Visual SQL - Drilldown Variables


Chartio’s Drilldown functionality allows you to click an area on a chart to update a Dashboard Variable value. The Dashboard Variable then updates any charts that are connected to it.

This is basically a two-part process:

  1. Map your chart metrics (Drilldown Variables) to Dashboard Variables
  2. Filter your chart(s) with the Dashboard Variables

This is best explained with an example. We’ll start by showing you what our final dashboard looks like, then we’ll explain how to connect everything together.

The final dashboard of this Drilldown Variables example

Interacting with the Monthly Activity chart updates two Dashboard Variables: the Calendar and the categorical Dropdown. The Dashboard Variables then update the Daily Activity chart. This gives us a zoomed-in view of our Activity by Activity Type.

Let’s walk through how to set this up. To begin with, we have two charts and two Dashboard Variables already on this Dashboard:

  1. Monthly Activity, a chart grouped by month and activity type
  2. Daily Activity, a chart grouped by day and activity type
  3. A Calendar Dashboard Variable
  4. A categorical Dropdown Dashboard Variable containing Activity values

Connecting your Charts

First, we want to connect Monthly Activity to our two Dashboard Variables. This will allow our chart to update the Dashboard Variables whenever we click somewhere inside the Monthly Activity chart.

We’ll click the menu icon on our Monthly Activity chart and select Edit Settings from the dropdown menu.

Monthly Activity Edit Settings

We’ll then switch to the Drilldown tab in the Chart Settings modal. This tab allows you to map Dashboard Variables to Drilldown Variables (your chart metrics).

Map your Dashboard Variables to Drilldown Variables in the Drilldown tab of the chart settings

We want to link two Dashboard Variables to our chart: ACTIVITY (the categorical Dropdown) and CALENDAR.

  • On our chart, Activity is the series (pivoted column), so we’ll choose series from the dropdown for ACTIVITY.
  • Our dates are on the x-axis, so we’ll choose x-value from the dropdown for CALENDAR.

Note: If your chart has x and y-axis labels, you’ll see those label names listed instead of ‘x-value’ and ‘y-value’.

To link your Drilldown chart to another Dashboard, simply choose the dashboard from the Linked Dashboard dropdown in the Drilldown tab of your chart settings. You’ll need to first add the necessary Dashboard Variables to the Linked Dashboard, so your chart can update them.

X-values, y-values, and series

Generally, x-values map to the x-axis, y-values to the y-axis, and series to the columns.

If you aren’t sure you’re selecting the correct chart metric to map to your Dashboard Variable, check the sample values listed below the Drilldown Variables dropdown to confirm.

If your chart has x and y-axis labels, those labels will be listed in the Drilldown Variables dropdown instead.

Connect the Dashboard Variables to your Chart(s)

We want our Daily Activity chart to update when the Dashboard Variables change, so we’ll just need to filter our chart by our two Dashboard Variables.

On our Daily Activity chart, we’ll click the menu icon and choose Edit Chart Data.

Click Edit Chart Data from the Daily Activity chart menu

  • To connect our Activity Dropdown to the chart, we’ll add our Activity Name column to the Filters section:
    Activity Name is one of {ACTIVITY}
  • To connect our Calendar variable, we’ll also add the Created Date column to the Filters section:
    Created Date between and including {CALENDAR.START} and {CALENDAR.END}

Here’s what the Data Explorer looks like with our filters added:

Set up your Daily Activity chart

That’s it! Your Drilldown Variables should work as expected.

Additional Notes

  • For Table charts with Drilldown Variables, the selections are made per-row. If more than one Drilldown Variable is used in a Table chart, clicking a row value will update all Dashboard Variables for the row.
  • If you would like to use a Line chart or Scatter Plot for your Drilldown, you may want to edit the chart settings to increase the line or dot size. This will allow for easier click interactions.

If you have any trouble setting up your Drilldown Variables, please feel free to send us an email at

Related Beta Help Articles

See more