By Ellie Fields 2009/04/26

In Tableau 5.0 we’ve focused on letting you find related data more easily, especially in dashboards. One of the themes of this release is Active Dashboards, our features let you discover and work with relationships in your data in a much richer way.

Use the radio buttons in the top right of the view to select a region. Then use your mouse to highlight one or more marks on the map. The view below will change to include data about selected state(s) and programs.

Perhaps we’re interested in Texas. I select the South, and the map, the job estimates, and cost figures all adjust to include only projects in the South. Then I click on the circle above Texas on the map. The view below changes to highlight projects in Texas. Now I can hover over one of the highlighted parts of the bar graph to see the tooltip, which provides more details on estimated jobs and the cost associated with those programs.

Tableau is supporting your cognitive work by linking the data in the two perspectives, leaving you to draw conclusions instead of hunting for related data.

We’re also taking advantage of Tableau’s beautiful new visual treatment of selected data. In the top view, your selected state really pops, while the bottom view, you can clearly see data for Texas, without losing the context of the data for the rest of the South.

In academic research on visual analytics, this type of capability is called brushing and it's extremely powerful.

Filter in Dashboards

This opens up a lot of possibilities for working with your data. Most importantly, you can browse data and filter as you go. For example, maybe I didn't care about any particular state at all, but I did care about which state in the West proposed the most expensive projects. When I choose the West as my region in the control on the right, I quickly see that California has the greatest proposed cost of projects. Now I can select California and see detail in the view below. I'm exploring as I go, and I can use the data itself to guide my questioning.

There are more than 60 new features in Tableau 5.0. Come back at launch (in about a month) to see them. Meanwhile, in my next post I'll look at new ways you can work with data.

And if you've been following our series on Tableau 5.0, you'll notice we're using another live visualization. It's a test of a new version of Tableau Server. To get more info, click on the Tableau logo in each visualization.

Source data: data from the US Council of Mayors.


Hi, I kept getting the message, user is not authorized to view this session. I tried to look at the page in both IE & Firefox, but both browsers got the same error message.

Sorry about that, Jillene! We may have been down for maintenance. Could you try again? Let us know if you get the same message.

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