CALCULATION TIPS AND TRICKS




When you're new to Tableau or working on complex calculations it's easy to get circular in your thoughts.  Here are some tips and tricks that I use to help organize my thoughts when creating calculations.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, I'M NEW!

Recently I’ve been getting questions from new users, “I’m new to Tableau and data visualization.  I’m really interested in learning more.  What should I do?”

When it comes to Tableau or really anything the best way to learn (in the words of Nike) is “just do it!”  Here is the advice that I have been giving to new users.

DISAGGREGATED VISUALIZATIONS

Disaggregated visualizations show data at a lower level of detail.  As an example: viewing the sum of sales for all orders versus the sales for each individual order.

DUAL AXIS TILE MAPS

In a recent tile map tutorial session a user asked me if it was possible to add conditional borders onto the tiles.  Initially I thought "no" but then I quickly came to the realization that you could achieve the same outcome with a dual axis and squares of different sizes.  Here are two dual axis tile map ideas that I came up with.

Disclaimer: After creating these examples I haven't decided if these are great ways to show data but it can be done.


Tile map with conditional borders


WHAT IS DATA SHAPE AND WHY DOES IT MATTER IN TABLEAU?

How can data have a shape?  It's made up of numbers!  When working with Tableau it's all about the shape of the data.

VISUALIZING COMPARISONS


We use visualizations to make comparisons quite frequently.  How we are doing relative to last year, our forecast, or our goals?  Frequently comparisons have been visualized using gauges or multiple bar graphs.  I don’t suggest gauges and using multiple bar graphs can be sufficient but depending on the amount of data you’re viewing they can take up a lot of space.  In this post I’m going to show an alternative to gauges and multiple bar graphs.

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION BY STATE OVER TIME

Pick your poison!  Which states consume the most alcohol and how are they trending over time?