ‘hide’ the In (click on the ‘In’, right-click and select Hide).

Change the set value to Ohio for example, and re-show the hidden data (click on In/Out Selected Set pill and Show hidden data). You’ll see Ohio is 8th in the overall rank, but is ‘in’ the set so ranked 1 in the ‘top 25’ filter rank.

When I come to build the map trellis later, it is these table calcs and techniques I will have applied.

Trellis Chart

In this instance we have a fixed number of states to display (25), to show in a 5×5 grid; 5 rows and 5 columns. Each of the 25 states we have needs to be assigned a row number and a column number.

Let’s go back to the tabular display to help with this. With the display just showing the 25 States ‘out’ of the set (by hiding the ‘In’), let’s add INDEX() to the view. INDEX() is a table calculation most often used to number rows. INDEX() is set to compute over the State only (so the numbers 1-25 are listed). Note this is giving the same information as the Sales ranking discussed above, and we could reference the same field, but INDEX() is more generic and referenced in many trellis chart solutions, so let’s stick with that.

What we’re looking to achieve, is the first 5 rows listed, to appear in the 1st row, across 5 columns. Rows 6-10 would be in the 2nd row etc etc. I need to build



This takes the Index value and subtracts 1, and returns the remainder when divided by 5 (%5=modulus of 5). Storing the final output as a float will become clearer later.



This takes the Index value and subtracts 1, and returns the integer part of the value when divided by 5. Storing the final output as a float will become clearer later.

Adding these on to the table, and again setting the table calculation to compute by State only, you get

and if we shuffle the pills around to create the rows & columns, and keep just the pills we need we get

But it’s all upside-down : we need California top left, not bottom left. We can fix this by editing the Rows axis, and reversing it.

Now by simply changing the mark type to Map, we can get the shape states to show – it’s like magic! You’ll need to increase the size to see them properly.

Side note – this was actually quite a revelation; it took some time for me to get to this, having unsuccessfully had views with Lat & Long displayed (as that’s what a map chart always needs right?), resulting in the state shapes being positioned all over the place. Writing this blog and reproducing steps as I type, has made things seem much simpler, than when I was tackling the challenge initially!

As you can see, things aren’t perfect yet, but we’re on the right track. The axis need editing to extend them. Rows is set from -0.5 to 5, and Cols from -0.5 to 4.5 (this is why we needed to set the field to be FLOATs).

The colour of the mark also needs adjusting to match what we did when building the single state viz.

The label positioning isn’t also right, even if you change the alignment, so move the State from the Text to the Detail shelf and don’t show any labels. Then create an additional axis on the rows by duplicating the Rows field to exist alongside, then ‘type’ into the second instance and change to Rows+0.5

Make this dual axis, synchronise and change mark type to Text. Make sure the opacity on the colour is increased back to 100% and adjust the size of the text.

Now it’s just a case of tidying this view to match the requirements; adding additional fields to the Text shelf, removing axis, row/column lines and gridlines etc.

Once done, both the views can be added to a dashboard, and the ‘select state’ interactivity is achieved using a Set Action dashboard action.

And that’s it. As stated I did have some struggles when building initially, but as most things, it’s down to the path you happen to follow. If I’d initially built based on the order I’ve authored this blog, and the tabular views I’ve built to demonstrate techniques, I wouldn’t have had any problem. But it’s all valuable learning experiences and adds to my understanding!

My version of the viz is published here.

Happy vizzin!


Can you build a dynamic scatter plot with proportional brushing?

It’s #data19 in Vegas, so this week’s #WorkoutWednesday challenge, set by Curtis was run ‘live’ at the Conference. Not being there, I had to wait patiently at home until it was released and build solo 😦

Given it was a live challenge, Curtis wanted to ensure it offered the right balance for those newer to Tableau & #WorkoutWednesday, while still giving the more experienced participants something to get their teeth into. And I think he managed this well.

Building the scatter plot

The scatter plot is built to be dynamic, with both the axes and displayed marks changing based on user selection. This is driven by 3 parameters

Set Level of Detail

String parameter, containing 3 values : Product, Manufacturer, Customer

(quick side note here…. the challenge states to use the Superstore Sales dataset that comes with v2019.1. To get the Manufacturer field, you need to use the provided Tableau data source and not the excel file – this always trips me up!).

Set X-Axis

String parameter containing 4 values : Quantity, Sales, Orders, Discount

(another note … the challenge says to use Profit, but the solution provided used Orders – I chose to use Orders too so I could verify a match)

Set Y-Axis

The same as above (just duplicate the parameter and rename).

So with the parameters in place, we need to build calculated fields to reference them.


CASE [Set Level of Detail]
WHEN ‘Customer’ THEN [Customer Name]
WHEN ‘Manufacturer’ THEN [Manufacturer]
WHEN ‘Product’ THEN [Product Name]


CASE [Set X-Axis]
WHEN ‘Quantity’ THEN SUM([Quantity])
WHEN ‘Sales’ THEN SUM([Sales])
WHEN ‘Orders’ THEN COUNTD([Order ID])
WHEN ‘Discount’ THEN SUM([Discount])


CASE [Set Y-Axis]
WHEN ‘Quantity’ THEN SUM([Quantity])
WHEN ‘Sales’ THEN SUM([Sales])
WHEN ‘Orders’ THEN COUNTD([Order ID])
WHEN ‘Discount’ THEN SUM([Discount])

(basically duplicate X-Axis and edit & rename)

With these we can now build the basic scatter : [X-Axis] on Columns, [Y-Axis] on Rows and [LOD] on Detail :

Changing the parameters and the scatter will change too.

So now its just a case of formatting and adding a few additions to match the display.

First up, the solution has the X-Axis scale on the top, rather than the bottom. This is achieved by dual-axis.

Duplicate the [X-Axis] on the Columns shelf (Press Ctrl, click on the [X-Axis] pill and drag next to it.

Make dual-axis and synchronise

Edit the bottom axis, deleting the title of the axis, and changing the Tick Marks to None.

The solution also shows each axis is labelled based on the parameter selection. To do this, edit both the left and top axis to remove the titles, then add the [Set X-Axis] parameter to Columns and [Set Y-Axis] parameter to Rows.

Now right-click on the displayed Set X-Axis and Set Y-Axis and ‘hide field labels for columns/rows’, and right-click on Discount and ‘rotate label’.

Finally, adjust the tooltip to contain :

<Parameters.Set Level of Detail> : <LOD>

That’s the core viz built, it just needs some formatting applied, to

  • remove column and row lines
  • remove gridlines (the 0-lines are retained)
  • Change mark type to circle, adjust colour to suit and add border

Bar Charts & Proportional Brushing

When it’s all together on the dashboard, the selection of marks in the scatter should cause the bar charts to update to show the % of each variable accounted for in the selection. This concept is referred to as proportional brushing, and makes use of the Set Actions feature. Tableau’s own KB article describing Set Actions and proportional brushing can be seen here.

The first thing we need to do is build a set : right click on the [LOD] field and select Create -> Set. In the Set dialog, name the set Selected LOD and randomly select some values (not all)

We also need various calculated fields :



Just counts the number of distinct items in the user selected LOD. When bringing the Selected LOD set into play, we can the count the number of items in or out of the set, and using a quick table calculation, change to get the % of total. I tend to start using data tables at this point, to sense check the data I need before I viz :

I’ve turned on Grand Totals for columns too, just so I can check the numbers are what I expect.

Adding the [X-Axis] and [Y-Axis] values into the table, and finding % of total too

and we’ve got all the % needed to make up the bars. At this point, edit each table calculation and fix it to compute by the In/Out Selected LOD (so if you shift pills around later, you won’t change the values).

While we could build the viz at this point, I noticed that the tooltip on the bar chart displays the same information whether you hover the ‘in’ or the ‘out’ portion of the bar

With the data we currently have, we couldn’t do this, so we need a few more fields/calculations. We need to be able to get the total value of the LOD/measure against each row, as well as the number and % of the ‘In’ items.

We’ll use table calculations for this.

Total #LOD


# LOD Selected


This counts the number of items selected in the set, and the WINDOW_MAX statement will then ‘spread’ that value across both the rows (as only 1 row contains a value).

% LOD Selected

[# LOD Selected]/[Total # LOD]

This is formatted to 1 dp.

Adding into the ‘check’ table, you can see how the values with table calculations are matching the initial set

A similar set of steps are the repeated to get the X & Y axis values

So now I’m happy I’ve got all the fields needed to build the bars, we can, and this is done in 3 separate sheets (it can be done on a single sheet, but I noticed some spacing on Curtis’ solution that suggested it wasn’t).


You can build from scratch, or as I tend to do, duplicate the check sheets, remove the pills I don’t want, and shuffle the rest around. You ultimately want :

  • [# LOD] as % of total on Columns
  • [Selected LOD] set on Colour (adjust colours, and make sure the Out is listed before In on the colour legend, so the darker values show first)
  • [Total LOD], [# LOD Selected] , [% LOD Selected] on Tooltip

The format to remove axis title, show axis ticks etc.

Name the sheet, then duplicate to create an X-Axis version, dragging the equivalent pills over the top, and do the same for the Y-Axis version. If you do this, just double check all the values are matching your check sheet, and the table calc settings haven’t been lost.

Putting it all together on the dashboard

Build the dashboard, and add the 4 sheets (the scatter and 3 bars) into their appropriate place, and expose the 3 parameters too.

To get the proportional brushing technique to apply to the bars, add a Set Action to change the value of the Selected LOD set when marks are selected in the scatter plot. The Set Action needs to be set to ‘remove all values from set’ when the marks are unselected.

And that’s it! My published version is here. Enjoy!

Happy vizzin’


Which Customers are Costing Us?

#WorkoutWednesday Week 41 saw Luke challenge us with this task, based on a real scenario he’d encountered during his job.

Before I’d even saw Luke’s tweet advertising the challenge, I knew this was going to require Set Actions

To avoid any discrepancies interpreting the requirements, Luke very kindly defined all the calculations, so I’m not going to dwell on these. This blog will focus on the requirements I think will be most useful / those I had to think about, so I’m making assumptions you can build the calcs and the basic vizzes required. My published workbook (referenced at the end of the blog) can be downloaded if you’re not too sure.

Only Show Customers with Sales over $500

I created a fixed level of detail (LoD) calculation to store the total sales per customer

Total Sales per Customer

{FIXED [Customer Name] : SUM([Sales])}

which I then referenced in another calculation

Sales > 500

[Total Customer Sales]>500

which I added to the Filter shelf of all the sheets I built, setting the value to True.

Change the circle colour on the scatter plot for selected customers

I created a Set based on the Customer Name

I called the Set Selected Customer and just ticked a random set of customers in the list presented (I’ll describe how the set members, ie the customers, change later).

Dragging the Selected Customer set onto the Colour shelf of my scatter plot, gives me an In/Out colour option, where the ‘In’ represents the customers that are members of the set (those I randomly selected above), and ‘Out’ is those customers that aren’t members.

Move the selected customers to the top of the table

In the table viz, add the Selected Customer set onto the Rows shelf, in front of the Customer Name. This will add a level of ‘grouping’ to the table, with those ‘In’ the set being listed above those ‘Out’ of the set.

Then untick Show Header against this pill, to hide the In/Out from the display

Show a totals for each cohort

This is achieved by adding subtotals to the table.

Go to Analysis > Totals > Add all Subtotals

This will add a Total row which can then be formatted via a right-click, where the Label can be renamed to ‘Cohort’ and bold text applied.

Change the colour of the ‘unselected’ customers to dark grey in the table

I have to admit, I did scratch my head on this one for a few moments…but then the light bulb switched on 🙂

This is simply an adjustment of the row banding formatting option, ensuring the band size & level are set appropriately

Sort Customers by Lost Sales

In the table, this is just done by applying a Sort to the Customer Name field, using the Lost Sales calculated field that you should already have created.

Change the members of the Selected Customer Set…

…which in turn will change which customers are displayed at the top of the table.

This is where Set Actions come into play.

Add both the scatter viz and the table viz to a dashboard.

Then go to Dashboard -> Actions ->Add Action > Change Set Values

Select the Scatter viz to be the source sheet, and the Target Set to be the Selected Customer set. Choose to run action on Select and opt to remove all values from the set when the selection is cleared.

Now test the set action, by selecting circles on the scatter plot – you should see your selections changing colour and the customers selected being listed at the top of the table…. we’re nearly there… one final tricky requirement…

Make sure all members remain un-highlighted on the scatterplot

What you’ll notice when testing the set action above, is that on selection, while your selected customer circles change colour, the unselected customer circles’fade out’

The challenge is for the unselected circles to remain the same colour as in the screenshot to the left above.

We need to use a highlight action to do this, but trick it in such a way that it doesn’t actually highlight anything…

I did this by creating a new calculated field called Dummy which I just set to be an empty string (“”).

Add this to the Detail shelf on the scatter viz.

On the dashboard, add a Highlight dashboard action

Set the source and target sheets to be the scatter viz and change the Target Highlighting section to be Selected Fields, choosing the Dummy field.

And now, on selection, the other customer circles won’t fade away! Hurrah!

My published viz can be viewed here.

Happy vizzin!