Yikes – I’m getting old in Tableau years. This week I clicked on a Tableau Public post I thought sounded interesting: 3 Tips to Overcoming the Excel Barrier to Tableau Adoption. Wow, I thought, the Tableau Public team is so in tune, and that sounds just like something I would say. Interested to hear their take, I clicked on the article to discover I had wrote it in May of 2016! Ah, May 2016. A time before I started Playfair Data, my Twitter handle was @OSMGuy, and the Kansas City Royals were defending World Series Champions.
I also had an epiphany. I thought back to all the posts I’ve shared and presentations I’ve delivered in hopes of evangelizing moving business users from a spreadsheet mentality to data visualization. What I realized is: this is just as relevant as ever. Now ten years into my career, my primary challenge remains convincing my stakeholders to leave the comfort of Excel behind for the value of self-service analytics and data visualization that Tableau thrives at. Something so seemingly obvious that has technically been available since William Playfair conjured up the bar chart and line graph in 1786, but which so few companies are doing well.
This post shares three more specific tactics for smoothing the transition from text tables to data visualization. We’ll start with the ‘gateway’ chart, the highlight table, learn how to leverage Viz in Tooltip to display trends or comparisons within crosstab cells, and I’ll share a hack for allowing your users to toggle between a text table and a data visualization. We’ve led the horse to water; now we’re going to give them a loving nudge in.