Replace None in Tableau Filter

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Publishing an empty Tableau dashboard and want to replace the None in a drop down filter with a custom value?

There is a way to publish a blank Tableau dashboard and also replace the word (None) with something more meaningful.

Firstly, why would the word None be the filter selection? Why publish an empty dashboard?

It’s standard to publish a Tableau dashboard with a values pre-selected in the filters, often All is most appropriate. When opening a dashboard, it’s better user experience to see it with data, with charts & tables, rather than an empty screen.

However, some dashboards are designed to be single select; perhaps to show a single person, a single client, etc. That can pose a complication behind which person, client, etc, should be the default; who should everyone see upon opening a dashboard?

Also, in many organisations, data is sensitive and row-level permissions are embedded within the dashboard or underlying data source. Therefore, if publishing a dashboard with a pre-selected filter value, it’s likely not everyone will have the permissions to view that selection.

If the dashboard is published with TAR Solutions selected in the filter, any user not permitted to see TAR Solutions will open an empty dashboard with the following in the filter:

a value wrapped in bracket as not found in Tableau filter list
A value not found is wrapped in brackets in the filter

This is poor user experience. A slightly better – albeit still not great – user experience, is to publish an empty dashboard, but with some guidance on what to do. In this example the filter could say (Select an Organisation). The dashboard is still empty on opening, but there is some guidance about what to do next – which is to select an organisation.

How to replace None with a custom value in an empty Tableau dashboard

There is a little trick which replaces the default (None) text with whatever text you want. For example, using the sample superstore data set, select no countries in a filter on the Country field, and change the filter text to “(Select a Country)”.

1. Put the Country pill on the filter shelf. Select no values.

2. Show the filter as a Multi Values (Custom list)

tableau change filter type to multiple values custom list
Change the filter to a Multiple Values Custom List

3. Type in the default display text – for this example it is Select a Country. Click the + to add it.

adding new custom text to filter
Add Item to add the text as the default filter text

4. The text will appear within the pill and below the text box once added

new custom text added to Tableau filter
The custom filter text is added

5. To finish, change the filter type to a Single Value (dropdown) and the default value will appear

custom text appearing as default value in Tableau filter dropdown
Change the filter to a Single Value dropdown and the custom text appears

Publish the dashboard with the filter set up like that and it will be an empty dashboard with the custom text appearing in the filter dropdown list.

gif showing how to add a custom default value to empty Tableau dashboard
Watch how to replace None with a custom value in a Tableau filter

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