Tableau Dashboard Actions Simplified: How to Set up, Use Cases & Critical Challenges 101

Nicholas Samuel • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Tableau Dashboard Actions

Tableau is a great tool for Data Visualization. Tableau users can create different types of visualizations from their data. These visualizations can be combined together into a single Dashboard, making it easy for users from all departments to understand data. They can then extract insights from the data which can boost their decision-making process. 

When creating Dashboards in Tableau, your goal should be to make them more interactive. This will let the dashboard users explore the data at their pace and extract their own insights. One way to achieve this is by the use of a great visual design. The other way is by adding interactive elements to the Dashboard for users to play with and change the data views. This is possible using Dashboard Actions. They are very flexible and provide Tableau users with a great experience. This article is a guide on Tableau Dashboard Actions. 

Table of Contents

What is Tableau?

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Tableau is a business intelligence tool that helps people comprehend data. Tableau’s straightforward and easy-to-understand user interface allows users to experiment with generating personalized dashboards. Tableau is in high demand from a variety of industries because it does not require any programming or technical ability to use.

Tableau data analytics can be divided into two categories:

  • Sharing Tools: These products allow you to share the visualizations, dashboards, and reports that you generate with the developer tools. The Tableau suite includes sharing tools like Tableau Online, Tableau Server, and Tableau Reader.
  • Developer Tools: These are tools that are utilized in the development process. The process of making Charts, Reports, Dashboards, and Visualizations is referred to as this. This category includes Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public.

Key Features

  • Tableau Dashboard is a user-friendly dashboard with self-explanatory wizards that allow non-technical users to easily generate visualizations. To undertake analysis, simply drag and drop dimensions and charts onto the drawing space.
  • Tableau users can collaborate with their peers for collaborative work or review through collaborative sharing. Users can also share the dashboard to the cloud, making it available from anywhere.
  • Tableau allows you to extract data from databases such as pdf, excel, text documents, R, Hadoop, Python, or SAS and store it in cloud databases such as Flipkart, Google Sheets, Netflix, and Amazon.

What is a Tableau Dashboard Action?

A Tableau Dashboard Action lets you add logic to the components of your Dashboard to trigger action elsewhere. It is an interactive element within a Tableau Dashboard triggered from the worksheets within that Dashboard. Dashboard Actions help you to add context to your Dashboards and make them more interactive. Users interact with the Dashboards through Hovering, Selecting Marks, or Clicking Menus, and the actions that you set up can respond to these with navigation or changes to the view.

For example, consider a Dashboard that shows home sales by neighborhood. You can use Dashboard Actions to show relevant information about a selected neighborhood. Once you select a neighborhood in a particular view, you may trigger a Tableau Dashboard action that filters the list of sold houses, highlights related houses in a map view, etc.  

How to Set up Tableau Dashboard Actions?

It is easy to set up a Tableau Dashboard Action in 4 Easy steps. Follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: Open a Dashboard view of choice on Tableau. 
  • Step 2: Click “Dashboard” from the top. Choose “Actions”. 
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  • Step 3: You will be presented with different types of action to choose from. To see these options, click the “Add Action” dropdown menu located at the bottom.
  • Step 4: Choose the type of action to be added. You will be taken to a screen where you can add the action logic.


  • The “Source Sheets” section shows every sheet the new Dashboard will be added to.
  • The “Target Sheets” section shows every sheet where the action will happen.
  • The top right corner of the window shows the “Run action on” section.

The options mean the following:

  • Hover: The action will happen on the target sheet once you hover over the source sheet. 
  • Select: The action will happen on the target sheet once you click on the source sheet. 
  • Menu: For example, when you hover over the source sheet, a menu of dashboard actions will appear, and clicking any of them will execute its action on its target sheet. 

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What is Tableau Action?

Tableau Dashboard action filters make it simple to transfer data from one worksheet to another or from one dashboard to another. In general, an action filter transmits data from a selected mark to another sheet containing relevant data, resulting in source and target sheets.

Overall, using action filters to provide advanced interactive dashboard features and improve user experience is a good idea.

Type of Tableau Actions

Tableau actions are crucial because they make the dashboard lively, engaging, and enjoyable to use. Tableau graphics allow your audience to quickly engage with them and delve deep into the data. We’ll go over these five different types in this blog: The Filter, Highlight, URL, Go-To Sheet, and Set Action are all options.

  • Filter actions: To transmit data from one worksheet to the next, use worksheet markers. This strategy is comparable to a quick filter, but it can be more targeted and facilitated by allowing users to interact with a worksheet.
  • Highlight actions: Use one data point on one page to draw attention to other data points on other sheets. Discover how to create complex highlighting actions.
  • Go to URL actions: Use a data point on a sheet to open a web page or URL that you may configure with markings, values, parameters, or data points. Learn how to create Go to URL actions from the ground up.
  • Go to Sheet actions: By selecting a mark on a sheet, you can jump from one dashboard to the next. Begin by doing a Go to Sheet action.
  • ChangeSet Value actions: Select marks on a sheet to dynamically add or delete members from a set. Make a Change Set Value action from the ground up.

Key Use Cases of Tableau Dashboard Actions

Below are the ways through which you can leverage your Tableau Dashboard Action to improve the user experience:

1) Use sheets as Filters

With Tableau Dashboard Actions, you can use each sheet as a filter. This will add flexibility to your Dashboard and allow users to choose how to view data. To set this up, hover over the sheets that you need to use, click the drop-down arrow shown in the upper right corner, and choose “Use as Filter”. 

After that, once you click on any of the sheets, the others will be filtered to what you clicked on originally. 

2) Embed YouTube Videos on a Dashboard

Although embedding a YouTube video into a Dashboard is good for improving the user experience, it can be hard to implement.

Here is how to embed a YouTube video to your dashboard using a Tableau Dashboard Action:

  • Step 1: Open the YouTube video that you need to embed and click the “Share” button. 
  • Step 2: Click the “Embed” tab and copy the URL between the quotations. 
  • Step 3: The next step is to embed the video to your dashboard using dashboard actions. Drag a “Web Page” component from the navigation bar on the left to the dashboard. 
  • Step 4: Follow the previous steps to add a URL Tableau Dashboard Action.
  • Step 5: You will see an empty “URL” box with an arrow on its right. Click the arrow then add the URL you found earlier.

3) Doing a Google Search from a Dashboard

With this Tableau Dashboard Action, users can explore anything within the dashboard for various data points. You can use the URL dashboard option to embed the Google Search. 

Tableau Dashboard Action Challenges

The following are some of the challenges that you will face when using Tableau Dashboard Actions:

  • Navigational Filter Actions: In some cases, you want to click a button and move to a Dashboard that is filtered by your selection. However, if you use more than one filter action on one Dashboard, a new Dashboard may be opened on a new tab or window even though it is in the same workbook. If the Dashboard is embedded, it will take users out of their portal. 
  • Digging Down to an Independent View: When you want to drill down to a particular independent view, the filter actions may work correctly on Tableau Desktop but fail to work on Tableau Server. That is how the Tableau dashboard action works.

Key Learnings

This is what you’ve learned in this article:

  • Tableau is a great data visualization tool. The visualizations can be combined together into a single dashboard. 
  • A Tableau Dashboard Action is a component added to a Tableau dashboard to make it more interactive. 
  • You can use Tableau Dashboard Actions to embed YouTube videos to your Dashboard, add Google Search to your Dashboard, and more.
  • However, Tableau Dashboard Action users face some challenges such as Dashboards opening in new tabs or windows even when it’s in the same workbook. 


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Share your experience of learning about Tableau Dashboard Actions in the comments below!

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