How to Filter Data in Tableau

By Molly Monsey, Paul Sochan

Filtering is a method of controlling which rows of data are used to perform the analysis and appear in the view in Tableau. An easy way to filter data in Tableau is by using the Filters shelf. When you drop fields onto this shelf, Tableau allows you to select the values you want to use from the data contained within that field.

To use the Filters shelf with a dimension, follow these steps:

1Drag and drop a field onto the Filters shelf to display the Filter dialog box.

In this case, we’re using the Category dimension.

2On the dialog box’s General tab, select the check boxes for the data you want to include.

Go ahead and select the Technology check box and leave the other check boxes deselected so that only items in the Technology category are included.

3Click OK to apply the filter.

Filtering the results using a dimension enables you to select from distinct members of that dimension, such as one or more item categories. Filtering using a measure works just a bit differently because measures are typically numeric values.

To add a filter based on a measure, follow these steps:

4Drag a measure and drop it onto the Filters shelf to display the Filter Field dialog box.

In this case, use the Sales field.

5Select the type of operation you want to use from the list displayed.

Choose Sum to enable you to make a selection from the range of Sales values as aggregated by sum in the view.

6Click Next to display the Filter dialog box. From the options displayed at the top of the dialog box, select the type of filter you want.

In this case, choose the Range of Values option so that you’ll have the greatest flexibility when you use the filter.

Whatever option you choose, the dialog box refreshes to display controls specific to that option.

7If you want to specify the range of values now, use the sliders to set the range.

In this case, leave the sliders as is because you’ll add a slider to the visualization as a quick filter.

8Click OK to apply the filter.

Return to the workspace.

9Click the down arrow on the right side of the Sales field on the Filters shelf to display this menu.

The visualization now has a sales value slider.

10Select Show Quick Filter to return to the workspace with the Sales Value slider added.

Use the slider to select your sales.

11Drag the slider to control which sales appear in the visualization.

As you drag the slider across the scale, Tableau updates the view so that only those values in the selected range are used. Because the filter is set to show a range of values, you can use both the upper and lower sliders to restrict the range.

The fields you add to the Filters shelf don’t have to appear in the visualization. For example, using profit to filter the results of which sales are analyzed provides the option to only see profitable sales as opposed to the entire range of sales.