Exploring Interactive Dashboards in Amazon QuickSight - Amazon QuickSight

Exploring Interactive Dashboards in Amazon QuickSight

    Intended audience: Amazon QuickSight Dashboard subscribers or viewership 

In Amazon QuickSight, a data dashboard is a collection of charts, graphs, and insights. It's like a newspaper that's all about the data that you're interested in, except it has digital pages. Instead of reading it, you interact with it.

Dashboards come in a wide variety of designs, depending on what you do and the analytics that you need to do it well. Using QuickSight, you can interact with your data on a webpage or your mobile device. If you also subscribe by mail, you can see a static preview of it.

The story told by your data reflects the expertise of the analysts and data scientists who built the dashboards. They refine the data, add calculations, find angles on the story, and decide how to present it. The publisher designs the dashboard and fills it with interactive data visualizations and controls that adjust your view. Publishers can customize the level of interactivity that you have, including filter and search options. You can interact with the active items on the screen to filter, sort, drill down, or jump to another tool.

When you view a dashboard, you're seeing the most recently received data. As you interact with the items on the screen, any changes you make change your view of the dashboard, and no one else's. Thus, your device's privacy is assured, although the publisher can tell what you looked at. After you close the dashboard, your explorations aren't preserved and neither is the data. As always, while you're an Amazon QuickSight reader, your monthly subscription is provided by the publishers of the dashboards at no additional cost to you.

If you're also a dashboard publisher—we call them authors, because they write reports—you can also save a copy of the dashboard for further analysis. If you find a new feature of the data that you want to publish, work with the original authors to update it. That way, everyone can see the same version of the story. However, you can also use your copy to learn how their design works or to inspire your work on something entirely new. Then, when you're finished, you can publish your analysis as a new dashboard.

To learn to set up dashboards, see Working with Dashboards.

Exploring Dashboards

To access a dashboard that you've been invited to share, follow the instructions in the invitation email. You can also access a dashboard if it's embedded into an application or website that you already have access to. When you open the dashboard, the screen should look something like the following example.

To fit the dashboard to your screen, open the View menu at top right and enable Fit to window.

Depending on how the dashboard is configured, you can find all or some of the following elements:

  • The menu bar – This displays the name of the dashboard. Also, the menu bar shows what you can do with the dashboard, including Undo, Redo, and Reset, on the left. As you interact with the dashboard, you can use these as tools to help you explore, knowing that you can change your view without losing anything. On the right, you can find options to Print the dashboard, work with Data, choose a different AWS Region, and open your User Profile. The user profile menu has options so you can choose the language that Amazon QuickSight displays. It also has links to the Amazon QuickSight Community and the online documentation (Help).

  • The dashboard sheets – If your dashboard has multiple sheets, these display as tabs across the top of the dashboard.

  • The Filter menu – This option displays to the left of the dashboard, if the dashboard publisher allows filtering.

  • The Controls palette – If your dashboard includes controls, you can use them to choose the options (parameters) that you want to apply to your dashboard. Sometimes a control value is selected for you, and sometimes it's set to ALL.

  • The dashboard title – If your dashboard has a title, it is usually a larger heading. It might have some status information or instructions below it.

  • The dashboard widgets – The items on the screen can include charts, graphs, insights, narratives, or images. To see them all, you might need to scroll vertically or horizontally. The following screenshot shows more of the previous example dashboard:

Using Filters on Dashboard Data

You can use filters to refine the data displayed in a visual. Filters are applied to the data before any aggregate functions. If you have multiple filters, all top-level filters apply together using AND. If the filters are grouped inside a top-level filter, the filters in the group apply using OR.

Amazon QuickSight applies all of the enabled filters to the field. For example, suppose that there is one filter of state = WA and another filter of sales >= 500. In this case, the dataset contains only records that meet both of those criteria. If you disable one of these, only one filter applies. Take care that multiple filters applied to the same field aren't mutually exclusive.

Filtering Data During Your Session

While your dashboard session is active, you can filter data in three ways:

  1. If your dashboard has controls at the top of the screen, you can use them to filter data by choosing from a preset list of values.

  2. You can use the filter icon on each widget's settings menu.

  3. You can create your own filters by using the filter panel on the left side of the page. The filter icon looks like the following.

To create a filter, choose the Filter icon at left.

The first step is to choose which dashboard element you want to filter.

Click on the item you choose, so that a highlight appears around the selected item. Also, if any filters are already there, they display in a list. If there aren't any filters, you can add one by using the plus sign (+) near Filters.

Filtering options vary depending on the data type of the field you want to filter, and on the options you choose inside the filter. The following screenshot shows some of the options available for a time-range date filter.

For each filter, you can choose whether to apply it to one, some, or all dashboard elements. You can also enable or disable filters by using the check box next to the name of the filter. To delete a filter, edit it and scroll to the bottom to see the options. Remember that your filters aren't saved from one session to the next.

For more detailed information on creating filters, see Filtering Visual Data in Amazon QuickSight.

Using the Elements on the Dashboard

Each widget has a settings menu that appears when you select that widget. This menu provides options to zoom in or out, filter the data, export the data, and more. The options vary depending on what type of widget the element is.

When you choose a data point, several actions are available. You can click or tap on a data point, for example on a bar in a bar chart, on a point where the line bends on a line chart, and so on. The available options vary based on what type of item it is. The following screenshot shows a list of actions available on most chart types.

These actions are as follows:

  • Focus on or exclude.

    You can focus on or exclude specific data in a field, for example regions, metrics, or dates.

  • Drill up or drill down.

    If your dashboard contains data on which you can drill down or up, you can drill up to a higher level or drill down to explore deeper details.

  • Custom URL actions.

    If your dashboard contains custom actions, you can activate them by choosing a data point or by right-clicking it. For example, you might be able to email someone directly from the dashboard. Or you might open another sheet, website, or application, and send it the value you chose from this one.

  • Change chart colors or specific field colors.

    You can change all the chart colors to a specific color. Or you can choose a specific field value to change its color of the element it's part of.

Sorting Dashboard Data

You can sort data in three ways:

  1. You can hover over the label for the field you want to sort by, and choose the sort icon.

  2. You can choose the filter icon at the upper right of one of the dashboard elements.

  3. You can click or tap on the field and choose Sort from the context menu.

Sorting for pivot tables is different; you specify the sort order by using the column sort icon on the pivot table.

Exporting Data from a Dashboard

To export data from an analysis or dashboard to a comma-separated value (CSV) file, use the settings menu at the upper right of a widget. Exports only include data that currently displays in the item that you choose.

Dashboard Subscriber Alerts

Amazon QuickSight enables you to subscribe to updates for certain events, such as dashboard updates and anomaly alerts.

Sign Up for Dashboard Emails

You can sign up to get a dashboard in report form, and receive it in an email. You can also configure your report settings.

To change subscription and report settings for a dashboard

  1. Open a dashboard that is shared with you.

  2. Choose the Reports icon at upper right.

  3. The Change report preferences page appears. This page shows the current report schedule, and also the subscription and optimization options.

    For Subscription, choose Subscribe to start receiving reports, or Unsubscribe to stop receiving reports.

    Under Optimize, choose the device to view the report on:

    • If you usually use a mobile device or you want to view reports in a portrait format, choose Viewing on a mobile device. When you receive the report, the charts and narratives display in a single vertical column.

    • If you usually use a desktop computer or you want to view reports in a landscape format, choose Viewing on a desktop. When you receive the report, the charts and narratives display in the same layout shown in your dashboard on your desktop.

  4. Choose Update to confirm your choices, or choose Cancel to discard your changes.

Sign Up for Anomaly Alerts

On a dashboard that has a narrative insight that's configured for anomaly detection, you can sign up to get alerts for anomalies and contribution analysis. You receive anomaly alerts when anomalies are updated. The alerts email displays the total number of anomalies, and provides detail on the top five, according to your personal alert configuration. You receive key driver contribution analysis when it's updated, provided that contribution analysis is configured to run with anomaly detection.

To set up anomaly alerts

  1. Open a dashboard that is shared with you.

  2. You can configure alerts from one of two screens. Choose one of the following, then go to the next step:

    • In the dashboard, locate the anomaly widget that you're interested in. Select it so that it has a highlighted box around it.

    • If you're in the dashboard and have the Explore Anomalies page open, you can configure the alert without returning to the dashboard view.

  3. At upper right, choose Configure alert. The Alert configuration screen appears.

  4. For Severity, choose the lowest level of significance that you want to see.

    For Direction, choose to get alerts about anomalies that are Higher than expected or Lower than expected. You can also choose [ALL] to receive alerts about all anomalies.

  5. Choose OK to confirm your choices.

  6. To stop receiving to an anomaly alert, locate the anomaly widget in the dashboard and use the bell icon to unsubscribe. You can also use the To manage this alert link at the bottom of an alert email.