Tableau set actions are a new (as of version 2018.3) type of dashboard action that will unlock new user experiences by allowing you to dynamically control which dimension members are included in a set. Some of my favorites that have already been figured out include How to Highlight with Color by Matt Chambers, How to Change Dimensions by Lindsey Poulter, How to Make a Cross-Highlight by Rody Zakovich, and How to Drilldown in a Single Sheet by Ann Jackson, just to name a few. A general thread that I’ve noticed between the innovative applications of set actions is they’re often used to make existing dashboards and tutorials better, and I am no exception. I’ve shown you before how to dynamically group the top N vs everything else using a parameter. This is a user experience I like because it reduces the cognitive load on my end user, making it easier for them to consume the view. In this post, I will make this experience even better by using set actions to allow my end user to choose the top N by simply clicking on the dimension members on a chart.
One of the features announced at Tableau Conference 2018 that I am most excited about is parameter actions. This feature will unlock a lot of flexibility that will provide better opportunities to design your user experiences and transfer control of an analysis from yourself to your end users. But did you know this feature is already available in the form of a Tableau dashboard extension called Parameter Actions? In this post, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite ways to improve the user experience of a line graph by allowing users to choose which date part, or granularity, is being visualized (i.e. day, week, month, year). Then we’ll make that user experience even better by using Tableau’s Parameter Actions extension, which is available as of Tableau Desktop 2018.2. The dashboard extension will allow us to create a seamless, web-like experience that will allow our end users to change a date part by simply clicking on a letter!
I recently received a great question from a Twitter connection, and I figured I would share the solution here in case it helps anybody else. They were trying to display four decimal places when the measure value on the view was less than one, but only two decimal places when the measure value was greater than one. This was a brainteaser because, by default, Tableau limits you to one number format per measure. I loved the concept though because I’m a big believer in maximizing the data-ink ratio and the extra decimal places could be considered redundant data ink. My first instinct was to dynamically format the numbers with parameters, but this technique only works for controlling the prefix and suffix of each different number type. Instead, this post will show you two alternative approaches that allow you to control the prefix, suffix, and/or the number of decimal places when you are trying to display two (or even three!) number formats for the same measure in Tableau.
Dates can be tricky to work with in Tableau. It’s no wonder there are six different chapters in Practical Tableau explaining different approaches to get the most out of this special data type. One of my favorite techniques, that doesn’t happen ‘out-of-the-box’ for us in Tableau, is to compare the performance of a selected date range to the performance of the date range immediately preceding it. For example, if I choose this week as the current date range, I want to see this week’s data in addition to last week’s data so I can do an easy period-over-period analysis. You can always set your date range filter to capture both time periods, but if you’re using a continuous axis, the dates will not be lined up on top of each other – making it difficult to compare dates. This post and video will show you how to compare any selected date range to the same number of days immediately preceding the selection – all on one axis so they’re lined up! While I’ve written about this topic before, I’ve found an even better approach to reduce the number of calculations required.
This is the fifth and final post in a series about getting the most out of text in Tableau. For earlier installments, see An Introduction to String Calculations, How to Make Automatic Insights, 3 Ways to Create Charming Crosstabs, and How to Show Top 10 Lists in Tooltips. Got about 10 minutes? I’ve got ten more ideas to share on getting the most out of text in Tableau. As I brainstormed ideas for what to include in this series about using text in Tableau, I was reminded what a powerful role text plays in the practice of data visualization. While I strongly believe that visualization is the most effective way to understand data, text can complement your analyses, provide context, add branding, and much more. In this post, I’ll share how to incorporate custom fonts, how to align table text like traditional financial reporting, build better callout numbers, conditionally format text, display vertical axis labels, and more. As my favorite clickbait headlines say – you won’t believe number 8 – keep reading! :)