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Context Filters in Tableau

  • July 10, 2023
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Tableau's Context Filter is the first filter to be applied to a worksheet after any other filters. The data that is obtained by the Context filter will be subject to all other filters because it is an independent filter. This will greatly enhance Tableau's efficiency, particularly when there are several filters set to the worksheet and while working with extremely large amounts of data.

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context filers

Let's use an illustration to better grasp this.

The demand is to retrieve the Top 5 Superstore Profitable States for the Region chosen on the active filter.

Steps Involved:

The "Top 5 States" will be updated on the chart.

context filers

The "Superstore" data source allows us to view the Top 5 States for the whole dataset. We see that of the "Top 5" States, 2 are from the 'West' area and 1 from each of the other regions.

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The "Top 5 States" from the region that is chosen on the Region Filter must, nevertheless, be displayed.

  • Create a Text Table (or any chart of your choice) showing the Profits from different States, nested inside the Region dimension. This way we can see the name of the Region to which the State belongs.

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    context filers

    Show the "Top 5 Profitable" States over here. In order to see just the "Top 5 Customers" by Sum((Profit), construct a Filter on the State dimension.

  • Drag the State field from the Data Pane and place it on the “Filters” Shelf. Go to the “Top” tab on the filters window and set up the condition to fetch “Top 5”.

    Data Pane and place

  • Create an Interactive filter on the Region dimension.

    To display the filter, right-click on the "Region" dimension and select the appropriate choice. Remove the "All" option and show the filter as a "Single Value List." On this basis, it is assured that users may only choose one "Region" at a time.

    Interactive filter on the Region dimension

    Observe how Tableau displays the state from the Top 5 list that is part of the "Central" Region when the filter option for the region is set to "Central." The 'Top 5 States' from the chosen area must be retrieved and shown on the chart, though.

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  • For this, the “Region” filter is supposed to be added to “Context”. By doing so, Region filter will get applied first, Tableau will take the data for that region and apply the “State” filter on that data. Thereby, giving us the Top 5 from the ‘Selected Region’.

  • Click on the drop-down icon on the ‘Region Pill’ present on Filters Shelf and choose the option “Add to Context”.

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    context filers Region Pill

    As the interactive filter is selected for a region, you can see how the text table on the canvas is changed to display the "Top 5 Customer" for that region.

    Contextual filters "Add Context" to the data, which will then be subject to all other filters in the worksheet.

    From the Tableau Public Software, you can view the worksheet with further examples on Context Filters.

    Context Filters from the Tableau

    Read an article on Data Blending in Tableau


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