How to Expand and Contract Worksheets in Tableau

By: Eric Parker

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Eric lives in Seattle and has been teaching Tableau and Alteryx for 5 years. He's helped thousands of students solve their most pressing problems. If you have a question, feel free to reach out to him directly via email.

Imagine you’ve run into a scenario where you want to be able to show a little more information on your dashboard but it makes it feel too cluttered. However, it’s not nearly enough extra information that it warrants creating an entirely separate dashboard. This is a great opportunity to use a little known feature in Tableau that allows you to expand and contract worksheets in a dashboard.

Let’s use this dashboard as an example:


Maybe we’d like to be able to select an individual item (like Strawberry Cheesecake) from the bar chart and learn how profitability trended for that item throughout the course of the month. We could just add a line graph below the bar chart but the dashboard starts to feel busy:


There are two tricks to making the bottom worksheet disappear after the bar is deselected.

First, we need to edit the dashboard filter action so when the bar is selected, the line graph updates, but when the bar is then deselected the action will “Exclude all values”.


That’s half the battle but now we just have a blank bottom half of the dashboard:


The second step is to put both the bar chart and line graph worksheets together in a vertical layout container. One of the special properties of layout containers is that they allow worksheets to contract if there is no data showing.

So here is what it looks like when a bar is selected:


And here is what it looks like after that bar is deselected:


Want to learn more about the intricacies of Tableau dashboard design? Check out our latest workshop Tableau Dashboarding: From Mystery to Mastery to learn more!