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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:

Creating a Date Scaffold in Tableau

Tableau Zen Master, Ken Flerlage, spends a lot of time answering questions on the Tableau Community Forum and one common problem he sees is missing dates. For instance, you may want your visualization to always show all twelve months of the year, regardless of whether or not there is data for all twelve months. Quite often, the solution to these problems is to use a date scaffold. So, in this blog, he shows you how to create and use a date scaffold in Tableau.

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How to Automatically Change Date Granularity Based on Days in Range

Zen Master, Ryan Sleeper, shows how to automatically change the date granularity to the most appropriate date part based on the number of days in a selected date range. This post shows how to change the date part of a line graph from day, to week, to month, based on if there are 30 or fewer, 90 or fewer, or more than 90 days on the view, respectively.

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Creating a Selection Panel with Set Actions looks at the relatively new feature of Set Actions. MakeoverMonday recently ran an article on “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” They created a bump chart showing the total net assets per person for each state based on each state’s population. The curvy bump chart was created using Kevin Flerlage’s excellent Excel template.

This post will focus on the selection panel to the left of the bump chart that allows you to select a state (or states) and have that state highlighted in the bump chart, which was created with a couple of formulas and a set action.

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3 Ways to Make Magnificent Maps in Tableau

Maps are one of the most effective chart types in Tableau and are also among the easiest chart types to create.

Ryan Sleeper's post uses a map of his top 10 favourite barbecue restaurants to share three ways to take your Tableau maps to the next level. Tips include a formatting trick, instructions for how to unlock additional map styles, and how to create a dual-axis map using a combination of generated and custom coordinates.

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It’s Okay to Break the Rules, Sometimes

Ken Flerlage's blog on gives us an insight into a Zen Master who doesn't always believe in sticking to a set of rules when it comes to data visualisation.

He explains 'In high school, I learned the rules for writing essays. Having mastered them, I realised that they were not so much rules as guideposts. Knowing this, he began to explore and experiment with the boundaries and gained a better understanding of when it was okay to wander outside of them'.

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Tableau Assistant Directory

Rebecca Roland has made a directory of free websites and tools you can use to enhance your work. Some require a sign up so do have your email and PW at the ready. You’ll find a variety of icons, images, text, shapes and colours! What more could you possibly need?

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3 More Ways to Overcome the Excel Barrier to Tableau Adoption

Tableau Zen Master, Ryan Sleeper, talks us through how moving business users from a spreadsheet mentality to data visualisation is just as relevant as its always been.

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8 analytic concepts to express with Tableau set actions

Released in Tableau 2018.3, the set actions feature extends the interactivity in Tableau, allowing for deeper, more diverse comparisons through user selections and opportunities to see your data in a new light.

Now you can provide richer analysis, more flexible exploration, and simpler user experiences for your stakeholders. Bethany Lyons, Product Manager at Tableau writes an excellent introduction on how to bring powerful new comparisons to viz audiences with set actions.

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Learn more about Tableau Prep Conductor, a new Add-on for 2019.1

Organisations are seeking to become more data-driven, providing more people with access to wider sets of data so they can create better insights, quicker., It’s more important than ever that everyone is working with the right data.

Thats the philosophy behind Tableau Prep Conductor being released as part of their 2019.1 data management add-on.

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Tableau Tips: How to Convert a Reference Line into a Level of Detail Expression

This 'how to' video by Andy Kriebel builds upon a previous tip: How to Convert a Reference Line into a Table Calculation. In this tip, instead of using table calcs, it will show you how to convert a reference line into a LOD.

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How to Show Current and Prior Period Dates on the Same Axis in Tableau

Ryan Sleepers posts are always great, and in this edition of Tableau Bites he gets 2 slots!

Dates can be tricky to work with in Tableau. This one explains how to compare the performance of a selected date range to the performance of the date range immediately preceding it. For example, if you choose this week as the current date range, you want to see this week’s data in addition to last week’s data so you can do an easy period-over-period analysis.

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Custom Tableau Server Admin Views

Tableau server guru, Jonothan MacDonald, explains how to build a custom view of tableau server admin.

You can customise the Tableau Server admin views for monitoring usage and data server statistics. For this, you need access to the underlying Postgres database that contains a lot of useful information about the Tableau server usage.

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Quick Tip -The One-Click Trick to Creating Headers for Single-Measure Tables

This is a guest post by Tableau Zen Master Jonathan Drummey on the Tableau blog. This post first appeared on Jonathan's blog, Drawing with Numbers.  Here’s the problem: In a single-measure table, I want the name of the measure column as a header.

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Process Control Charts in Tableau

Chris Dickson has written an excellent series of blogs, taking us from the simple to some complex variations of control charts. All aimed at helping us answer "Is this normal??".

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Want to see who is using your viz?

Lorena Merary Vazquez shows several methods on Tableau Server to see who is looking at dashboards and published data sources.  She also introduces us to an open library of custom Tableau Server dashboards, kindly hosted by Mark Jackson.

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This site is all about sharing real life dashboards. Dashboards made by real Tableau users. The purpose isn’t to show off clever charts, or amazingly designed infographics from fun personal projects. Instead they want to share what Tableau users are creating for work, with real dashboards for real users.

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Tableau 2019.1 Released - See whats new...

Explore the newest features in Tableau 2019.1 including Ask Data, Prep Conductor and more.

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Whats New in Tableau Prep

Data prep is becoming more versatile each month. The latest release (2018.3) allows you to clean and track your changes in every step, apply wild card unions and connect to PDF files.

Now is a great time to start working with this tool if you haven't already. Why? Because they have just announced that from next year, we will be able to schedule Data Prep workflows. And THAT is a game changer.

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Why do you visualize data? Ways to discuss with Stakeholders

Ryan Sleeper talks about his favourite question to ask when presenting on Tableau and data visualisation: Why do you visualise data? He then gives insight into discussing data visualisation with Stakeholders.

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Quick Tip – How to create extra space between your bars

Nils Macher addresses the question: Have you ever had the issue that you want to create extra space between bars which belong to a different category?  It is really difficult to see which bars belong to which region. The last row for each segment is really close to the first row of the following segment.

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How to make a Pareto Chart

Ellen Blackburn talks us through her preferred method of creating a Pareto Chart. The Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule) dictates that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause.

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One Click Zoom IN and OUT on a Map

This is a great Tableau post from Shinichiro Murakami and a simple use case for unioning a data source to itself. Now, why would you want to do that....? Shin walks through the steps to produce this great end-user experience.

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Finding public datasets just got easier...

Google has launched a new type of search engine designed specifically around helping people find data.  Simply called “Dataset Search,” the tool provides easier access to millions of datasets across thousands of data repositories on the web. Its in Beta, but well worth checking out if you haven't already.

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How to Show Top 10 Lists in Tableau Tooltips

Ryan Sleeper combines action filters, context filters and Viz in Tooltips in this simple How to...part of a series that helps you get the most out of text in Tableau.

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Functionality comparison - Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Web Editor

If you need to understand what your users can do with web edit - and what they can't - this great resource created by Andrew Pick is the place to start. And it covers versions 9.0 through to 2018.2!

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Beyond “Show Me” Part 1: It’s All About the X & Y

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on going beyond the charts available in the “Show Me” panel in Tableau by Ken Flerlage. He goes into detail about just how versatile the simple XY (or scatter) plot can be.

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Do not miss this Tableau Reference Guide

Here is a "bonus track" for this edition of Tableau Bites.

BEWARE. This is a massive reference library provided by Jeffrey Shaffer and includes links to posts on Graphing, Color, Calculations and much some of the masters as well as lesser-known Tableau authors.

Stick it in your bookmarks and come back often!

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New to Tableau Prep? Start with these five fundamentals

Annie Worman of Tableau talks through 5 easy to perform actions that you can do with Tableau Prep - the "new" tool from Tableau that has already had several releases. If you have a desktop license, then you can also get hold of this tool as part of your subscription. Learn how to Pivot, Group and Replace, Join and Union, Aggregate and Filter.

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Data Literacy, part 3: Analysing the fitness of averages

Lilach Manheim walks through an example of the process for analysing fitness of averages and provides some ways of not "aggregating away" the insights.

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Example use cases of Tableau calculations

Olga Tsubiks introduces and provides example use cases of 10 frequently used Tableau Calculations. This is part of her guide to help get Tableau Certified and is a great resource.

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Understand and execute the fundamentals like a Zen Master

Ryan Sleeper uses data from his blog posts to remind us that doing the fundamentals, well, is really what it takes to master Tableau. He then points us to 5 of his favourite Tableau tactics.

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An alternative to treemaps

I am a fan of Treemaps, for specific use-cases, but they can be over-used. Elizabeth Ricks illustrates some pros and cons of using Treemaps, plus some possible alternatives.

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The Spawning Of The Tadpole Chart

Mark Edwards talks through various incarnations of a design for a tadpole chart. This can be a great way to visualise period-over-period changes for multiple members in a dimension.

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Prepare survey data for analysis with three easy steps

Typically, survey data is formatted so that each row corresponds to an individual respondent and a column for each question.

Archana Ganeshalingam, a Product Consultant at Tableau, talks us through some simple steps we can perform within Tableau to help reshape the data to make it easier to analyse.

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How to create a cross database Union

Joshua Milligan talks us through a neat workaround to create a cross-database Union - which is currently not supported in Tableau -  by using Joins and the MAX function.

Even if you don't have a need, its a great reminder of how MIN/MAX functions can be used to get a desired outcome.

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The Barclays Gender Pay Gap

...or, "Breaking News: Senior executives are paid more than junior positions". Jeffrey Shaffer talks about the dangers of using averages to draw conclusions from the data and gives some great examples that can be used if you need to argue the point.

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How to build a Sankey diagram without any data prep beforehand

Sankey diagrams show the proportional "flow" (or make up) of one dimension from (or within) another.

Ian Baldwin, of The Information Lab, takes us through his 20 step process to create a Sankey without having to prepare the data before getting into Tableau - which would normally increase the data set as a bi-product. Well worth the effort in my opinion.

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Using PowerPoint for Tableau Graphics

Ken Flerlage points to an older post from Josh Tapley that gave him inspiration to use Powerpoint as a quick and easy graphics tool for some of his fantastic Tableau visualisations.

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Ten Questions with The Data Duo

Michael Sandberg interviews the Data Duo, Pooja Gandhi and Adam Crahen, and pulls their top 3 favourite Tableau tips from each of them. The Data Duo have created more than 325 visualisations on Tableau Public (see the gallery at the end of the blog), so they certainly know what they are talking about.

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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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