Lessons from Executive Dashboarding (#1): Cross workbook navigation using URL actions

Today’s blog is all about how to link an Overview dashboard to Detailed dashboards (these dashboards reside in different workbooks).

The simple fact that we are working with dashboards on different workbooks (.twbs / .twbxs) means that we cannot rely on the standard ‘Filter’ action, so we’ll be exploring URL actions as well as a common warning message that may appear.

Note: This article assumes basic understanding of Tableau Desktop Dashboard actions.


1. Background: Real Life Business Requirement

For the past few months I’ve been based out at an iconic Australian brand, building dashboards for different subject areas – that being Finance, Safety, Sustainability and Strategic Workforce Planning. The consumers of those dashboards are members of the Group Leadership Team who want to see a quick snapshot of performance in all 4 areas before delving into the detail, i.e. analyse an Overview page by interacting with filters, then clicking on an icon in order to navigate to a subject area-specific dashboard of choice. The desired user experience is such that they want to pass through whatever filter has been applied to the Overview page, through to the Detailed dashboards just so they won’t have to reapply each of the filters (“click economy”). It also ensures that there will be less confusion involved in wondering why values didn’t successfully pass through.

Join me in this video as I’ll be walking through step by step how this navigation experience is achieved. In addition, I’ve also thrown in some additional features into the mix:

  1. How to dynamically pass through filter values through URL actions
  2. What’s a common warning message and what’s an easy fix
  3. How to force URL actions to open in the same window on Tableau Server

Happy watching!


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Ana Yin

Senior Consultant


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2 thoughts on “Lessons from Executive Dashboarding (#1): Cross workbook navigation using URL actions

  1. Ana, great tip. Thank you for posting. Your trick with the calc URL filter is brilliant.

    The only problem I have with URL actions navigating to other workbooks is the fact the URL is fixed rather than relative. This presents a problem when you are building and publishing workbooks in one site\project for development purposes and then when you publish to the “production” site\project, the URLs a wrong unless you fix every single one.

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