Quick tip: Sort by combined fields
This is a pretty simple tip, but it’s something I see new users struggle with all the time. Sometimes, sorting is a pain. Actually, most times sorting is a pain, especially when you are dealing with multiple dimensions.
For example, I was working with some music data and I wanted to show a simple bar chart of the top songs and which album they were from. When I first dragged in the pills, it came out looking like this:
So… we have some problems. Some songs are on more than one album (e.g. a studio album and a live album). Also, there are a bunch of different songs with the same name (e.g. “Home”). So sorting this way won’t work. Doing it by album is even worse because many albums have multiple songs played from them:
So… what can we do? We have multiple songs on a album and multiple albums featuring a song. How do we get a unique dimension to sort on so they aren’t grouped? We combine the fields! It’s a simple process, just select the dimensions you want to combine, right click and select “Combine”
Now we can add this new combined field to the rows shelf and everything is magical. We can even hide the header so that the end viewer is none the wiser.
Hopefully this will help you sort through frustrations with sorting!