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Drill Down and Hierarchies in Tableau

A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which items are represented as being above, below or at the same level. A very good example of a hierarchy field – is the date field. This is because date parts in a date field (year, quarter, month, day) are arranged in hierarchical way with year at the top and day at the bottom.

You can easily identify hierarchy fields in Tableau using the (+) plus sign at the beginning of a field when added to the shelves. This plus sign implies that you can drill-down such fields to reveal inner fields.

(By drilling down into the Order Date’ field, I was able to view data at lower level such as Quarter, Month and even day level)

How to create a hierarchy field

Not all fields will be recognized as hierarchy fields in Tableau - meaning sometimes you have to build your own hierarchy fields to help you achieve your analytical goals. The good thing is building an hierarchy field is just a click away.

In this case I will show you how to create a hierarchy field using dimension Category, Sub-category and Manufacturer. The goal here is to create a view where end user can drill down the viz from Category to Sub-category to Manufacturer level.

To create a hierarchy field;

  • First select the fields you need to be part of the hierarchy.

  • Right click on one of the fields and select Hierarchy >> Create Hierarchy…

Rename your hierarchy field.

Order the fields in the hierarchy accordingly by dragging them to the right position.

Now, my hierarchy field Products can be used to create a drillable view. Enabling users see and interpret data at different levels all on the same view.

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