In Visual Analytics, controls are the mechanisms to prompt report viewers for values to be used most often in filters but can also be configured to link selections, i.e. data brushing. Here is a quick look at the available controls in VA 8.1:
When you want a control to filter either the entire report or just one page of the report, you would place the control into either the Report or Page Prompt areas. If you don’t see the report and page prompt space you may need to toggle the hide/unhide button.
When you are doing a quick data discovery exercise or looking to narrow down your data fast, you can now make use of the auto control feature. Why is it so quick and fast? It eliminates extra mouse drags and clicks which not only makes report building and data exploration faster but it also supports hierarchies. That is, VA automatically builds the filter action dependencies for you to build cascading prompts, which by the way are also a new feature to Report and Page prompts in VA 8.1. Prior to VA 8.1 you would have to:
But now in VA 8.1, all you have to do is:
Once you get used to this feature, like many advancements, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Dragging and dropping data items on to the main report canvas does not create an Auto Control but an Auto Chart which is still a great way to expedite data exploration and discovery.