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.
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 ?