Exploring Data Using Filters

This topic describes how you can use filters to exclude data that you’re less interested in exploring, and instead focus on key data.

Topics:

About Filters and Filter Types

Filters reduce the amount of data shown in visualizations, canvases, and projects. The types of filters you can use are Range, List, Date, and Expression.

Filter types are automatically determined based on the data elements you choose as filters.

  • Range filters are generated for data elements that are number data types and that have an aggregation rule set to something other than none. Range filters are applied to data elements that are measures, and that limit data to a range of contiguous values, such as revenue of $100,000 to $500,000. Or you can create a range filter that excludes (as opposed to includes) a contiguous range of values. Such exclusive filters limit data to noncontiguous ranges (for example, revenue less than $100,000 or greater than $500,000). See Applying Range Filters.

  • List filters are applied to text and non-aggregatable numbers. See Applying List Filters.

  • Date filters use calendar controls to adjust time or date selections. You can either select a single contiguous range of dates, or you can use a date range filter to exclude dates within the specified range. See Applying Date Filters.

  • Expression filters let you define more complex filters using SQL expressions. See Building Expression Filters.

How Visualizations and Filters Interact

There are several ways to specify how visualizations and filters interact.

How Filters Interact

Note how filters are applied and interact:

  • Filter Bar: Any filters that are added to the filter bar are applied to all visualizations on all canvases in the project. These project-level filters are always applied first, before any filters you include on the visualizations.

  • Filter Bar with Limit Values Applied: If you add more than one filter to the filter bar, then by default the filters restrict each other based on the values that you select. For example, if you have filters for Product Category and Product Name, and if you set the Product Category filter to Furniture and Office Supplies, then the options in the Product Name filter value pick list is limited to the product names of furniture and office supplies. However, you can use the Limit Values option to remove or limit how the filters in the filter bar restrict each other.

  • Filters on Visualizations: Filters that you specify on an individual visualization are applied to that visualization after the filters on the filter bar are applied. If you select the Use as Filter option and select the data points that are being used as a filter in the visualization, then filters are generated in the other visualizations.

How Visualizations Interact

You use the Synchronize Visualizations setting to specify how the visualizations on your canvas interact. By default, visualizations are linked for automatic synchronization. You can deselect Synchronize Visualizations to unlink your visualizations and turn automatic synchronization off.

Description of syncviz_dvcs.gif follows
Description of the illustration syncviz_dvcs.gif

When Synchronize Visualizations is on (selected), then all filters on the filter bar and actions that produce filters (such as Drill, Keep Selected, Remove Selected) are applied to all visualizations on the canvas. For example, if you have a canvas with multiple visualizations and you drill into one of the visualizations, a corresponding filter is added to the filter bar and it affects all visualizations on the canvas. Note that any visualization-level filters are applied to only the visualization.

When Synchronize Visualizations is off (deselected), then analytic actions such as Drill or Keep Selected affect the visualization to which you applied the action. In this mode, the filters are displayed in a small gray filter bar within each visualization.

About Automatically Applied Filters

By default, the filters in the filter bar and filter drop target are automatically applied. However, you can turn this behavior off if you want to manually apply the filters.

When Auto-Apply Filters is selected in the filters bar menu, the selections you make in the filters bar or filters drop target are applied to the visualizations. When Auto-Apply Filters is off or deselected, the selections you make in the filters bar or filters drop target aren’t applied to the visualizations until you click the Apply button in the list filter panel.

Creating Filters on a Project

You can add filters to limit the data that’s displayed in all the visualizations on all of the canvases in your project.

For example, you can add a filter so that all of the visualizations in the project show only data for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Other ways you can limit the data in visualizations:

  • Instead of or in addition to adding filters to the canvas, you can add filters to individual visualizations. See Creating Filters on a Visualization.

  • You can add a filter control to the canvas. A filter control is a type of visualization that allows you to choose which data to display in the other visualizations on the canvas. For example, you can provide a list of customer names that the user can select or deselect. See Creating Filters on a Canvas.

  • There are several options that you can use to define how filters interact with each other. See How Visualizations and Filters Interact.

Any filters included on the canvas are applied before the filters chosen from an individual visualization.

  1. Go to the Data Elements pane and drag a data element to the filter bar.

  2. Set the filter values. How you set the values depends upon the data type that you’re filtering.
  3. Optionally, click the filter menu and hover the mouse pointer over the Limit Values option to specify how the filter interacts with the other filters in the filter bar.

    Note:

    • By default, the Auto option causes the filter to limit other related filters in the filter bar.

      For example, if you have filters for Product Category and Product Name, and if you set the Product Category filter to Furniture and Office Supplies, then the options in the Product Name filter value pick list is limited to the product names of furniture and office supplies. You can select None to turn this limit functionality off.

    • You can specify any individual filter in the filter bar that you don’t want to limit.

      For example, if you have filters for Product Category, Product Sub Category, and Product Name, and in the Limit Values option for the Product Category filter you click Product Sub Category, then the product subcategory filter shows all values and not a list of values limited by what you select for Product Category. However, the values shown for Product Name is limited to what you select for Product Category.

  4. Optionally, click the filter bar menu and select Auto Apply Filters to turn off the automatic apply. When you turn off the automatic apply, then each filter’s selection displays an Apply button that you must click to apply the filter to the visualizations on the canvas.

Note:

You can also go to the filter bar and perform the following steps:
  • Select a filter and right-click, then select Remove Filter to remove it from the project.

  • Right-click and select Clear Filter Selections to clear the selection list of all the filters in the filter bar.

  • Right-click and select Remove All Filters to remove all the filters in the filter bar.

Creating Filters on a Visualization

You can add filters to limit the data that’s displayed in a specific visualization on the canvas.

Visualization filters can be automatically created by drilling, selecting Keep Selected, or selecting Remove Selected on the visualization’s Menu when the Synchronize Visualizations option in the project’s Canvas Settings menu is turned off.

Instead of or in addition to adding filters to an individual visualization, you can add filters to the project or to an individual canvas. See Creating Filters on a Project. Any filters included on the canvas are applied before the filters that you add to an individual visualization.

  1. Confirm that the Explore pane is displayed.
  2. In the Visualize canvas, select the visualization that you want to add a filter to.
  3. Drag and drop one or more data element from the Data Elements pane to the Filter drop target.
  4. In the Filter drop target, click the data elements name and set the filter values. How you set the values depends upon the data type that you’re filtering.
  5. Optionally, click the filters bar Menu and select Auto Apply Filters to turn off automatic apply for all filters on the canvas and within the visualization. When you turn off automatic apply, then each filter’s selection displays an Apply button that you must click to apply the filter to the visualization.

Creating Filters on a Canvas

You can use any visualization on the canvas to filter the other visualizations on the canvas, or you can add a specific visualization to function as a filter control. A filter control allows you to select and deselect items to be displayed in the other visualizations on the canvas.

For example, in the Filter Controls pane, you add the List filter control for Product Category. Then, you switch to the Data Elements pane and create a stacked bar visualization that includes Sales, Forecasted Sales, Product Category, and Order Year. In the filter control, you can select and deselect categories to specify whichever forecasted yearly sales data that you want to analyze. Description of filteroptions02.gif follows
Description of the illustration filteroptions02.gif
Or if the visualizations on the canvas are similar, then you can set the Use as Filter option to use the selections that you make in one visualization to filter the other similar visualizations on the canvas.
  1. Click Filter Controls to display the Filter Controls pane.
  2. Select a filter control type and drag it to the Visualize canvas. The filter control is displayed as a visualization on the canvas.
  3. Click Data Elements to switch to the Data Elements pane.
  4. Drag and drop one or more data element from the Data Elements pane to the filter control on the canvas.
  5. In the Data Elements pane, locate the data element you want to filter by and drag it to the filter control on the canvas.
  6. Add other filters to the filter bar and visualizations to the canvas as needed.
  7. Optionally, to use the selections that you make in one visualization to filter similar visualizations on the canvas, go to the visualization’s Menu and select the Use as Filter option.

Moving Filter Panels

You can move filter panels from the filter bar to a different spot on the canvas.

When you expand filters in the filter bar, it can block your view of the visualization that you’re filtering. Moving the panels makes it easy to specify filter values without having to collapse and reopen the filter selector.

Applying Range Filters

You use range filters for data elements that are number data types and that have an aggregation rule set to something other than none.

Range filters are applied to data elements that are measures. Range filters limit data to a range of contiguous values, such as revenue of $100,000 to $500,000. Or you can create a range filter that excludes (as opposed to includes) a contiguous range of values. Such exclusive filters limit data to two noncontiguous ranges (for example, revenue less than $100,000 or greater than $500,000).
  1. In the Visualize canvas, go to the filter bar and click the filter to view the range list.
  2. In the Range list, click By to view the selected list of Attributes. All members that are being filtered have check marks next to their names.

    You can also optionally perform any of the following steps:

    • In the selected list click a member to remove it from the list of selections. The check mark disappears.

    • In the selected list, for any non-selected member that you want to add to the list of selections, click the member. A check mark appears next to the selected member.

    • Set the range that you want to filter on by moving the sliders in the histogram. The default range is from minimum to maximum, but as you move the sliders, the Start field and End field adjust to the range you set.

  3. Click outside of the filter to close the filter panel.

Applying List Filters

List filters are applied to text and non-aggregatable numbers. After you add a list filter, you can change the selected members that it includes and excludes.

  1. In the Visualize canvas, go to the filter bar and select a filter to view the Selections list.
  2. Locate the member you want to include and click it to add it to the Selections list. Alternatively, use the Search field to find a member you want to add to the filter. Use the wildcards * and ? for searching.
  3. Optionally, you can also perform the following steps:
    • In the Selections list click a member to remove it from the list of selections.

    • In the Selections list, you can click the eye icon next to a member to cause it to be filtered out but not removed from the selections list.

    • In the Selections list, you can click the actions icon at the top, and select Exclude Selections to exclude the members in the Selections list.

    • Click Add All or Remove All at the bottom of the filter panel to add or remove all members to or from the Selections list at one time.

  4. Click outside of the filter to close the filter panel.

Applying Date Filters

Date filters use calendar controls to adjust time or date selections. You can select a single contiguous range of dates, or use a date range filter to exclude dates within the specified range.

  1. In the Visualize canvas, go to the filter bar and click the filter to view the Calendar Date list.
  2. In Start, select the date that begins the range that you want to filter.
    Use the Previous arrow and Next arrow to move backward or forward in time, or use the drop-down lists to change the month or year.
  3. In End, select the date that ends the range that you want to filter.
  4. Optionally, to start over and select different dates, right-click the filter in the filter bar and select Clear Filter Selections.
  5. Click outside of the filter to close the filter panel.

Building Expression Filters

Using expression filters, you can define more complex filters using SQL expressions. Expression filters can reference zero or more data elements.

For example, you can create the expression filter "Sample Sales"."Base Facts"."Revenue" < "Sample Sales"."Base Facts"."Target Revenue". After applying the filter, you see the items that didn’t achieve their target revenue.

You build expressions using the Expression Builder. You can drag and drop data elements to the Expression Builder and then choose operators to apply. Expressions are validated for you before you apply them. See About Composing Expressions.

  1. In the Visualize canvas, go to the filter bar and click the menu icon, then select Add Expression Filter.
  2. In the Expression Filter panel Expression field, compose an expression.
  3. In the Label field, give the expression a name.
  4. Click Validate to check if the syntax is correct.
  5. When the expression filter is valid, then click Apply. The expression is applied to the visualizations on the canvas.