Types of Filters in Tableau
Updated on 15th Oct, 21 384 Views

Today, we will mainly be looking at the six types of filters that are available in Tableau. Additionally, we will also explore other types of filters that can be very useful.

Data filtering can help to eliminate observations in an analysis that may be undesirable or contain errors. But, let us understand how Tableau can help to work with data in the first place.


Introduction to Tableau

Tableau is a reporting and analytics tool that allows one to integrate and combine data, extracted from various sources, for the purpose of visualization. Visualization is primarily to make sense of the data in a more insightful form. Tableau can work conveniently with a lot of other tools or platforms such as R, Hadoop, MongoDB, and so on.

Here is a video by Intellipaat that explains sorting and filtering in Tableau:


Tableau Desktop

All integrated data, visualizations, and reports can be accessed through Tableau Desktop, which has a dashboard that can be shared via Tableau Server with team members and/or management.


What are Filters in Tableau?

Let us first understand what filters are and what their purpose is. Filtering is nothing but removing some scope of data from a data set. Filters can help to minimize the size of data sets for efficient use, eliminate irrelevant dimension elements, clean up underlying data, set date ranges and measures as required, simplify and organize data, etc.

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Types of Filters in Tableau Desktop

There are mainly six types of filters in Tableau. This blog in going to explain them one by one.


Extract Filter

Extract filters in Tableau are used to extract a small subset of data from the original data source. Tableau then creates a local copy of the data set that is to be stored in the repository. You can save a screenshot of how it looks in your workbook. These methods reduce Tableau queries. The data size can be further reduced by applying the measure or dimension filter to the extract as required.


Data Source Filter

Data source filters in Tableau are mainly used to restrict sensitive data from viewers and reduce data feeds. Viewers can, however, have certain access rights to view the underlying data. Data source filters allow the direct application to source data. One important thing to mention is that the extract filter and the data source filter are not linked, and if you happen to go back to a live connection, the data source filter will remain intact.

Looking to get started in Tableau? Check out our comprehensive blog on Tableau Tutorial.


Context Filter

Context filters in Tableau can help to create data sets by applying relevant presets for compilation. In Tableau, the context filter is always processed and applicable first, even if other filters are applied. The multiple preset categories in the worksheet can be divided into many more parts that end up working like a context filter in itself. Data sets are created based on the original datasheet, and data can be minimized efficiently to allow for viewing all data rows despite the constraints. The sheets can be chosen as and when needed.

The context filter adds an actionable context to data analysis, but if the data is not reduced enough, the cost of computing can be very high.

Go through our blog on Parameters in Tableau to know in detail.

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Dimension Filter

Dimension filters in Tableau are non-aggregated filters. The dimensions that are used are mostly blue pills. Blue pills correspond to discrete data. The dimension filter can be applied by dragging it from the Filters pane. The same can also be achieved by right-clicking on a particular dimension and selecting Show Filter. This way, one can exclude or include the values that they want to analyze.

If there are many dimensions, one can search for them. Dimension filter provides four options, General, Wildcard, Condition, and Top/Bottom. You can pick up any of the four options to select the right data or remove the unwanted data. One can create their own formula as well and then use it in the Condition filter and the Top/Bottom filter for data selection. They provide a channel to measure to get the required data.

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Measure Filter

Using a Measure filter in Tableau allows for various operations and aggregate functions such as sum, median, avg, standard deviation, etc. Aggregated filters are always applied after non-aggregated filters, no matter what the order is on the Filters pane. The filters are applied to Measure fields consisting of quantitative data.

In the next stage in a subsequent dialog box, you will get four types of filters:

  1. Range: Select the range of values to include in the result
  2. At least: Select the minimum value of a measure
  3. At most: Select the maximum value of a measure
  4. Special: Select null or non-null values

Table Calculation Filter

The Table Calculation filter is the last filter that is applied after the view has been created. If you want to add a filter to the view, the Table Calculation filter will do the job for you without filtering the underlying data.

Apart from the six main types of filters in Tableau, one will also come across other types of filters that are very convenient. Some of them are given below:

  • Global filter: The Global filter can be applied across multiple worksheets by using the same source data within a workbook. The filter can be applied to all worksheets by using the same data as well.
  • Quick filter: The various filter types in Tableau are quickly accessible by using the right-click option. These filters are known as Quick filters, and they have sufficient functionality for all common filtering needs. Quick filters in Tableau can also be implemented on dimensions or measures.
  • Cascading filter: Cascading filters in Tableau allow for the selections in the first filter to change the options in the second filter. This helps to limit the values to ones that are only relevant to the first filter and prevents users from selecting irrelevant data, which creates a better user experience.
  • User filter: The User filter, a.k.a. the row-level security, in Tableau is a feature that restricts and manages the data that users can view or access based on the authority given.

Become a Business Intelligence Architect

Filtering plays an essential role in data analysis. This blog explores the many ways one can use the filters in Tableau to have a better view of data as and when required.

If you have further queries on Tableau filters, make sure to visit our BI Community.

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