Last year in version 10.0 Tableau introduced the highlighter that lets us quickly highlight marks. It’s got two potential limitations, though:
We can only highlight a single value or all marks meeting a search criteria, not multi-select values.
Tableau’s Highlighter (and Highlight Actions) are hard-coded so we don’t have control over the formatting of the highlighted marks.
We can work around those limits in a few different ways:
Using a separate worksheet with Highlight Action(s) enabled with Hover or Select.
Using a separate worksheet with Highlight Action(s) enabled, a dual axis, and a duplicated dimension to display different marks. This technique was developed by Rody Zakovich in his post Only Color Marks on Dashboard Highlight .
Using a self-union’ed data source and a dual axis to get total control over how the highlighted marks are displayed and have more control over the user interface for choosing the highlighted marks. I think I might have invented this technique, I haven’t seen anything quite like it before. This method lets us build views like this:
Read on for how to build these out and choose the right method for you!
Since Tableau v9.0 or so every new release has come with new features that simplify and reduce the amount of data prep I have to do outside of Tableau. Pivot in version 9.0, the first batch of union support in v9.3, support for ad hoc groups in calculations, cross data source joins and filters in v10.0, and more in-database unions and join calculations in v10.2. With the join calculations we can now do unions and cross/cartesian joins within or across almost any data source without needing Custom SQL or linked databases and without waiting for Tableau to implement more union support, read on to learn how!
Here are some use cases for unions across data sources:
Union data that is coming from different systems, for example when different subsidiaries of an organization are using different databases but you want a single view of the company.
Union actual sales data from transactional systems and budget data that might come from an Excel spreadsheet.
Union customer & store/facility data sets so you can draw both on the same map.
This post goes through examples of all three using a combination of text files and superstore, and Rody Zakovich will be doing a post sometime soon on unions and joins with Tableau data extracts. (Did you know you could do cross data source joins to extracts? That capability came with v10.0, and we can have all sorts of fun with that using join calculations!)
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I described how Tableau computes Grand Totals and several options for generating your own Grand Totals. In this post, you’ll learn the most flexible method for customizing Grand Totals, via custom SQL to duplicate the data.
In November 2013 Tableau 8.1 also added a new two pass totals feature that may remove the need for customizing grand totals for your use cases, more details are in Tableau 8.1 Two Pass Totals. In December 2015 Tableau 9.3 added total control for placing totals to the left and/or on top of the view.