Tableau Parameters: How These Add Value To Your Data?

Tableau parameters can be likened to a container of elements that can be used to input values that are not already present or fixed in the current datasheet. Several operations can be done via such parameters, including customized data views based on numerical values or dimensions, according to the target areas of data analysis.

Several actions can transform your parameters to produce more responses, also known as parameter actions. With such methods, your audience can have a more direct engagement with the data based on their requirements.  

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Creating a Tableau Parameter

A tableau parameter can be created in the following steps:

  • Step I: Begin with clicking on the drop-down menu at the right corner of the Data panel. Then choose to ‘Create Parameter’ from the List.
  • Step II: This would open a Create Parameter dialog box and would prompt you to assign a new name to the parameter, choose its data type. Once the current value gets set, you can also add a data type from the List.
  • Step III: You can now choose a display format for the created parameter in the following presets like Number, Currency, Scientific, and Percentage.
  • Step IV: The options All, List, and Range would help you make the selection based on the allowable values inside a field and make a parameter. You may also have a list of values from the choice of the field, or set a well-defined range to insert values within the setting. 

For example, in the case of adding values for a parameter using Add from the field option, the List would then present all of its values inside the List of Values option. You can delete chosen values by the help of the ‘X’ icon right next to them, and once that is completed, you can press OK.

  • Step V: This makes the brand new parameter added to the Parameters section located at the bottom left.

Implementing a Tableau Parameter

As a tableau parameter is created, you can add it to your workbook by right-clicking the required setting’s name and then choose the Add to Sheet option. The drop-down menu would then show several parameter options like Copy, Edit, Rename, and Duplicate. 

Once the Show Parameter Control field is chosen, the new parameter control box would show on your right where you need to manually input the field values and view them in the selected parameters. 

If you need to hide this card, then you can choose the Hide Card option from the drop-down menu, where other operations, such as editing parameters, titles, and formatting, also exist. It can be done by selecting the type of the parameter card, such as Type In and Compact List. 

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Editing a Tableau Parameter 

For editing a pre-existing parameter, you can right-click on the name of the parameter and select the ‘Edit’ option from the drop-down menu. 

Now, as you know, there are different types of filters available in a tableau that can be applied to prepare the data for analysis and visualization, you can also insert parameters to the entire process right from the Filter window. To perform the addition of tableau parameters in a filter, you need to open the drop-down menu and choose ‘Create a New Parameter’ option.

A dialog box appears where you can choose to make a parameter. Select the range to any value, and click OK.

Immediately a tableau parameter gets created where all the values get applied to the bar graph. These values can also be manually put in the type-in filter. 

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Using Tableau Parameter in a Filter 

Parameters contain the ability to enhance the values in a calculation dynamically. Instead of manual intervention, you can implement a parameter that can be further changed in its parameter control settings and updated accordingly. 

To put a parameter in a calculation, you can drag the required parameter from the Data panel and drop it in the calculation editor to take the place of the current formula or at any new location. 

Using Tableau Parameter in a Reference Box

You can also implement parameters to dynamically modify any reference line to a new location instead of its predefined location on the axis. There are several parameters you can choose from to complete this operation present in the Add Reference line. Choose according to the function you’d like to apply.

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Wrapping up

There are several ways and hacks in which tableau parameters can enhance your datasets and visualizations for generating valuable insights. The operations, scope, and functionalities of the parameters all add up to the same cause. We hope you now know better about all of the tableau parameters in general.

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What are Tableau parameters?

A parameter can be any variable in the workbook, such as a string, data, or even a number that is able to replace the existing constant value in the calculation, reference line, or filter.

For instance, you can create a calculation field that returns True only if the sales are greater than $5000 and otherwise returns False. Here, you can change the constant value of '5000' with a parameter. Now, with the use of parameter control, you are allowed to impact the threshold in your calculation dynamically.

You are even allowed to create dynamic parameters that will automatically refresh the current value, list of values, or range of values. This action will occur whenever you open the workbook, and the data source gets connected with Tableau.

You can even utilize Parameter Actions to make the parameters more dynamic. This will allow the audience to change the value of any parameter by directly interacting through different actions like making a click or selecting a mark.

What is the difference between parameters and filters in Tableau?

Filters and parameters are often confused in Tableau by people. But, they are very much different from each other. Filters are known to be specific to a single data source, while parameters are not. Filters can only be used in a single worksheet. On the other hand, parameters can be used in the entire workbook. This is why most professionals prefer using parameters over filters in Tableau while filtering across different sources of data.

Are parameters known to be faster than filters in Tableau?

Tableau parameters run pretty much faster than quick filters in Tableau. Whenever you try to run a quick filter, it will ping your data source, and this can slow you down. All the parameters in Tableau are retained in the memory. This is the reason why it is preferable to use a parameter over a filter whenever you have a list of values that you wish to use as a filter, and there are very few chances of it changing frequently.

If your dimensions are going to change very frequently, you shouldn't consider using parameters because you will have to re-update them every time. By using a Tableau parameter as a filter, you can easily gain processing speed.

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