Sep
29
2016

Pages Shelf in Tableau

This article explains the Pages Shelf in Tableau.

Theory/Information:

The Pages shelf in Tableau helps in visualizing a large amount of data in a very compact and insightful way. We all know that a ‘Pages’ shelf exists in Tableau. However, most of us don’t know how to use it. This article is to solve that problem. After reading this article, one would have understood what the Pages shelf is and what it does, and will be very confident about using it in their visualizations.

When can we use a field in the Pages shelf?

The Pages shelf is present above the Filters shelf, to the left of the worksheet view. We can place a field in the Pages shelf and utilize its functionality when there is some data that we would like to depict that has too many entries and representing that data, using any chart, will introduce an unwanted scroll in the view.

Let us look at the following example:

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In the above image, the view shows the Profit vs. Sales for all the states for every year. Only 4 years of data is available and that itself leads to a scroll in the view. Just imagine if the view tries to represent data for more than 4 years. To add to the headache, is the scroll going to make it easier for me to compare across the different rows present in the view? The answer is NO. The best way to solve both the problems of ease of viewing and ease of deriving insights is to use the Pages shelf. Let’s see how to use the Pages shelf.

How to use Pages Shelf in Tableau:

What does the Pages shelf do?

A new page, or view, is created for every member in the dimension, placed on the Pages shelf. Hence, the first thing to do is to decide the dimension that we need to place on the Pages shelf. For the view shown above, let us place the ‘Order Date’ field on the Pages shelf, so that we get each year in a separate page.

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In the above image, the view is shown for the year 2010. Once a dimension is placed on the Pages shelf, the page options will be shown in the worksheet, as shown in the below image:

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The data or view for each year can be viewed with the help of the Pages control.

  1. Each year can be manually selected from the drop down list present in the Pages control pane or by clicking on the arrows present to the left and right of the drop-down
  2. Click on the ‘square’ button on the bottom left corner, to automatically advance through the years

The three buttons with the bars, on the bottom right corner of the control panel, can be used to decide the speed at which the view advances through the different pages. The icon with 1 bar, indicates the slowest playback.

On any page, one can see the values that are present in all the pages, by enabling the ‘Show History’ option in the Pages control. This option enables the user to view the values in all the pages present before the current page.

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Once ‘Show History’ has been enabled, on clicking any data point on the view, should show the data points for the selected dimension present on all the pages, as shown below:

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In the above picture, one state is selected and the data points for all the years for the selected state is highlighted.

In addition to stepping through the data and animating, the Pages shelf is also great for "bursting" or printing a report with a page for every value in the page field. For example putting State on the pages shelve will allow printing a 50 page PDF file, one page for each US state.

This is how we can use the Pages shelf to better portray or represent the data that we have.

 

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About the Author: Sheeraja Rajakrishnan

I'm Sheeraja, a business analyst from Chennai, India, expertised in developing Tableau based visualizations to aid in business analyses. I am a quick learner and can communicate ideas to others, effectively. I am always ready to learn new technologies and like to share my knowledge with others.

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