Feb
10
2016

10 Tableau Timesavers- Tips and Tricks

2This article explains some timesaving Tips and Tricks in Tableau.

Theory/Information:

Tableau is an incredibly versatile tool; unlike many other business intelligence tools, Tableau does not constraint users too much, and instead gives them the power to exercise their creativity when developing visually rich reporting.This article shows you some timesaving tableau tips for building new views, altering the default formats of fields and axis headers, creating new fields, and customizing the content.The 10 tips below are some of my own favorites, given they deal with very common business scenarios.

Tableau Trick 1:

How to save the connection to your Tableau repository?

On the menu select “Data” –> “[Data Connection you want to save]” –> “Add to Saved Data Sources”

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This will save a .tds (Tableau Data Source) file.  It contains all the connection information.Saving the connection this way creates a shortcut to the data source and lets you avoid having to create a new connection every time you want to use that source. You can then use it as a data source in other workbooks.

Tableau Trick 2:

How to Export Image from Tableau?

At times, it is quicker or necessary to share visualizations in image formats. Tableau Provides an option to export visualizations in JPEG, PNG, BMP, and EMF formats.Once the data is loaded on the worksheet, perform the following steps to export a simple

Visualization in an image format:

Select “Worksheet” –> “Export”–> “Image” as shown in the following screenshot:

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I’d recommend using the “Enhanced Metafile (.emf)” option.  EMFs are vector graphics that scale nicely and dynamically to whatever resolution you end up printing them at.  Word supports them.  The other formats are pixel/raster graphics that can get blurry if you accidentally change the size.

Tableau Trick 3:

How to show the Hide Labels in Tableau?

By default, field labels are shown. In this case say Region/Order date is appearing as header. What if you hide the Field name and wanted to show it again. There is no such option like “unhide Field Labels for columns”. You can’t even perform “Right Mouse click” because header is gone already.

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You can hide or show field labels at any time by selecting Analysis > Table Layout > Show Field Labels for Rows or Show Field Labels for Columns.

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Tableau Trick 4:

How to remove the ABC Column in Tableau?

By default, Tableau leaves the empty column with the “Abc” placeholder text. This can lead to an undesirable table view, especially if you only want to display information, or set up a control sheet or table of contents of some sort. Currently no way to automatically make that column disappear in Tableau. We can use “NULL” as a Calculated Field and then drag it into the Text shelf. It will remove the “Abc” placeholder not the entire column but also it makes the layout rendering a little slower.

So first decide which Dimension you want to use as your Last column in your View, then drop the desired dimension on both the rows and the text shelf. Right click on the dimension on the rows shelf and uncheck “Show Header”.

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After that drag the “Measure Names” in the Column Shelf and then Right Click on Measure names and Select “Edit Alias”. Give the same Field Name which you added in the Text shelf and you are good to go.

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Tableau Trick 5:

Right-click+Drag to get Quick Field Property Selection dialog on Tableau

To save time when you want to display dates, numbers, or text, use the right mouse button when you drag fields into a view. Using this method to place the field pills opens a dialog box that gives you access to more presentation options and significantly reduces the number of mouse clicks required to customize the result.

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Tableau Trick 6:

How to Expand beyond 6 Columns without Header Concatenation?

By default, Tableau Desktop allows up to six levels of dimensions on each of the Row and Column shelves. After that, the headers will start to concatenate together to save space.

You can include a maximum of 16 Columns and Rows in a text table. The default number of Columns/Rows is set at 6. When you exceed 6, it will combine multiple fields together unless you change the Table Layout settings.

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To change the Table Layout and increase the number of columns and rows in your table, go to:

– Analysis > Table Layout > Advanced > Rows / Columns (Maximum levels of row labels)>16

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You can also use Measure Names/Measure Values if you want to add more than 16 Dimension. You can use up to 16 (any datatype) dimensions on the Rows shelf, then add Measure Names to the columns shelf and have all the numbers you want as Measure Values that would get added as additional columns. This method has one drawback, you will not able to see your column order in desirable manner. Also, when you add your worksheet in dashboard which contains 16+ Columns, Tableau is facing problem in adjusting the Width. In Tableau, Dimension headers will never get a scroll bar, only items in the ‘pane’ are scrollable.  Tableau always expect you are building a chart and doesn’t expect you will display tons of text columns.  Therefore you must define such width inside dashboard that can hold your entire view (width wise). For achieving this functionality, simplest approach would be to adjust Size of the Dashboard. Select ‘Range’ and then set a Min size but no Max (the height on the Min can be small, but the width must be large enough to fit all your fields).

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Tableau Trick 7:

How to Open Workbooks that Saved in Higher Versions (9.x) by using Earlier Versions (8.x) of Tableau?

Before explaining the method, I would like to add two points.

  1. This Technique is not supported by Tableau Software, therefore Tableau Support may or may not help you when troubleshooting any issues from a hacked workbook
  2. Tableau Lower version(8.x) won’t be able to use the existing /changed function of Tableau 9.x
  • Save the Tableau workbook in .twb (not the twbx) and open the same file in any text Editor like Notepad ++ or Sublime Text.

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  • Change all the instances of ‘9.x’ to ‘8.3’ (You will get four instances of 9.x)

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  • Now open the twb in 8.3 (or whatever version) and save it again as a twbx.

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Tableau Trick 8:

How to show Leading Zero for any Date Format?

We can actually format Dates to have a leading Zero for any Week Numbers and pattern would be  YYYYWWww OR just yyyywwww. Apart from that, we can use a backslash that converts a code letter to a literal letter. For instance YYYY \Www will put a ‘W’ before the week number:

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Tableau Trick 9:

How to show the Bar Chart Totals Elegantly in tableau?

Bar charts are very intuitive and easy to read. Sometimes, we want to see the grand total in the chart. We can turn these on using the Analysis menu. As the the grand total is the highest value, the chart would become a bit ‘cluttered’ with a very large bar.

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Likely, we don’t want to show a bar in the total – only the total value. To do this, we can create either of the following calculated field:

Sales + Grand Total

If Size () = 1 then 0 else Sum ([Sales]) end

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If Min ([Sub-Category]) =Max ([Sub-Category]) then SUM ([Sales]) Else 0 end

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Put this calculated Field in Column Shelf and drag the instance of Sales in Label marks card. As we all aware, SIZE function returns all the rows in a current partition. Given that the Grand total is technically not on the same partition as the details, we can detect how many rows are there which will be always 1. If we only find 1, we can display a zero instead of sales amounts.

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What will happen if you add an another dimension onto the color shelf ? Will you get the same Grand Total the way you are getting in the above image? lets check this .

How can we achieve the same if we we have another Dimension on the color.

1) Create a dummy parameter  with a default value of 1 million which you can use on your Dual Axis.

2) Add a Dummy parameter in the column Shelf . Go to the “Dummy” Marks Section and change the marks to Circle and then decrease the size of the circle to minimum extent.Also change the color to “White ” and decrease the transparency to Zero.

3)Perform the Dual Axis on “Dummy” and a reference line to this new axis. Put Sum(sales) on the detail shelf of Dummy marks.Do the below calculation for getting the total value.As we created a Dummy value which is very a high value, the reference line will always appear at the bottom.

4) Do some formatting on the reference line value so that Total value will appear  at the bottom and then Hide the header of the Dummy Parameter.

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Tableau Trick 10:

How to stop Tableau Chart of getting blank out when user is selecting a new range in the quick filter?

Let’s create a view by dragging Sales on Column Shelf and Sub- Category on Row Shelf. Put a Day (Order day) in Filter section which will create range of Day Order date. So when user select a new range in the quick filter bar chart blanks out:

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We can change the behavior to something a little more interesting. We can simply add the DAY (Order Date) field into the details. Doing so will break the bars and show total by day but when we will add the Day (order day) we will Day wise sum of Sales for every category something like below.

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If we want our viz to appear without any distortion, then Go to the Color Marks >Effects >Border > None. Now, every time a user moves the slider they will see an animated viz that can help understand the data as date ranges become narrower.

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About the Author: Rajeev Pandey

I am a multidisciplinary designer working in data visualization, interaction design and innovation. Expertise in developing Tableau, Web focus based visualization and reporting applications. I have a passion for analyzing, dissecting, and manipulating data sets as well as, building beautiful dashboard. Naturally talented in communicating between technology and business needs. Diverse and experienced in plenty of different domains .I am quick learner who can absorb new ideas and can communicate clearly and effectively.I love creativity and enjoy experimenting with various technologies.

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