Layers and groups

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1. Overview

Layers and groups can be used in dashboards, reports, and other views. They provide ways to manage and organize multiple elements such as visualizations, filters, and components, and to make changes to multiple elements at once.

Both can be useful when editing, while layers of elements can also be shown or hidden interactively when viewing.

Related video: Group and Layers

2. Groups

You can group multiple elements on the canvas together when editing. Once grouped, you can easily apply operations to the set of elements as a whole, such as dragging the group to a new location.

If you have related items such as a chart, its title label, and a legend, you may want to group the elements together so they always appear side-by-side no matter where you move the group on the canvas.

2.1. Group multiple elements together

To group two or more elements, first select them on the canvas by dragging a selection rectangle around all of the elements. If you're on a desktop, you can also press the CTRL key while clicking each of the elements in turn.

Once you've made the selection, go to the toolbar, click Arrange, and then click Group.

Grouping selected elements
Grouping selected elements

The grouped set of elements appears with a light blue background. You can move the group around the canvas by dragging it. You can even delete the group (and all of its elements) as a whole.

Group appears with a light blue background
Group appears with a light blue background

2.2. Show or hide a group

A group has its own set of properties, just like any individual element on the canvas.

Select a group on the canvas, and then open the Properties window to see the properties of the group.

Check or uncheck the Hidden property to hide or show the group.

Tip
If you've hidden a group and then de-selected it, you can find your group in the Layers window and unhide it or re-select it. See below for details.

Properties of a group
Properties of a group

2.3. Access group members

You can still access each element individually when it's part of a group.

After first clicking one of the elements of the group to select the group, click the element a second time.

Click a second time to select a group member
Click a second time to select a group member

The element will be highlighted separately from the rest of the group, and you can access its options in the toolbar, context menu, and Properties window.

2.4. Ungroup

To ungroup a set of elements, first select the group on the canvas.

Then go to the toolbar, click Arrange, and then click Ungroup.

Ungroup elements
Ungroup elements

The group is removed and you can access the elements individually again.

3. Layers

Whenever you add an element to the canvas, the element is assigned into the current layer. There is always at least one layer in every dashboard, report, or other view, and you can also add new layers and insert elements into them as you like.

Even with only one layer, the Layers window is useful for seeing and managing the elements on your canvas.

A dashboard with a single layer
A dashboard with a single layer

Separating elements into multiple layers makes it easy to set up an interaction with a few clicks to allow viewers to show and hide a layer's content. For example, a common case is to create a help overlay using layers for a dashboard, which is displayed when the viewer hovers over or clicks on a help button. You can also create a layer that will appear over other content like a popup, containing filter options or additional visualizations, for example.

Multiple layers can also be useful for complex views with overlapping elements. As you're designing, you can hide layers that are completed and show just the layers you are actively working on. Layers can also be locked to prevent accidental modification (such as moving a chart out of position by mistake).

3.1. View elements within a layer

A very useful feature in the Layers window is the ability to see a list of all elements in the view grouped by layer. Visualizations, components, groups, scripts, hidden items, and other elements are each listed according to their z-order, which means items listed first are displayed on top of other items if they overlap.

Tip
To change the order of elements within a layer, select an element and choose options from Arrange in the toolbar such as Bring To Front.

In addition, the icon for a layer contains a small preview of elements within the layer.

To view the elements for a specific layer, click the + button below the name of the layer. You can also search for an element by its name.

Click to view elements within a layer
Click to view elements within a layer

Hover over an item to highlight the corresponding element on the canvas. Also, select one or more items on the canvas to highlight them in the Layers window.

Hover over items in a layer
Hover over items in a layer

If you select an item, it will be selected the same as if you clicked on it, and you can switch to the Properties window for the element. Double-click an item on the list to center your screen on it.

Right-click (or long-tap) an item to access common options such as renaming, showing & hiding, or locking/unlocking.

Right-click an element
Right-click an element

Groups are also listed with each of its elements expanded below. If you want to add components to the group, drag them overtop the group.

Drag and drop items in or out of groups
Drag and drop items in or out of groups

If an item in the list besides a group has an expander arrow, it has an interaction or script assigned to it. Click the expander to view the list of actions, each with its associated event in parentheses. Click a script to open it in the Script Editor.

Scripts within a layer
Scripts within a layer

3.2. Show or hide a layer

To show or hide a layer, toggle the 'eye' icon beside the layer in the Layers window.

Click the eye icon to show or hide a layer
Click the eye icon to show or hide a layer

To show or hide all layers in one operation, click the corresponding button at the top of the Layers window.

You can also set up interactions to show and hide layers, which will allow each viewer to interactively show and hide content.

3.3. Lock or unlock a layer

Layers can be locked to prevent accidental modification (e.g., moving a chart out of position by mistake).

To lock or unlock a layer, toggle the 'lock' icon beside the layer in the Layers window.

Click the 'lock' icon to lock or unlock a layer
Click the 'lock' icon to lock or unlock a layer

To lock or unlock all layers in one operation, click the corresponding button at the top of the Layers window.

3.4. Rename a layer

Double-click the name of a layer in order to change it, then press the Enter key or click elsewhere.

You can also right-click and choose Rename from the context menu, or you can use the Properties window to rename it.

Renaming a layer
Renaming a layer

3.5. Add a new layer

In the Layers window, click the Add button in the toolbar.

Adding a new layer
Adding a new layer

For dashboards, you then choose between a regular layer and a menu layer, described below. In most cases, you can choose the first option to create a regular layer.

When added, the new layer will be positioned above existing layers in terms of z-order. It will also be set as the new current layer as indicated by its blue selection border. When you add new content, it will be assigned to this layer.

The menu layer option can be useful for dashboards that use a template grid, because it contains only a single template cell that is separate from the dashboard's main template grid. You could use this for dashboards with menu navigation that should span the full width or height of your dashboard, for example. For more information, see the article on menu layers.

3.6. Reorder the list of layers

In the Layers window, you can drag a layer and move it above another layer in the list. This will change the z-order of the layers. The elements of a layer higher in the list will always appear on top of elements in a layer below.

3.7. Set the current layer

The current layer is shown as selected in the Layers window (appearing in blue). New elements that you add to the canvas will go into this current layer by default.

To change the current layer, click any part of the layer you want to select in the Layers window.

3.8. Delete a layer

To delete a layer (and all of its contained elements), select the layer in the Layers window and then click Delete in the toolbar.

3.9. Move an element from one layer to another

In the Layers window, if you click the + button to view the elements of two layers, you can drag an element and drop it on the other layer to move it.

Move an element between layers using drag-and-drop
Move an element between layers using drag-and-drop

Alternatively, right-click or long-tap an element and choose Send To Layer, then choose from the list of layers.

3.10. Properties of a layer

To modify the properties of a layer, go to the Layers window. Expand the layer you want (by clicking its button) and select the layer in the tree view.

Expand the layer and select it
Expand the layer and select it

Go to Properties to view or modify the properties of the layer, including its Script Name.

Layer properties
Layer properties

4. See also

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