2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 28, 2018 6:20 AM by Jonathan Drummey

    Filters on a dashboard and alignment

    Tina Crouse

      I have a workbook that has blended data sources. I tried to use non-blended as much as humanly possible so I can show the empty rows because I have 3 worksheet tabs that feed one view. Tab one is a table that shows prior month versus current month counts. Tab two is the difference between the two. Tab three is a rolling 13 month graph. Put them together on the dashboard. Everything lines up perfect. If the source is not blended I can saw show the empty rows. I have filters for product, funding, and bed type. The end-user can go through the filters just fine and everything lines up great.


      But, the blended data sources do not line up because the show empty rows is greyed out and that is because the data is blended. Tableau turned this off for some odd reason. Does anyone know a work-around for this? The reason for mis-alignment when you cannot show the empty rows is because:


      filter                                   market          may18     jun18          change          jun17     jul17     aug17     sep17     oct17     nov17     dec17     jan18     feb18     mar18     apr18     may18     jun18

      PPO                                   CA                  10          15                   5                  2           4           7             12           12           16         15          10           9           5              9            10            15

      HMO                                  GA                                                                            7          15         22             8             5             3



      This example you see that GA has nothing from Dec17 on. The filter is set to all and everything aligns. Filter on PPO and still fine. Filter on HMO and fine. Filter on POS and the alignment goes awry but not because GA does not have a POS. It's because the numbers change when filtering on POS and their jun17 has 2 and jul17 has 4. The rest of the rolling 13 months' is blank because they have no POS numbers after jul17.


      I cannot share a workbook since I am talking health insurance here and there are PHI laws we have to follow. I am just hoping that someone has found a work-around for the show empty rows and has run into this with the blended data issue.

        • 1. Re: Filters on a dashboard and alignment
          Patrick Van Der Hyde

          Hello Tina,


          So the data that does not exist in the primary data source but does exist in a secondary data source (relative to linking fields) will cause issues.  Data blending is all about aggregating at the level of the blended field dimensions and that can severely limit things.  The online help covers this  - Blend Your Data


          one way around it is to try and get some sort of data into those missing days/rows even if the data represents no data.  Joins work so much better as you have discovered and they allow us to do Joins that will keep all of our data. 


          You might want to see some of the solutions that Zen Master Jonathan Drummey has devised for Data Blending on his blog site - data blending | Drawing with Numbers  as a reference for work arounds.



          • 2. Re: Filters on a dashboard and alignment
            Jonathan Drummey

            Thanks for pinging me, Patrick. I think I can help here!


            Hi Tina,


            You wrote, "But, the blended data sources do not line up because the show empty rows is greyed out." I'm suspecting that you've got one view that's built something like this:


            Screen Shot 2018-08-28 at 9.07.10 AM.png


            And a second view that is built something like this, where Show Empty Rows and Show Empty Columns are greyed out:


            Screen Shot 2018-08-28 at 9.16.36 AM.png


            Even though both views are built with SUM(Sales) on Text and YEAR(Order Date) on Rows there is a critical difference - in the the first view the YEAR(Order Date) pill is coming from the primary data source whereas in the second view YEAR(Order Date) is coming from the secondary data source - as indicated by the cylinder w/orange checkmark icon on the latter pill.


            When using data blending pills from the primary data source have all of the regular features & functionality available, howev pills from the secondary source are "second class" in that they don't have all of the features available such as being able to sort a discrete dimension pill by a measure and, in this case, Show Empty Rows.


            If my guess is correct and this applies to you then there are a couple of options:


            1) The easiest is to replace the secondary dimension pill with one from the primary.

            2) Use a join instead of a data blend.


            Unfortunately Tableau makes it all too easy to accidentally drag out pills from one data source when we mean the other. In my classes teaching data blending I tell my students to practice these three steps for for every time they want to add a pill to the view:


            a) determine which data source you want to draw the field from

            b) verify that you've selected that source in the Data window

            c) then and only then click & drag the pill that you want

            d) double-check whether there is a blend icon on the pill that you dragged out.


            If this is not what's happening for you and the links that Patrick posted aren't helpful, then I've got two suggestions for you to get more help from us:


            1) Post a screenshot of your entire view including Columns, Rows, Marks Card, and the Data window with the secondary source active (so we can see the linking fields). You can use an editor to obscure any values that shouldn't be shared.


            2) Create a mockup of the problem using the Superstore sample data that ships with Tableau. It's got Dates (order dates), States, and assorted categorical variables that could be used to represent PPO/HMO/etc.


            Hope this helps!



            1 of 1 people found this helpful