IMPORTANT: This document is specific to Sigma worksheets. To learn about this topic for Sigma’s new Workbooks feature, please visit Intro to Control Elements.

Dashboard controls are all the different types of interactivity that is available on your dashboard. This includes input controls that allow end users to set filters and parameters, hidden controls that allow the dashboard creator to add a permanent filter, and creation of variables that can be referenced in the URLs of image and embeds. 

Dashboard Controls are all of the ways that data can be manipulated on your dashboards. 

Summary of Content

The Basics of Controls
      Control Settings
      Targets
      Actions
      Control Elements
Create a Control
      Add Control from a Visualization  (Recommended)
      Start from an Input Control
      Start from the Dashboard Control Modal
Control Settings
      Name and Control ID
      Value Type
Control Types
       Text Box
       Lists
              Manual Value List
              Source Value List
              DateTrunc
      Number Range
      Advanced Date Range
      Simple Date Range
      Check Box
      Switch
Control Placement
      Selecting Control Placement
      Hidden Controls
            Hidden Controls and the Dashboard URL
            Hidden Controls and Application Embedding
Targets
Formatting Value Lists
      Format Options
Binning Values by DatePart
Managing Controls
Related Documentation

The Basics of Controls

Dashboard controls are incredibly customizable, but on a very high level they are made up of three major components: control settings, target(s) and action(s).

Pro-tip: If you create a control from the chart menu, the initial control setup will be autofilled for you. Follow the instructions for adding a control directly from a visualization to see how.

Control Settings

A control’s Value Type and Control Type dictate what input your control will take and subsequently how the control will look on your dashboard. Depending on the type of control you select to create, you will be able to customize relevant control settings

Targets

Control targets are visualizations that will be impacted when a user interacts with a control. Each control can support one or more targets. For each target you add to a control, you will need to assign an action.

Actions

An action is the method in which a control impacts a target. Types of actions include filter, set parameter, and limit. Each target for a control can have a different action applied.

Control Elements

When you create a dashboard control, a control element will automatically appear on your dashboard. As a dashboard author, you may choose to hide the control element in the Dashboard Control Bar. The Control Bar is accessible only to dashboard authors, not viewers. To hide the control element, set Control Placement to ‘Control Bar’ in the control modal.

Create a Control

There are several ways to create a control on your dashboard. However, adding a control directly from a visualization is recommended. 

Add Control from a Visualization  (Recommended)

Starting from a visualization is a good shortcut to use when creating controls for your dashboard. When starting with the visualization, we automatically fill in many of the settings for the control, as well as automatically additional targets based on the shared settings. 

  1. If you have not already, create a dashboard and add a visualization.
  2. If the dashboard is not in edit mode, click the big white ‘Edit’ button in the dashboard header.
  3. Open the gear menu in the top right corner of the visualization you would like to add a control for. This will open the visualization dropdown menu.
  4. In the visualization menu, hover over the action you would like to apply for your control. This will open the column submenu. Select a column from the target visualization.
  5. The control modal will automatically open with your selected values and Sigma's recommended control settings
  6. If you are satisfied with the control, click the blue 'Add' button in the modal header to create your control.

Start from an Input Control

  1. Hover over any existing element and click the green + sign that appears to add a new element.
  2. Choose ‘Input Control’ as the new element type.
  3. Choose a name for your Input control.
  4. Choose what type of data the use will input. Will it be a number, text, or date?
  5. Select the control type. Read more about the different types of controls below. 
  6. Choose a target for the control. A target is the visualization that will be affected by the control. 
  7. Choose the type of action. Filtering on a column and setting a parameter value are two types of actions that can affect your visualizations.
    Once you choose your action type, you will then need to give more details.
    If you are filtering, you will need to choose which column to filter on. The columns displayed will be the ones from the underlying worksheet that have the same data type as the input, and will return correct results.
    If you are setting a parameter value, you will need to choose which parameter to set. If your input has multi-select enabled, you will need to choose  which single value to pass to the parameter.
    You can add additional actions to a single target by clicking +Add Action. This is helpful when you want to set multiple parameter values with a single control. 
  8. Once you set up your first target, you can click ‘Add New Target’ to see our list of suggested targets. You can add our suggested targets, or configure additional targets on your own. 
  9. Click Apply to save your changes.

Start from the Dashboard Control Modal

  1. Click the control icon in your dashboard toolbar to open Dashboard Controls. 
  2. You will see a list of all of the controls currently on your dashboard. If you have existing controls, click “Add New Control” to open the new control dialog. If this is your first control, we will automatically show you the new control settings. 
  3. Choose a name for your dashboard control.
  4. Choose what type of data the use will input. Will it be a number, text, or date?
  5. Select the control type. Read more about the different types of controls below. 
  6. Choose a target for the control. A target is the visualization that will be affected by the control. 
  7. Choose the type of action. Filtering on a column and setting a parameter value are two types of actions that can affect your visualizations.
    Once you choose your action type, you will then need to give more details.
    If you are filtering, you will need to choose which column to filter on. The columns displayed will be the ones from the underlying worksheet that have the same data type as the input, and will return correct results.
    If you are setting a parameter value, you will need to choose which parameter to set. If your input has multi-select enabled, you will need to choose  which single value to pass to the parameter.
    You can add additional actions to a single target by clicking +Add Action. This is helpful when you want to set multiple parameter values with a single control. 
  8. Once you set up your first target, you can click ‘Add New Target’ to see our list of suggested targets. You can add our suggested targets, or configure additional targets on your own. 
  9. Click Apply to save your changes.

Dashboard Control Settings

Name and Control ID

Name is what will appear above the Input Control on your dashboard. The Control ID is how you can reference the control when using Parameterized URLs. 

Value Type

The Value types defined the type of value that will be input into the control. Value types are Text, Number, Date, and Logical. The value type of the control must match the value type of the column or parameter that it will apply to. 

The value type will affect the types of input control options you have available. For example, only Date value types can use the Date Picker as an input control. 

Control Types

The control type defines what the input control will look like on your dashboard.

Text Box

A text box is exactly what it sounds like. It allows users to input text or numbers in a freeform manner. Text boxes are available for Text and Number value types. 

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Lists

Set up a predefined list of values that can be entered into the control. The source of the list can be a column from an underlying data source, or the list can be manually defined. 

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Manual Value List

Manual value lists are defined by the user. Create a list of value that the dashboard user will choose from. 

Value is the actual value that will be used in the filter or parameter. All values listed must match the value type of the filter. 

Display value is what the dashboard user will see in the list. The display name can be whatever you want. 

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Source Value List

You can source values for the list from any of your underlying data sources. Choose which visualization you want to use as the source for the list values, then choose a specific column from the underlying data source. We will then pull in all the values from that column. 

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Optional Control Attributes 

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Allow Multi Select
When selected, users can choose multiple items from the control's value list. If this option is unselected, users can only choose one option. 

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Show Relevant Values
When selected, the control will display only the values remaining after other filters and parameters are applied to the control's 'Value Source'. Only filters that impact this ‘Value Source’ will have an effect on your control’s values.

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png Add Nulls as an Option
When selected, the control will display null as a selectable value in the value list. Without this option selected, nulls are included by default.

 

Source value lists also support optional formatting options. These options can be set after your control is created. Learn more.

DateTrunc

Your control’s DateTrunc field will allow you to define date binning for your datetime values. This field is available for date controls that support single selection value lists as their input. It uses the DateTrunc function to bin data based on the date part specified.
To set the DateTrunc field on a control:

  1. Set the control’s Value Type to ‘Date’.
  2. Set the Control Type to ‘Value List’.
  3. Select a visualization as your Value Source.
  4. Select a Source Column from the available list.
  5. Uncheck the Allow Multi Select control attribute (DateTrunc is only available for single value selection).
  6. Select a date part from the DateTrunc menu list.

To learn how to create an interactive chart with date binning or to create a filter control with date binning, visit binning values by date truncation.

Number Range

A number range lets you set a minimum and maximum number. This is useful when you would like to filter a visualization to only show results within a particular range. 

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Date Picker

The date picker allows a user to pick a single date. This can be a fixed date or a relative date. 

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Advanced Date Range

The advanced date range selector allows a user to choose a start date and an end date. The dates can either be a fixed date range or a relative date range. Quick select options can be found in the drop down menu at the top of the picker. The advanced date range picker offers more selection options than its counterpart, the Simple Date Range selector. 

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Simple Date Range

The simple date range selector allows a user to choose a start date and an end date. In comparison the the Advanced Date Range selector, It provides fewer configuration suggestions and a simpler interface for easier date selection. 

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Check Box

The check box is an option for boolean value types. Users can choose to show True Values, False values, both, or none. 

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Switch

The switch is available for the boolean input types. Users can choose to show only true values or only false values. 

Screen_Shot_2020-04-09_at_1.51.22_PM.png 

Control Placement

Dashboard control placement determines whether a control is visible on the dashboard or hidden. This placement is set on a per-control basis by the dashboard author. 

Selecting Control Placement

To select a control's placement, choose 'Dashboard' or 'Control Bar' under 'Control Placement' in the control modal.

Screen_Shot_2020-07-20_at_3.46.49_PM.png 

Hidden Controls

Hidden controls live in the dashboard control bar. The control bar is only visible when the dashboard is in edit mode. This means that, as an creator, you can define default control values that are not accessible for manipulation by viewers.

Hidden Controls and the Dashboard URL

By default, most hidden controls cannot receive input from viewers via the dashboard URL. The exception to this rule is when a control targets a highlighted chart or coordinated drill down. In such cases, allowing control input via the URL is required. 

As a dashboard author, you can choose to enable this option for viewers. To do so, select the 'Editable via URL for Viewer' under the control placement configuration of an individual hidden control.

Hidden Controls and Application Embedding

When an application embedding link is generated, the creator can optionally pass control values to hidden controls in the URL during the link creation process. To later modify these values, a new link would need to be created. 

Targets

Targets are what the controls will affect. Target visualizations will update when the control value is changed. 

Each control can have multiple targets, and each target can be affected differently based on the action settings. 

Once you set up a Target with an action, such as filtering by a specific column or setting a specific parameter, Sigma will suggest other Targets based on your settings. If all of the visualizations in your dashboard should be filtered by the same column, Sigma makes that easy. Once you set up your first target you can quickly add the rest of the visualizations as additional targets with the same settings.

Formatting Value Lists

Value list controls have several format options (listed below). To select format options:

  1. Click on the gear icon in the control's top right corner.
  2. Select your desired format options from the dropdown menu's 'Control Formatting' list.

    Screen_Shot_2020-06-22_at_4.23.27_PM.png

 

Format Options

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Show Searchbox
When selected, users can search through all of the values in the list. We recommend selecting this option when the control's values are sourced from a column. 

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Show Histogram
When selected, a histogram displaying each value's count will appear on the source column. 

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Show Expanded List
When selected, the control's full expanded list of values will be displayed on your dashboard. If this option is unselected, the control's values will be displayed in a drop down. 

Screen_Shot_2020-05-20_at_3.36.51_PM.png  Show Clear Button
When selected, dashboard users will have the option to clear all selected values from the control. 

 

Binning Values by Date Part

Setting up date-time binning will allow you and your dashboard’s viewers to filter one or more visualizations by date part (eg year, month, etc). To set up date binning, use the DateTrunc field on your control.

Create an Interactive Chart with Date Binning

  1. Open the gear menu in the top right corner of the chart you would like to make interactive.
  2. Hover over Highlight and select the date field that you would like to bin from the submenu of Visualization Fields.
  3. The control modal will open with autofilled settings. These settings are auto filled based on the underlying structure of your chart.
    If the chart field you selected in step 2 has DateTrunc applied on the chart plot level, your control will automatically autofill to support date binning. If this is the case, you will see a prefilled DateTrunc settings input and can skip to step 9.
  4. Under Control Type, select ‘Value List’.
  5. Under Value Source, select the visualization you would like to use as your date value source list.
  6. Under Source Column, select the date column you would like to filter on.
  7. Uncheck the Allow Multi Select control attribute (DateTrunc is only available for single value selection).
  8. Select a date part from the DateTrunc list.
  9. Next, you will want to set your Targets and Actions under Apply on Targets.
    Targets and Actions are automatically created for all charts sharing the visualization field you selected in step 4.
  10. Once you are satisfied with your control, click Add.
    Your control will automatically appear on your dashboard and your chart will be interactive. 

 

Create a Filter Control with Date Binning

  1. Click the control icon in your dashboard toolbar to open the Dashboard Controls modal.
  2. In the left column, you will see a list of all of the controls currently on your dashboard. If you have existing controls, click + Add New Control.
  3. In the Title field, enter a name for your control.
  4. Under Value Type, select ‘Date’.
  5. Under Control Type, select ‘Value List’.
  6. Under Value Source, select the visualization you would like to use as your date value source list.
  7. Under Source Column, select the date column you would like to filter on.
  8. Uncheck the Allow Multi Select control attribute (DateTrunc is only available for single value selection).
  9. Select a date part from the DateTrunc list.
  10. Under Apply on Target’ select the targets you would like to manipulate with the control.
    A list of suggested targets will be provided.
  11. Click Apply to create your new dashboard control.

 

Managing Controls

As a dashboard author, you can modify your controls at any time when your dashboard is in Edit mode.

To open the control modal, click on the control icon toward the right corner of your dashboard’s header.

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To open a specific control directly, hover over the control element, click on the gear icon, and select `Settings` from the dropdown menu.

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Related Resources

Dashboard Layouts
Dashboard Controls in the URL
Dashboard Settings
Interactive Charts: Highlighting
Coordinated Drill Downs 
Converting Old Dashboards

 

IMPORTANT: This document is specific to Sigma worksheets. To learn about this topic for Sigma’s new Workbooks feature, please visit Intro to Control Elements.