Intro to Parabola Tables
Parabola Tables enable your team to easily view, share, and analyze the data that your Flows create. Use Parabola Tables and views to create interactive reports that are shareable with your entire team. Your team can also use Tables as data sources in other Flows, ensuring that the entire team works from consistent, cleaned data.
How it works
Tables are a tool for visualizing and sharing the output of your Flows directly in Parabola. To create a Parabola Table, connect any step in your flow to a Send to Parabola Table step:
Data sent to a Table will be stored so that you can create reports or pull the data into other Flows. Once you’ve published and run the Flow, you can:
- Visualize your data in the form of tables, featured metrics, charts, and graphs.
- Arrange a dashboard of multiple views, utilizing a tabbed or tiled layout.
- Analyze the entire page of views using quick filters.
Sharing tables with teammates
Anyone with access to your Flow will be able to see Parabola Tables on the published page.
- Can edit: any teammate with edit permissions can create and edit table views. When creating a new view or editing an existing view, changes will be drafted and only visible to the editor making those changes. Drafted views can be saved, which makes them visible to anyone who has access to the Flow.
- Can view: teammates with view permissions can see all table views and interact with controls, but cannot overwrite any shared views. Their drafted views are always private.
To share a table, you can either share the Flow with your teammate (see instructions here), or click “Share” from a specific table view. Sharing the table will give your teammate access to the Flow, and link them directly to the table.
Storing and retrieving data
Only the Flow where the “Send to Parabola Table” step exists can write data to that Table. Any Flow that you have access to, however, can pull data from that Table as a source. The “Pull from Parabola Table” step allows you to use table data in another Flow.
Parabola Tables can serve as cleaned, consistent, "source of truth" data across Flows. You can also save Parabola Tables in Card Templates, enabling you to create custom datasets that are standardized for anyone on your team to use.
Creating and managing views
Parabola Tables are displayed on the published Flow page. The data exported to a Parabola Tables acts as a base dataset, which you can customize using views. Views can be visualized as tables, featured metrics, charts, and graphs.
Arrange table views on the page with either a “tab” or “tile” layout.
Tabs will appear like traditional spreadsheet tabs, which you can navigate through. Drag to rearrange their order.
Tiles enable you to see all views simultaneously. You can completely customize the page by changing view height and width, and drag-and-drop to rearrange.
- Views will refresh their results if: the Flow runs, the base data is updated, and/or settings are changed
- Click the overflow menu next to the name of a view to move, rename, duplicate, or delete it. Use the same menu to switch the page layout between tabs and tiles
- Add new views by clicking the plus icon to the right of the last tab view, or by clicking the large “Add view” button below the last tile view. If you have too many tab views to see the icon, use the tab list menu on the right side of the table
- Duplicated and new tab views will show up in the private views section, so you may need to scroll down to see your new view
View controls can be selected from the icons in the control bar on any view.
You can perform the following calculations on a column:
- Count all: Counts the number or rows in the entire table, and for any groups
- Count unique: Counts the number of unique values in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Unique values are case-sensitive and space-sensitive
- Count empty: Counts the number of blank cells in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Cells with just a space character, or other invisible characters, are not considered empty or blank
- Count not empty
- Sum: Totals all numeric values in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Cells that are blank or contain non-numeric values are skipped. If no result can be produced, a - - value will be shown
- Average: Creates an average by totaling all numeric values in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups, and dividing the total by the total number of values used. Cells that are blank or contain non-numeric values are skipped. If no result can be produced, a - - value will be shown
- Median: Finds the value where one half the values are greater and half are less in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Cells that are blank or contain non-numeric values are skipped. If no result can be produced, a - - value will be shown
- Minimum (Min): Finds the smallest value in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Cells that are blank or contain non-numeric values are skipped. If no result can be produced, a - - value will be shown
- Maximum (Max): Finds the largest value in the specified column for the entire table, and for any groups. Cells that are blank or contain non-numeric values are skipped. If no result can be produced, a - - value will be shown
Only one metric can be calculated per column.
Tables can be grouped up to 6 times. (After 6 groups, the “+ Add grouping” option will be disabled.) Groups are applied in a nested order, starting at the first group, and creating subgroups with each subsequent rule.
Use the sort options within the group rules to determine what order the groups are shown in. Normal sort rules will be used to sort the rows within the groups.
Click the “Sort” button to quickly add a new sort rule (or the view options menu). These sorts define how rows are arranged in the view.
Click the “Filter” button to quickly add a new filter rule (or the view options menu). These filters define which rows are kept in the view.
Filters work with dates – select the “filter dates to…” option, and utilize either relative ranges (e.g. “last 7 days”) or specify exact ones.
Columns, metrics, and axes can be formatted to change how their data is displayed and interpreted. Click the “Table/chart options” to apply formatting to any column, metric, or axis. You can select auto-format, or choose from a list of categories and formats within those categories.
In charts, the X-axis will be auto-formatted, and you can change the format as needed. All series in each Y-axis will share the same format. Axis formatting can be adjusted by clicking the gear icon next to the axis name.
Formats will be used to adjust how data is displayed in the columns of a table, in the aggregations applied to groups and in the grand total row, and to featured metrics. When grouping a formatted column, the underlying, unformatted value will be used to determine which row goes in which group.
Use the Table/Chart Options menu to hide specific columns from your table view.
Columns can be used for sorting, grouping, and filtering even when hidden. Those settings are applied before the columns are hidden for even more control over your final Table.
Hidden columns will not show up in search results, unless the option for “Display all columns” is enabled.
Hidden columns can be filtered by quick filters.
Hidden columns will present in CSV exports downloaded from the view.
Freezing Columns and Rows
Use the Table/Chart Options menu to freeze the first (left-most) column or the first row by using the checkboxes at the top. A frozen column or row will “stick,” and other columns and rows will scroll behind them.
Use quick filters to filter data in specific columns across every view on the page. These filters are only applied for you, and will not affect how other users see this Flow. Refreshing the page will reset all quick filters.
Quick filters can only be used if you have at least one Table on your Flow. Above the first Table on your published Flow page, click to add a filter. The filter bar will then follow you as you scroll.
Multiple quick filters are combined using a logical “and” statement. These filters are applied in conjunction with any filters set on individual views.
From the “Table/chart options” menu, you can select from several types of visualizations.
By default, your views will look like spreadsheets or tables of data. This format works well to display rows of data that are styled, calculated, grouped, sorted, or filtered.
Use the table options menu to access the column options to format and style columns, or to add aggregation calculations.
Featured metrics allow you to display specific column calculations from the underlying table.
Metrics can be renamed, given a color theme, and formatted (date, number, percent, currency, or accounting).
Charts and graphs
Parabola supports several chart types:
- Column chart
- Line chart
- Area chart
- Scatter chart
- Mixed chart (multiple types combined)
You can customize charts with names, color themes, removing gridlines, and placing the legend.
Charts have a single column plotted on the X axis (the horizontal, bottom axis of the chart). Commonly, date or category columns are used on the X axis of a chart.
Use the grouping option on the X axis control to aggregate values plotted in the chart. For example, if you have a list of transactions, and you’d like to see the sum all transactions per day plotted, you would choose the date column for the X axis, and choose to group it. Once grouped, you can choose the aggregation operation for every series on the Y axis, such as sum, count, average, etc. Ungrouped charts will plot every value exactly as-is.
Click the gear icon next to the X axis label to open the formatting menu, where you can specify how to format the values on the X axis.
Charts can have one or two Y axes (the vertical axes on the left or right of the chart), and each Y axis can have any number of columns plotted (those are called “series”).
Adding series to a chart will begin to show plotted values. Each series can have its own color, and if grouping has been enabled on the X axis, you can choose the aggregation operation for each series.
Adding multiple series will show multiple bars, lines, or dots, depending on which chart you are using.
When you add a second Y axis, it will add a scale to the right side of the graph. Any series that are plotted in the second Y axis will adhere to that scale, whereas any series on the first Y axis will adhere to the first scale.
Multiple Y axes can be useful to plot two sets of data that are related, but exist on different numerical scales, such as total revenue in one axis, and website conversion rate in another axis.
Categories and stacking
Many charts and graphs have category and stacking options. Depending on your previous selections with the X and Y axes, and the chart type, some options will be available in this menu.
- “Categorize by…” will allow you to break a datapoint that has been plotted apart by another value, and plot each individually. For example, you could categorize total revenue by store location to see a bar of total revenue for each store location.
- The “Categorize and stack by…” option will take those categories and stack them into a single bar – i.e. producing an overall column showing the total revenue, but with different colored segments for each store location.
- The “Stack series” option will take multiple series on the X axis and stack them into a single bar, so that you can aggregate multiple columns together.
- Add a title to charts and graphs from the “Table/chart options” menu
- Clicking on an item in the legend will temporarily hide the series on the graph. Click again to make it reappear
- All charts and graphs will export as CSV files (representing the underlying data)
Parabola reporting use cases
Use Parabola Tables to view, share, and engage with the outputs of your Flows.
Parabola Tables and views make it easy to create interactive reports within a Flow.
- Prepare your report data in a Flow. Add the Send to Parabola Table step, connect an arrow to pass data to it, and that data is ready to be displayed in a table. Publish and run the Flow to populate the Parabola Table with the latest output from the Flow.
- For Flows that are already set up to send reports to other tools, you can simply replace an existing destination step with a Parabola Table step.
- Once you have your base data in a table, add views to that table to create multiple reports using the same base data.
You can also turn the Live view of a Flow into a simple dashboard. The Live view can display multiple tables, so if you build your Flow with multiple Send to Parabola Table steps, they will all appear.
Lastly, you can also simplify your team’s reporting workflows. Instead of sending Flow outputs as an email attachment, create a Parabola Table and set the Flow to run on a schedule – you’ll know the Table is ready at the specific cadence your operation needs.
Interact with results from your Flow without editing the Flow
Views on top of Parabola Tables can be edited and updated from the Live View page of the Flow, without ever editing the Flow itself. You and your teammates can tweak the output by adjusting filters and sorts in real time.
- Build a Flow that sends data to a Send to Parabola Table step. Publish and run the Flow to populate the table on the Live View of the Flow.
- Create multiple views on any of your tables to filter, sort, or format the data.
- Share the Flow with your teammates from the Table Views, linking them to the exact view of the data that is most useful for them.
- Any Editors on the Flow can modify existing views or create their own, without ever opening the Flow builder.
Create custom data sets
Parabola Tables enable you to create and share custom data sets with your team. Curated data sets allow your team to utilize the same, cleaned data across multiple Flows, and can help standardize the use of that data.
- Build your Flow with a Send to Parabola Table step. In the step settings, and keep the checkbox enabled to allow other Flows to pull data from this Table. Voila – you’ve created shared data set! Once that Flow is published and running on a schedule, that data set is live.
- To share it with your team, add teammates to the initial Flow as Viewers , or move it to a team folder. Any teammate with access to that Flow will see the tables created by it in the dropdown of the Pull from Parabola Tables step.
You can supercharge this with card templates! Put a configured Pull from Parabola Table step into a card template to share it across your team with additional context or documentation.
Bespoke data sets allow you to:
- Standardize your data - clean up and transform your data just once; analyze it as many times as needed!
- Maintain security - raw data sets aren’t always appropriate to share across your entire organization. By using Parabola Tables, access to the necessary data can be customized based on what’s appropriate.
Store data between Flow runs
Many data clean-up automations need to reference what happened the previous run. Prior run results would need to be sent to something like a Google Sheet to maintain them between runs. Instead of sending these results to a separate system, use Tables to store Flow data.
- Flows designed this way should be faster and more reliable, since a Parabola Table doesn’t rely on another service’s API to upload or download your data.
- Parabola Tables can also help with data organization. Rather than saving in one-off spreadsheets, Parabola Tables enable you to keep important pieces of data in the Flow that needs them.