Tableau Highlight Action

This article explains how to create and use the Tableau Highlight action filter with an example. As the name suggests, the Highlight action filter will highlight (brighten) the selected or chosen fields and dim (lighten) the remaining ones. It helps the users focus on particular fields, like the focus mode on mobiles and browsers.

We need at least two sheets to demonstrate the Tableau Highlight action filter, so we created three sheets to perform multilevel highlight actions. We used the Sample Superstore Excel sheet for this pie chart, bar chart, and table report. Please visit the Excel Source article to understand the Data Source.

For this Tableau Highlight Action filter demo, click the pie in the Show Me window, add Category Dimension to Color, and Sales Measure to the Size and Angle shelf to create a pie chart. Add the Sales and Category fields to the Label shelf to show the data labels.

Tableau Highlight Action Filter

Our job is to perform the Highlight action filter on Tableau sheets, so go to Sheet 2 and create a bar chart by adding Sales to the Columns shelf and Sub-Category dimension to the Rows shelf. To add colors and show the data labels, add Category to the color and Sales to the Label shelf. For the remaining charts in Tableau, please click here.

To create a Tableau Highlight action filter, use the Worksheet menu and choose the Actions option. Otherwise, use the Ctrl + Shift + A shortcut.

Use the Worksheet menu to choose Tableau Highlight Action Filter

It opens the following window. As you can see, there are no existing Highlight action filters. So, click the down arrow beside the Add Action button to choose the Highlight action filter. Please use the Remove button in the Action window to remove the existing Tableau Highlight action filter.

Choose Tableau Highlight Action Filter from the list

It opens another window called the Add Highlight action. Please assign the appropriate name and use the drop-down menu to choose the source and target sheets. Next, select the Target Highlighting option and the Run action on option.

In this Tableau filter example, we choose the Pie Chart (Sheet 1) as the Source, Bar Chart (Sheet2) as the target sheet, Target Highlighting All Fields, and Run action on Select. Once completed, click OK to close the Add Highlight action. Next, hit OK to close the Action window.

Choose Source and Target Sheets for Tableau Highlight Action Filter

To demonstrate the Tableau Highlight action filter, let me click the Technology pie.

Click the Source sheet to show Tableau Highlight Action Filters

It will automatically go to the Bar Chart (Sheet 2) and highlight the Sub-Categories belonging to the Technology.

Tableau Highlight Action Filters Preview

You can use the Control key or mouse to choose multiple pies. For instance, let me click on both the Furniture and Office Supplies. It will highlight the Sub-Categories belonging to the Furniture and Office Supplies.

To demonstrate the Tableau Target Highlighting action filter option, remove the Pie chart and add Country, Category, and Sub-Category to the Rows shelf and Sales to the Label shelf. Next, remove the existing one and create a Highlight action filter on this sheet.

Let me use Sheet1 and Sheet2 as the source and Target, but use the Category as the Selected field for the target highlighting. It means when you select the Category in Sheet 1, the only Sheet 2 field will be highlighted; otherwise, it won’t.

Selected Items option

Click the Canada country.

Select Item has no reference

You can see there is no Sub-Category highlighted in the Bar Chart.

Tableau Highlight Action Filters 12

If you select the Office Supplies Category, the Tableau Highlight Action will highlight them on sheet 2.

Tableau Highlight Action Filters 13