Passing a Field From a Secondary Data Source With a URL Action in Tableau


Passing a Field From a Secondary Data Source With a URL Action in Tableau

by Mike Roberts

In light of the Tableau 8 launch today, I decided it might be a great time to share one last tip for Tableau 7, for those who might not be upgrading right away.

Here we go.
All starts with a question:  Can I use a URL action to pass a field from a secondary data source?
Let’s go through the steps…

Step 1:
In the Primary data source, make a calculated field that is the Secondary field dimension. 


Step 2:
Create a parameter (Use ‘All’ for allowable values)


Step 3:
Create a calculation for the filter shelf

NOTE: Change it to continuous and filter for just 1

Step 4:
Create your URL Action and a ‘Helper’ lookup sheet




In the URL, use the Tableau format:

 https://{your server}/views/{worbook_name}/{view_name}/?:embed=y&[paramater name]=

So, in our example, this would be the complete text you would paste in the URL portion:

View this dashboard with Tableau Public

And you’re done! Selecting a name from the ‘Helper’ sheet (Secondary data source) now filters the view.

Important URL note:
Where you see the ‘’ is where you would insert your own server name. Everything after that follows the same Tableau view format.

What is a URL action?
At its core, what a URL action does is simply link to a web page, a file, or even an image. You can use it to extend your dashboards to link to other dashboards or even use them to look up facts about your data. Also, be aware that, depending on our browser, this link will open up a new browser window. If you wanted to avoid that, you can just put a web object in your Tableau dashboard and have the new info open there.

For Tableau 8, filtering on a Secondary data source is as simple as dragging the field on to the filter shelf; looking forward to that simplicity. 

More About the Author

Mike Roberts

Business Intelligence Consultant
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