In Tableau 2018.3 release a unique feature was introduced which gave greater flexibility and ease of use for developers and business users to perform complex analysis with just a few clicks.

Earlier it was possible to create sets by;

    1. Adding dimension values manually
    2. Based on measure ranges and conditional statements
    3. Top/Bottom N conditions based on the measure

With Set Actions, it is possible to dynamically pass dimension values to existing sets based on value selection from other visualizations. To straighten out the confusion let’s understand how to Set Actions in Tableau with an example.

Create SET A for Customer Name dimension and select any values.

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Creating Customer Name Set

 

Add the SET A to rows and Customer Name dimensions adjacent in the row pane. The customer names are categorized as IN and OUT based upon the values selected when creating a set.

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Set Actions in Tableau

 

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Set Actions in Tableau

 

Create another bar chart for Sales by Customer Name. Add both the sheets in a dashboard as shown below;

With Set Actions implemented, the values in the Set, change based on the selection from source sheet. For example, a Set has customers A, B and C. When users select customers X, Y and Z from another chart these values replace the existing values of A, B and C in the set.

To add Set Actions

Go to Dashboard -> Actions -> Add Actions -> Change Set Value.

Select the source sheet as Sales by Customer Name sheet which we will use to pass customer names to SET A.

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Set Actions Example

The target Set is SET A.

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Set Actions Example

 

Select Customer Names from Sales by Customer Name bar chart and those values will be passed to SET A.

Through Set Action business users can select Customer Names from a chart and pass them to sets to perform complex analysis.

Let’s put Set Actions to use with a proportional brushing analysis example.
Let’s find out the contribution of selected Sub-Categories to total sales in each state. Build a Sales by Sub-Category bar chart. Create a Sales by State bar chart and convert the measure into % of the total. Set the Compute Using value to Table (Across). In the same sheet, create a Set for Sub-Category with first five Sub-Categories selected.

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Set Actions in Tableau Proportional Brushing

 

Add the above two sheets onto a dashboard. Create a Set Action with Sales by Sub-Category sheet as source and target Set as Sub-Category Set that was created in the previous step.

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Set Actions Example

Select Sub-Category values from the Sales by Sub-Category bar chart and we will be able to find the selected Set of Sub-Category’s contribution to the total sales in each state.

With Set Actions, many complex analyses can be performed easily even by non-technical users. A similar feature called parameter action was released in Tableau 2019.2. What are its capabilities? We will be posting about it in the subsequent blogs.

 

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