Coordinated Drill Downs in Dashboards

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

Existing chart drill downs, when combined with dashboard controls, can be used to filter data across your dashboard. This will keep your data in sync with what is selected in the drill down. 

There are a number of use cases for coordinating drill downs on dashboards. Consider implementing this feature if you want to:

  • Filter a related table or chart to display only values relevant to the drill down selection.
  • Update single value charts to show the totals from the time period that you drilled to.
  • Keep multiple chart drill downs on a similar path in sync.

Coordinating Chart Drill Downs with Dashboard Controls

To coordinate a drill down on your dashboard, you will need to create a new dashboard control with a drill down chart as a filtered target.  All other visualizations that you would like to filter in sync with the drill down selection should also be set as targets to this control. 

What are Drill Down Charts?

Drill down charts are visualizations structured such that a viewer can access multiple levels of granularity within the data.
In Sigma, bar charts, line charts, area charts, combo charts, scatter plot charts, pie charts and donut charts all support drill downs.

Table charts, pivot tables, maps, and single value charts do not support drill downs. However, all visualization types can be synced (via control) to respond to coordinated drill downs on Dashboards.

What are Dashboard Controls?

Dashboard controls are elements that facilitate user interaction with data. As a dashboard author, you can create powerful controls across visualizations for a highly interactive and focused experience.  If you are new to building Sigma dashboards, we recommend reviewing the basics of dashboard controls before moving forward.

A Bi-Directional Relationship: How Drill-Down Charts Become Interactive

Chart interactivity on dashboards is made possible by the bi-directional relationship between dashboard controls and their targeted visualizations. This means that selections are passed from controls to target visualizations and vice versa. As such,

(1) Selecting values from a control will impact data in target visualizations.

(2) Selecting values from an interactive visualization will impact any associated controls. 

(3) In combination of (1) and (2), selecting values from an interactive visualization may also impact other target visualizations of the same control(s). 

In the case of coordinated drill downs, when you click on a target chart’s drill down path, the selection will filter the associated control. Other targets of that control may also be affected.

Coordinating Target Visualizations by Field Type

When you create a control, Sigma’s control modal will only allow you to select target visualizations that contain at least one column matching the control’s Value Type. This is particularly helpful for making interactive charts work successfully.

For one visualization to impact another via a control, both visualizations must have plotted fields with at least one common value type. For instance, two charts could both contain a date field.

While the field types must be the same, the two fields themselves do not need to be plotted from identical worksheet columns.

If either of your visualizations have multiple fields of the same field type, you will want to make note of this when creating your control. This is because target visualizations will be impacted differently depending on the field specified as the target. 

Multiple Controls for Multiple Drill Down Levels

You will need to create a new control for every level of the drill down path that you would like to synchronize with other dashboard elements.

This can be done for every level of the drill down path, except for the last one. This is because  there is nothing deeper in the path to drill into past the final level. 

Coordinating a Drilldown

  1. If you have not already, create a dashboard and add two or more visualizations.
    At least one of the visualizations MUST include a drill down. For this visualization to impact another via a control, the two visualizations must have at least one value type in common among their plotted fields. Learn more.
  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 chart containing the drill down you would like to coordinate with other dashboard elements.
  4. Hover over Filter and select a field from the submenu of Visualization Fields. The field you select should be the part of the drill down path that you want to synchronize.
  5. The control modal will open with autofill recommended control settings based on the visualization field you selected in step 4.  If you would like to customize control settings you can do this now.

  6. Under Apply on Targets, you will see a list of one or more targets and actions have automatically been created for all charts sharing the visualization field you selected in step 4. If you would like to modify your control targets or actions you can do so now.
    Please note: If you look at the control target for your drill down chart, you will see a checkbox labeled Sync Drilldown. This option must be selected for your drill down to coordinate with the control and its targets. 

  7. Once you are satisfied with your control, click Add.
    Your control will automatically appear on your dashboard in sync with your drill down.


Using Drill Downs on Dashboards

To interact with a coordinated drill down, click on any level of the drill down path. You can also double click directly on a subset of data in the chart, to drill down to that data.

As with a basic drill down chart, the chart’s axis groupings will adjust to reflect the drill down selection. Additionally, the drill down selection will be passed to any controls associated with the chart. As a result, these controls may in turn pass that selection down to other target visualizations.
Learn how



Other Interactive Charts

Coordinating drill downs is just one of two ways in which you can make your dashboard charts interactive. Check out chart highlighting to learn more.

Managing Coordinated Drill Downs

As is the case with all control based functionality, coordinated drill downs can be managed from the control modal. Learn how.

If you would like to make changes to the chart’s drill down itself, you can navigate to the chart’s worksheet from the chart element’s dropdown menu.

Related Resources

Creating Drill Down Charts in Worksheets
Dashboard Controls
Interactive Charts: Highlighting
Create a Dashboard
Dashboard Layouts


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