Copy and Paste Widgets Across Dashboards

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With the Summer ’21 release, we introduced a long-awaited feature that should help you greatly with your productivity: copy-paste.

This will help you reuse content built within the same dashboard but outside of it too! You read it right, the new copy-paste feature will work across dashboards, apps, and components allowing you to easily reuse the content you’ve built anywhere. How can this get better? While copy-pasting your widgets from one dashboard to another, we will also retain all the conditional formatting that you have spent time carefully configuring.

Previously, your options were limited; you could use the duplicate functionality within one same dashboard to create a copy of your widget. You could also bring content across entities but only through the JSON and that would not carry your formatting.

With that said, let’s look together at some of the use cases where this new feature can come in handy.

Reuse from Templated Apps

Templated Apps are a fantastic way to kick start your dashboard-building journey. They are easy to use and will erase the “blank page syndrome” by providing a pre-built dashboard populated with queries and widgets. There is a multitude of templates that Tableau CRM provides, some out of the box and some additional ones more industry-specific. As mentioned templates are great, and we have noticed a lot of users leverage templates to then reuse that content elsewhere.

Let’s say you install the sales analytics template but want to copy the trending widget because that widget layout looks great or because the query logic is quite complex to build and reusing it is that much simpler. With the copy-paste functionality, you will be able to simply select it, copy and paste it to any of your dashboards or components. That will carry over the query and the formatting of the widget that has been set up. Once you have it copied select another studio tab and paste it away!

Create Component Widgets

Talking about reuse, components are a great way for you to simplify dashboards that use the same widgets and queries. With the new copy-paste functionality having landed in the recent Summer ’21 release, it’s a great time for you to review your dashboard library and think about the common elements that would be great candidates to fit in a component. More particularly looking at those old dashboards that you can clean up moving widgets that you have duplicated across other dashboards to components.

Once you’ve added this content to a component, you can simply add the component widget rather than all those individual widgets. On top of simplifying your dashboard, this will make maintenance easy since the modifications made to the component will be applied to every dashboard that uses it.

As components were released, we quickly realized that a lot of us wanted to quickly build components by adding existing widgets from our dashboards. Unfortunately, this was not possible other than through the JSON. With the new copy-paste feature, bringing that content should take you no more than four clicks, and of course, don’t forget to save.

How does it work?

This functionality works when you’re in the analytics studio in Edit mode of your dashboard. Start by selecting a widget and from there you have two options:

  1. Through the UI; there is a new copy action in the widget action menu (1 in the screenshot below). Clicking it will copy the widget, its query, and everything that comes with it to your clipboard.

    One thing to note is that bindings are not carried over when you copy a widget and its query (more details on this at the end). Once copied, you should see a new icon at the top of your dashboard (2). Clicking on it will paste the widget and its query.

    One thing to keep in mind is that we in terms of the layout retain the column number of the widget, not the row. When pasting we try to paste in the same grid location as the copied version, but if the spot is already taken we keep the column in mind and default to a greater row number.
Screen Shot 2021-06-21 at 11.07.14 AM.png
  1. Using keyboard shortcuts; we could not call this feature a productivity boost if you could not use the keyboard shortcuts that we’re all used to. Start by identifying the widget you want to copy and select it, now simply use your keyboard and hit either cmd+C on mac or ctl+C on PC and then cmd+V or ctl+V.

    Note that there is no difference between using the keyboard shortcut or the UI.

To help you fast-starting your dashboard building journey, what better way to accelerate that process than using content you’ve built in another dashboard and bring it over. It is as easy as control+C, control+V. That will create a new copy of the original widget in your destination dashboard bringing the query content and the widget properties.

Questions and Enhancements

Finally let’s answer some typical questions we’ve seen.

Q: How is it different than the duplicate functionality?

A: For those of you who were used to the duplicate action, you can find it under the three dots menu actions and the keyboard shortcut cmd+D still works. However, we’re convinced that in most cases the new copy-paste functionality should be more appropriate.

One thing to keep in mind is that duplicating only works within the same dashboard however, it will copy the bindings attached to a widget/query which is not the case (yet) of the new copy-paste functionality.

Q: Talking about bindings, if they’re not carried over, what happens when I copy-paste a widget that has a binding?

A: For now, we do not carry the bindings you set on a widget/query over to the destination. Instead what we do is resolve the binding to a static value.

To illustrate this, we can use an example: let’s say you display on a number widget a field that is calculated based on some other values (imagine a sum of amounts). Some of those values might be waiting for a user’s input (=1+3+x). When you copy-paste that widget, we will calculate the field’s value without any of the user’s input values and return a result (in our case = 4). Therefore our pasted number widget will display the value 4.

Q: Can I copy paste across my different orgs?

A: The answer is no, not yet; this is definitely something we would like to add in the future.

This would mean supporting copy-pasting across any Analytics Studio tab that you have opened. We believe this would add great value for instances in scenarios where you what to quickly make changes from sandbox to production keeping the environments in sync.

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