Tips & Tricks for beginners

I have the great privilege to do a presentation in Vegas during the Tableau Conference #data22 with Heidi Kalbe. If part of the presentation has been recorded for the virtual conference and can be found in the Tableau Website , I thought it will be useful to talk about some of my favorites.

#1 Attend an in-person event

First of all, my first tip for you, consists to attend a Tableau Conference, because you have an unique occasion to discuss, exchange ideas with your peers across the globe and that is priceless. So I hope to see you at the next in-person conference either in the US or in Europe ( a girl can dream!). During our session we distribute some chocolates, and that is an experience, that we couldn’t sadly reproduce virtually.

#2 Connect to a data source

There are several way to connect to a datasource in Tableau, you can use the following zones, highlighted in blue :

  • the data menu on the top left
  • the datasource icon
  • the datasource menu at the bottom

But what is less known is that you can drag and drop a data source from a folder to your workbook directly or grabbing the datasource from another workbook. Yes another workbook. If you are like me and you cannot always find where you have saved the datasource, but that you found a workbook that uses this datasource, you can access it!

For that you need to click on “new datasource and then in “more”.

Then you just have to select the workbook, containing your datasource.

And finally, tell Tableau which datasource from this workbook you want to connect to.
This workbook uses 2 datasources

#3 Counting the marks without altering the view

The view below represents all the orders of our chocolate factory by type of chocolate. Yes Ruby Chocolate is a real thing 🙂

But what if, I want to count the marks in the view, without altering the view. Not display the information in the viz, but just inform myself. As always, we have different ways to do that in Tableau.

  • We can use the tooltip menu : after selecting the marks, let the mouse over the marks and the menu will appears indicating that 3768 items have been selected.
  • This information is also visible on the bottom left banner

What is even more interesting is that in case you select just some items in the views, the bottom part will indicate the number of selected items and the total in the view

  • Display the summary card by right click into the pane or the grey area. The summary card will display the total number of items; or if you select some items, it will display the percentage displayed

#4 Labelling

On this view, I used Attr(1) to create several columns, that I can then rename for the users as the Sales column for instance. But my marks on the left hand-side are still mentioning attr(1), which is not really useful, especially to remember what it was is several weeks.

How to we fix it ? By double clicking into our rows and type // Profit and then hit the Alt + return key, that will change the name to a more meaningful one.


Tableau provides you with multiple ways to comment in your dashboard.

  • You can comment a complex calculation using // on a calculated field for instance.
  • you can also right click on a calculated field, select default properties and comment. The comment will then appear while hovering, which will be also quite handy.
  • The feature I use all the time, is the caption. I use it to let some comments on the view for my colleagues or for myself in case I have follow up question. Just right click on the grey area or on the view, select caption. You can delete the automatic text generated by tableau and enter your own comment.
On this example, I use the caption to give me some instructions during the live demo.
  • Last but not least, you can also comment on a parameter. See blue highlighted zones below. Yes it took me time to notice 🙂

#6 Quick LOD

In order to create a quick LOD calculation and instead of writing the whole formula manually, you can select the measure you want to aggregate and hit CTRL + click or (CMD + click on a mac) and drag the measure into the dimension you want to aggregate on.

Tableau will generate the calculation automatically and name it Measure (dimension) on the example below Sales (Region)

you can edit the calculation manually if you want

#7 View underlying data

On the new upgrade of Tableau Desktop 2022.1, there has been some improvement on the view underlying data feature. Let’s have a look

On the view of chocolate sales per country of origin, click on one of the mark to have the tooltip menu displayed. Click on the icon representing a table.

Tableau display the summary data for the selected mark, you need to click on full data to have the underlying data for this mark. Notice that only 5 columns are rendered, as Tableau displays the fields originally present on the view.

In case you want to add more columns, you can click on show fields and select the additional columns, you may want.

As you have added the columns you needs, you can rearrange them before hitting the download button ( if you really need to download) hehe.

Go further

That is all from my side for today, Heidi will publish her favourites into her blog, be sure to check it out :

Other great resources about Tableau Tips & Tricks from the #datafam can be found into Flerlage website and SQL Belle wonderful youtube channel.

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