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Feature Overview: Drill Down

Feature Overview: Drill Down

We often get asked about our roadmap, what features are in development, and what features are being planned. Even though we have a robust internal roadmap that charts the development of Klipfolio Dashboard well into the future, the truth is that the roadmap is massively influenced by what our customers are saying. And we like that this process is an open forum where anyone can contribute their thoughts and vote on ideas put forward by others. Just head over to our ideas and suggestions forum to see what I mean.

Drill down is the most requested feature

Drill down has long been our number one customer-requested feature, and we're excited to announce its arrival in the next release of Klipfolio Dashboard. I think the development team has really nailed this feature, and I'm sure you'll agree once it goes live.

But enough preamble -- let's see what all the hype is about and take an in-depth look at this key feature.

What is drill down?

Drill down is the ability to go from summary level information to a very detailed view of the data; for instance, going from total national sales to regional sales right down to sales by specific stores. Drill down is implemented in different ways depending on the type application you're working with. For a web-based dashboard like Klipfolio, it only makes sense to adhere to web conventions, so we chose to use hyperlinks. Each time you click on a "drill" link, you get a more a granular view of the data.

What type of data works for drill down?

Drill down works best when it's used in conjunction with a data source that has a lot of repeating elements with similar numerical values associated with each element. A great example is sales data that looks at national sales down all the way down to the store-level. In our internal testing, we used a data source that uses columns to categorize and define sales figures. The columns in the spreadsheet capture categorical information such as nation, province/state, city, neighbourhood, street, store type, and provides corresponding financial figures (unit sales, total sales, unit price). Here's what this data source looks like and a link to download it for your own use:

Drill down sample data
Download the sample data here

How does drill down work on the dashboard?

As I mentioned above, drill down uses a GUI similar to hyperlinks -- click on an element to get more granular details. Each layer of your drill down is represented in the top row of the table. If you want to go back one level, you can click the Back button, or to go to a specific layer, simply click on that layer's title.

Drill down is easy to use on your dashboard

How to set up drill down

It's important to know that drill down only works with table components, although plans are in the works to expand drill down to other components. The best way to set up drill down is to start by assigning your data to each column in the table while making sure to name each column so you can easily reference it later. It's also important to note that you need to properly format numerical values in the Properties tab (you'll see why in just a second).

Name and format each column

Once you have your columns set up, select the table sub-component, and navigate to the new the Drill Down tab. Select the Enable drill down option to prompt the Group by menus to appear. In many ways, drill down is similar to the Group and Groupby functions. You select the column you want to group elements by and the values are aggregated according to that selection.

Drill down groups and aggregates values

By default, drill down includes numerical values in the aggregation and will summarize those values. To change the method of aggregation, click the Configure other columns at this level link. It's important that numerical values are properly formatted so that you can apply the correct math function to that column. In the example below, I am changing the method to average to show the average price of units sold.

Select the aggregation method

Grouping the other columns becomes a matter of rinse, wash, and repeat. Select the appropriate column, double-check the aggregation methods, and click the Add Drill Level button until all of your columns are properly grouped. Note that only text value columns can be grouped, as numerical values are automatically detected and summarized for each drill level.

Drill down is now set up

Some other things to note...

  • Drill down works best with well formatted data sources that offer a logical "drill" path.
  • Use the Slice function to quickly remove column headers.
  • To speed up assigning data to each column, copy and paste the Slice function and change the data selection.
  • Results rows work great with drill down and update based on the drill level.

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