Why Isn't My Tableau Highlight Action Working?

Adding a highlight action can be a really nice way to help your end user recognize relationships between data on separate worksheets. However, sometimes the highlight feature doesn’t appear to work properly. Let’s look at an example.

I built a simple dashboard in Tableau using Superstore data.

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I added a highlight action so that when you hover over a department in the bar chart it will highlight the corresponding items below.

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However, for some reason hovering over a specific department (in this case Technology) doesn’t appear to highlight anything and actually grays out all the items below.

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Getting this to work properly requires a simple, but not very well-documented fix.

The issue lies in the fact that we are trying to highlight the items in the scatterplot by what department they belong to, but we aren’t using the “Department” field anywhere in that worksheet.

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Of course, we are using Department in the bar chart worksheet.

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So, the fix is just to use the “Department” field anywhere in the scatter plot worksheet. In this example, I’m going to use Department to color both worksheets, but you could use it on “Tooltip” or “Detail” and get the same effect.

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And now, the highlight feature in the dashboard works perfectly!

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