The Basics

When you begin creating a new data view on a blank worksheet, you can drag a field from the Data window and drop it directly into the view, rather than to a shelf.

While dragging fields you can hover over the different areas in the view to see how the field will be incorporated into the structure of the view. For example,dimensions typically add a row and column headers to the view, while measures add continuous axes. Below are some examples of how fields can be added to the view.
Dimensions add headers Measures add axes Show Me automatically adds the field according to best practices
For a more advanced discussion of dimensions and measures, see Data Roles: Dimension vs. Measure.
When you drop a field on one of the active areas in the view, the field is added to the view and also to one of the shelves or cards. For example, in the view below the Customer Segment dimension was added to the Rows shelf and the Profit measure was added to the Columns shelf—and automatically aggregated so that the values in the data are summed.

You can of course also drag fields directly to the shelves instead of to the active areas in the view. You can also drag fields from one shelf to another shelf. To remove a field from a shelf, drag it off the worksheet or choose Remove from the field's menu (available when you right-click a field in the view. To quickly remove multiple fields from a shelf, right-click the shelf and choose Clear Shelf.

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