Dashboard Interactive Charts: Highlighting

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.

In Sigma, charts can be transformed into interactive dashboard elements, giving you and your dashboard viewers the power to dynamically filter and highlight data in a visual manner.

This is useful if you want to select a segment of data directly from a chart and have other visualizations on the dashboard automatically update to reflect your selection.

Charts and Controls

Interactive charts are created through the implementation of dashboard controls. To make a chart interactive, you will need to create a control that sets your chart as a target with a highlight action. All other visualizations that you would like to filter in response to highlighted selection should also be set as targets to this control. 

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 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 chart highlighting, when you click on a chart targeted by a control, your click will be passed on to select values in the associated control and vice versa. Other targets of the same 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.

A Chart Target + a Highlight Action = an Interactive Chart

Charts can be made interactive by setting a highlight action on a target chart.

Pivot tables, table charts, and single value visualizations are the only visualization types that cannot be transformed into interactive charts with the highlight action. However, all visualization types, including the aforementioned, can be impacted as targets to controls pointing to an interactive chart.

In the following example, a “Billing Country” text control was created based on a column shared by both the “Revenue by Billing Country” pie chart and the “Revenue by Month and Billing Country” line chart. Both charts were added as targets to the control. A highlight action has been set on “Revenue by Billing Country”  target, and a filter action has been set on the “Revenue by Month and Billing Country” target.
Click_gif.gif

Pro-tip: If you create a control from the chart menu, the initial control setup will be autofilled for you. Follow the instructions under Making Charts Interactive to see how.

Hiding the Control Element

If you would like your dashboard viewers to interact only with interactive charts, and not their associated control elements, you can 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.

Make Charts Interactive

There are multiple ways to make a control in the Sigma dashboard builder. However, we strongly recommend the method outlined in the instructions below, as it simplifies the configuration process by prefilling recommended values in the Control modal. Learn other methods.

Create an Interactive Chart

  1. If you have not already, create a dashboard and add two or more related visualizations.
    These visualizations should share a common field.
    Screen_Shot_2020-10-28_at_1.49.54_PM.png

  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 you would like to make interactive.

  4. Hover over Highlight and select a field from the submenu of Visualization Fields.
    Screen_Shot_2020-06-17_at_8.11.10_PM.png

  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.
    Screen_Shot_2020-06-17_at_8.11.22_PM.png

  6. If you would like to hide the control element from dashboard viewers, select ‘Control Bar’ from the Control Placement menu. Learn more.

  7. 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.
    For this example, we want our pie chart to be interactive and our line chart to filter when the pie chart is clicked on.
    To do this, first select the line chart “Revenue by Billing County” from the target list. Then select Filter by
    from the Action menu OR create a new action by clicking + Add action.

    filter-action.gif

  8. Once you are satisfied with your control, click Add.
    Your control will automatically appear on your dashboard and your chart will be interactive.Click_gif.gif

 

Highlight Charts by Series Value Fields

If your chart has a series of value fields, you can choose to highlight it by individual field.

Let’s walk through an example with the following Combo Chart (available for you in the “Retail Sales” Example Worksheet).

Screen_Shot_2020-06-18_at_11.03.44_AM.png

  1. Add your chart to the dashboard.

  2. Open the gear menu in the top right corner of the chart.

  3. Hover over Highlight and select “Value Fields” from the “Series” section of the submenu.

    Screen_Shot_2020-06-18_at_11.14.47_AM.png

  4. The control modal will open with autofill recommended control settings, targets, and actions. If you would like to customize your control you can do this now.

    Screen_Shot_2020-06-18_at_11.18.53_AM.png

  5. Once you are satisfied with your control, click Add.
    Your control will automatically appear on your dashboard and your chart will be interactive.

  6. To select a field from the series, use the control element or click on your chart’s legend, if available.

 

Managing Interactive Chart Controls

As is the case with all control based functionality, interactive charts can be managed from the control modal. Learn how.

If you would like to make changes to an individual chart’s structure, you can navigate to the chart’s worksheet from the chart element’s dropdown menu.

Using Interactive Charts

Clicking on an interactive chart will impact any charts listed as its targets in the associated control. These target charts and the actions taken on them are dependent on the individual control’s settings.

Multi-select

Multi-select is enabled for all value list controls by default. However, dashboard authors may choose to disable the option from the control’s source settings

If multi-select is enabled and the dashboard author has included a control element for the interactive chart, you may select multiple values from the control element.

Multi-select by clicking directly on an interactive chart is not yet supported.

Related Resources

Create a Dashboard
Dashboard Layouts
Dashboard Controls
Coordinated Drill Downs

 

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.