Thursday, 5 July 2018

TC18 London - Practical Tableau Tips

Ryan Sleeper

Fundamentals = Success
Ryan’s two most popular posts out of 200 is one on bars and one on lines

Bar chart tips
  1. Give your headers space
  2. But don’t make your bars too fat
  3. For only a few bars - use a direct label and hide the axis
  4. Heavy axis ruler bar to give the base a firmer zero line

Line chart tips
  1. Maximise Data Ink ratio (Tufte concept) To do this minimise the non-data elements
  2. Remove redundant data ink
  3. Make increments on the axis larger
  4. Remove obvious axis labels
  5. Highlight the key element you want to analyse

Psychological Schemas - we learn by patterns so if we disrupt the pattern, we struggle. Ie if green didn’t equal good and red wasn’t bad
  1. Don’t break these within your visualisation or you will confuse your users

Spatial Context
  1. Adding any spatial element to a view helps add additional context and spot weird outliers as we have preconceptions about how the pattern should be

CTRL+E - in Tableau this can tell us a lot
You can also click on a calc in a Calculation window and click ‘describe’ on the dialogue box and you can copy and paste your calculation

Filter in Use
Create a calculation If sum(num of red) <> attr({fixed: sum (num of records)}) then ‘Filter in use’ else “” end
Add to the dashboard to show when someone is filtering

Descriptive analytics (basic dashboarding)
Prescritptive analytics - explain why something has happened and describe what to do about it
Add your own commentary by using a string parameter on another sheet and a three choice option as to whether it is positive, neutral or negative and then show the resulting values in the main dashboard.


  1. It was really a nice post Thanks for sharing
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  2. Thank you so much for putting up such a informative post about Tableau and related aspects.

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