[Office 2013] Excel Filters : Slicer and Timeline

With Excel 2013, Slicers are now categorized as Filters and a new kind of Filter is introduced, the Timeline. They are both available in a new group in the Insert ribbon.

1) What’s new for the Slicer Filter object

First introduced with Excel 2010, Slicers filters have been widely used to circumvent the classic Pivot Table Filter landing zone limitations :

 - Slicers can be shared between Pivot Tables/Charts, meaning that they can influence more than one object a the same time making them great for dashboarding scenarios.

- Slicers can be contextual meaning that they can underline the information that need your attention avoiding to spend time on items with no data for example by shadowing them.

Starting with Excel 2013, Slicers can even completely hide items with no data as shown in the following screenshot :

2) The new Timeline Filter

The (real) new thing about Filters is the Timeline. This new Filter lets you choose any dimension for which the dimension usage is set to “Date” (in case of a multidimensional model, aka cubes) or any table marked as a date table (in case of a tabular model whether it’s taken from Excel PowerPivot, or Analysis Services).

The date dimension/table selector can be filtered by measure groups in case of a multidimensional model.

A Timeline is a graphical date range selector with which you can choose on which level (Year, Quarter, Month, Date) you want to operate and then click on your selection and slide its boundaries with the little grips on both sides.

They are really handy and benefits of all the common features from the Slicers like their ability of being shared by several pivot tables.

The only two  one thing I think it lacks to the Timeline are :

- the ability to drag and drop the range along the time line once  it’s defined : select a range of two months for example, if you want to move the range you have to reselect the new first and last months. The ability to move/slide the range along the time line would be a great time saver.

Update : Thanks to Larry’s comment, it appears that we can actually drag and drop time ranges by just holding the Left Mouse key + Ctrl key! Thanks Larry ! :)

- the ability to use a custom time hierarchy : for now, the Timeline object takes the date and show always the same 4 levels(Year, Quarter, Month, Date). What if I want to filter on a week level ? or if I want to switch to a fiscal calendar ?

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8 Comments »

  1. [...] There’s a new type of Slicer available too for dates called the TimeLine which Raphael has a lot of good detail on here. [...]

  2. [...] – Slicers has been enhanced and a new “Time Line Slicer” has been added. You can read about them there. [...]

  3. Larry said

    You can drag and drop the range along the time line. Just hold down Ctrl key while dragging.

  4. simontkb said

    Is there any easy way to ‘play’ a timeline? i.e. let it go through each month or whatever automatically with a user-defined delay. Linked to a chart this could create fantastic animated charts that would provide real insights into trends over time – like the ones Hans Rosling made famous.

  5. [...] converted to an Excel Table (a 2007+ feature that many are still unaware of) enables the use of  Slicer selectors in Excel 2013 to quickly give a dashboard feel. It’s still possible to use the Excel Table filters directly [...]

  6. [...] [...]

  7. Michael said

    If you create a timelined featured workbook in 2013, will this feature work for users using 2010?

    • Raphael said

      Hi Michael,
      sorry for the “delay” : to keep the answer short, it won’t work on any previsous version of Excel.

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