Custom Scroll Control for Synchronized Scrolling

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When I did this week’s #workoutwednesday challenge, I learned how to use the Index-Formula to filter measures within a view to create the BANs in my viz (click the image to play with the interactive version on Tableau Public). Probably not too spectacular to many of you.

screenshot wow

When I was thinking about this new finding I remembered a discussion on twitter where some guys discussed their need for synchronized scrolling in multiple sheets on their business dashboards. There is also an idea in the Tableau Community Forum to implement this as a standard feature in upcoming Tableau versions with already lots of votes.

I used my new knowledge about the index-formula to create a workaround for such a synchronized scrolling like in this example (click to play with the interactive version on Tableau Public).

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(There are for sure better ways to visualize Sales and Profit, so please take this visualization just as an example.)

If you have two or multiple tables or graphs with the same granularity (imo the only case where synchronized scrolling does make sense) und you feel the need for this, just implement the following few formulas in your viz:

1. Create two index formulas

ic

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and make them discrete.

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2. Add both formulas to your viz

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Make sure that Index Columns is computed across the table and Index Row down the table.

3. Create two “Scroll-Parameters”

Create two parameters like this one:

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Note: It has to be a range-parameter to get the little arrows for controlling the parameter.

4. Create conditional filters

That’s the trick: with this custom scroll control you don’t actually scroll but filter rows and columns out of the viz.

Create two boolean calculations to filter the viz on Index Column and/or Index Rows:

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5. Bring the filters to your viz

Make again sure that the filter Index Columns is computed across the table and the filter Index Row is cumputed down the table. Both boolean calcs have to be ‘true’.

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6. Create the dashboard

Create the dashboard. For the real look and feel make sure that your tables or vizzes have same widths and heights. I hid the headers for the index-dimensions and customized the parameter not showing the readout box.

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That’s it.

A quite simple approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has been ‘invented’ before (but haven’t searched for it).

Hope you enjoyed reading and find use cases for this!

23 comments

  1. Is there a way to limit scrolling to only max index values or restart scrolling after max index value reached?

  2. This was useful but can we disable individual scroll bars and use only the synchronized bar to scroll vertically. I need to display four sheets side by side and used this sync bar concept. But individual vertical scroll bars is my problem.

    1. IMO the only way to do this would be to make the sheets floating and put them partly on top of each other so that the scroll bar disappears. But this wouldn’t of course disable the use of the scroll wheel.

  3. Great thinking! However, when I try to use the indexes on a trend line graph (using discrete or continuous dates) the Index function breaks my lines into points. Any ideas how to get this to work with line graphs?

  4. Nice workaround! One question: why does this work on both sheets if only one sheet has the Index calculation? I’m just having trouble understanding how Tableau knows to filter the second sheet if the Index formulas aren’t present there?

    1. Hey Travis, actually the index formulas are present on both sheets. You can see both sheets bei right-clicking on the dashboard tab at the bottom and selecting “unhide all sheets”. Then you can see, that both filters in the filter shelf are applied to both sheets.

  5. Hey, Klaus, I think this synchronized scrolling is so appealing and I actually amazed by all of your dashboards. However I am not familiar with synchronized scrolling. Could you show me how to create this step by step? Greatly appreciate!

  6. Honestly amazingly creative work Klaus, I love the fact that this has been possible for a very long time using basic Tableau functionality but neither me or my colleagues have ever thought about it! Creative and elegant, congratulations!

  7. Ok, I tried, but it is not working for me
    I have state going down and years going across, 2015 and 2018
    The index column only shows 1 and 2 repeated for each of the state, with 1 for year 2015 and 2 for year 2018
    Further, the filter slider only affect one of my 3 tables
    Any insight as to what I did wrong?

  8. Very Very Very clever, thank you. Only problem is that it doesn’t work when you have a data grid with multiple measure values.

    1. Thank you David! Not sure about why it shouldn’t be possible in your case though. Happy to take a look at it!

    2. Yes very clever, thanks!. I had same issue with measures across columns. Index only shows 1 for each column. Was there a resolution?

  9. I followed all of the steps, my only difference is I am only trying to scroll up and down. The left to right is not necessary. I can’t get it to work. Do I need to do the same as other filters, where I say apply to all in dashboard? Thanks!

    1. Hi Christa, yes you have to apply the filter to both (or all) sheets you want to scroll simultaneously. Are you able to share a workbook? Happy to take a look.

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