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The newsletter you’ll be waiting for.

Every week I read articles from news sites, blogs and new Tableau articles. I also look through new posts on Tableau Public, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tableau partner websites and in the Tableau Community, looking for the best and most useful pieces of content about Tableau and data visualisation practices. You’ll get the best ones, for free.

Here are some articles that have been included in recent editions of Tableau Bites:

How to make a span chart in Tableau

Kicking off the first Tableau Bites of the new decade is Christopher Marland from The Information Lab's Data School as he demonstrates how to make a span chart in Tableau.

A span chart can be used to display data across a minimum and maximum range. Whether if it's looking at company department productivity or annual employee wages, a span chart is great for Tableau dashboard designers working in the human resources industry.

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How to Create a Subtitle in Tableau that Highlights Which Fields Have Been Filtered

OneNumber's Eric Parker explains how to create a subtitle in Tableau that highlights which fields have been filtered in your dashboard.

This is useful if you have created a dashboard in Tableau that has a lot going on, which makes it difficult to find which filters are being used. Eric's approach by creating a subtitle below the main title makes it clear what filters are being used in the dashboard itself.

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Custom Dropdown with Parameter Actions & Show/Hide Container

For the advanced Tableau user, 2019 IronViz runner-up participant Lindsey Poulter focuses on how you can create a custom dropdown in Tableau that uses both Parameter Actions and Show/Hide Container. This is great for looking at how various product departments are performing over the year.

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Text Alignment on Dashboards

Zen Master Jeffrey Shaffer highlights some best practices for text alignment on your Tableau dashboards. Jeffrey explains how text alignment in Tableau can be used appropriately while identifying different scenarios of using left-aligning, centre-aligning and right-aligning text in a dashboard.

I hope you can find a use case for this in your real-world dashboard?

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Using Distribution Lines to Provide Space for Labels

The second of two Zen Masters to feature in the first Tableau Bites of 2020 is Andy Kriebel, who has another Tableau Tip up his sleeve with using distribution lines to create space for labels in a dashboard.

Andy shows you how you can use distribution lines to provide space for labels in your dashboard. If you have a sales dashboard that already has a filter for your audience to use, using distribution lines is a great way of creating space for labels in the dashboard while reducing the visual clutter in your dashboard.

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An Intro to Basic String Calculations: Left, Mid and Right functions

Ross Easton from The Information Lab's Data School gives you a basic introduction into string calculations in Tableau. Ross focuses on the left, mid and right functions of string calculations, which allows you to separate merged bits of information in your dataset into separate columns.

This is useful if you have data that has been merged together in certain cells and you need to separate the information into individual columns.

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How to build a candlestick chart in Tableau

Starting off the final Tableau Bites of 2019 is Anna Prosvetova from The Information Lab's Data School, who shows you how to build a candlestick chart in Tableau.

A candlestick chart is great for showing the fluctuating price changes in stocks and currency data, showing which days or months have shown a rise or decrease in prices. This is particularly useful for Tableau dashboard designers who work in the banking and stock market industries.

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Dealing with common Scatter Plot issues in Tableau

Dorian Banutoiu from Canonicalized highlights the most common issues that you are likely to deal with when using a scatter plot in Tableau. A scatter plot is great for showing which employees are generating the most sales within their department or how many customers are visiting your store.

It is worth taking into consideration when using this chart type in Tableau that you are going to deal with common issues, which includes dealing with NULL values or synchronised axes. Dorian explains some approaches to dealing with these common scatter plot issues in Tableau.

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Using Parameter Actions to Compare Time Periods

If you are an advanced Tableau user, Tessellation's Spencer Bauke shows you how to use Parameter Actions to compare time periods.  This is a very useful tip to use if you are working with data relating to time periods and need to select which time period on your dashboard to look at, whether that's product sales or employee retention.

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How to Track the Usage of Tableau Dashboards via URL Actions

Rodrigo Calloni explains how you can track the usage of dashboards created in Tableau through URL actions. This simple tip could be useful for dashboard creators and designers who want to track the user behaviour of interacting and engaging with the dashboard they have created in Tableau.

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How to create a printable table with multiple pages

Gwilym Lockwood from The Information Lab has a tip up his sleeve for creating a printable table with multiple pages in Tableau. Gwilym uses a Parameter and running total calculation to create a table that can be printed across multiple pages.

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Zoomable Charts in Tableau

We've saved the best for last as Zen Master Ken Flerlage shows you how to use Zoomable Charts in Tableau. This sort of chart is useful for zooming into a particular area within the chart you want to look at whether if it's the increase or decrease in medical sales or product sales over a certain time period.

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How To: Sheet Selector Using Set Actions in Tableau

Zen Master Matt Chambers shows you how to utilise the power of Set Actions to create a sheet selector in Tableau.

Matt walks you through step-by-step on creating the sheet selector using Set Actions, which is designed to create user interactions that can change the visualisations shown on a dashboard.

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5 Categories of Tableau Deliverables

Toan Hoang spreads his Tableau Magic once more, highlighting the flexibility and output the tool can bring to analytics and business intelligence professionals using Tableau in five categories.

The five categories Toan highlights are centred around presentation and print, interactive dashboards, infographics, data extracts and embedded analytics. Depending on how you use Tableau, it's important to know how you can use the platform to it's full potential to benefit your analytics department or consultancy.

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Using LODs to Compare Max/Min Year Values

For the more advanced Tableau user, Lindsay Betzendahl has a tip up her sleeve using level of detail (LOD) expressions to compare max/min year values. The LOD expression for max/min year values is great if there are missing values in the dataset that affect the quality of the dashboard or visualisation and need to be filled in.

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Visualizing P&L Statements

Klaus Schulte explains how you can visualise one of the most important documents for an accountant, a profit and loss statement. The Zen Master mentions using the scorecard approach to creating a P&L statement in Tableau while using different approaches to bring context for your statements.

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Parameter Actions

Expedia's David Pires provides six different user cases for using Parameter Actions in Tableau, which was released in Tableau 2019.2 earlier on in 2019. It includes using Parameter Actions for running total start date, sort it with 1 click, combined scroll, drill-down, sync references and before and after.

Maybe you can find one that is useful for your product sales or employee engagement dashboard? There are many different use cases...

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How to Dynamically Colour Tooltip Text in Tableau

Slalom's Sarah Bartlett shows you how to dynamically colour your tooltip text in Tableau. This is a great way of turning an ordinary-looking tooltip into something that enhances and improves the user experience for users and managers who are interacting with the visualisation or dashboard.

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Cases for Collapsible Containers

Kevin Flerlage highlights one of the less-promoted features when Tableau 2019.2 was released in May 2019, collapsible containers.

Collapsible containers can be utilised in several ways on a dashboard. Whether if it's to show and hide filters or parameters, sheet swapping, creating stackable charts or modifying the background colour of a visualisation, you'll find a way of applying a collapsible container in your own work! Kevin walks you through step-by-step on 12 different use cases.

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Removing values from quick filters using Tableau’s Order of Operations

Nick Jastrzebski from The Information Lab shows you how to level up your dashboards with an overview of removing values from quick filters by using Tableau's Order of Operations.

There are three ways of doing this through the Order of Operations. The first approach includes duplicating a field that you are using and then excluding it. The second approach uses a set filter to filter out unwanted values and the last approach combines both approaches to remove values from quick filters.

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How to Make Ranged Dot Plots in Tableau

The Principal of Playfair Data is back with another excellent how to articleRyan Sleeper guides you through how to make ranged dot plots in Tableau. A ranged dot plot is great for identifying which regions have generated more sales within your business over a 12-month window.

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Style your KPIs – Displaying positive or negative change

Want to make your KPIs stand out? The Data School's Joe Stokes demonstrates how to style your KPIs in Tableau to display positive or negative change. This can be incredibly useful for businesses who want to look at if the number of sales or orders has increased or decreased year-on-year.

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Designing Tableau Dashboards in the Age of Digital Distraction

In this age of digital distraction, designing accessible dashboards in Tableau that does its job for your department manager or business is essential. Bridget Cogley mentions why its important to create calm spaces for users to engage in your company sales or healthcare dashboard.

Read More

Difference From Average Set Action

If one Data School post was not enough, let's make it two! Georgie Grgec explains how to use a Set Action to show the difference from the average by using a difference in average chart to show which states are performing above the average state in the Sample Superstore dataset.

Read More

Steve Adams

steve 1b

Hi, I'm Steve Adams and I am a self-confessed analyst! Starting out over 25 years ago as an accountant, I became the Finance Director of a EUR 6B turnover company, delivering business analytics and performance management solutions. Since 2007 I have been consulting internationally in a wide range of industries.

I'm an agile BI practitioner. Visual analytics is an art form which I teach, study and enjoy.

For reporting, I believe that transparency and clarity of message are critical and I am a keen follower of the SUCCESS formula of the IBCS® (International Business Communication Standards). I am an IBCS® Certified Consultant.

My software weapon of choice is clearly Tableau and I am a Tableau Qualified Associate, consultant and trainer.


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