Categories
Meta Tableau

Top 3 New Features in Tableau Desktop 2022.1

New year, new Tableau release! I’m going to do a video walk-through for 2022.1 and a brief text summary below.

Walk-through video

Top 3 New Features in Tableau Desktop

1. Workbook Optimizer

Wondering why your workbooks aren’t performing as expected? Before this you would have to open up a PDF or web page with suggestions for designing more efficient workbooks. Then you guess at what you could do better.

For the really hardcore performance tuning, you might have even done performance recording to see what exactly is going on with hard data.

But gone are those days! Now Tableau will give you a quick breakdown of things you did well and things you can get better on.

P.S. If you’re doing performance recording, there can be significant differences between performance you see on Desktop and that same workbook’s performance when you publish to Server. If you’re experiencing this, reach out to me here.

2. Customize View Data

The old View Data window was stuck in the Windows 95 era. In 2022.1 you have much more control over that window and improved look and feel.

3. Swap with Root Table

If you’ve ever used complex data source models in Tableau with multiple relationships, you’ll know exactly why this is a big deal.

Instead of having to erase everything and start from scratch when you want to switch table position in your model, you now have the menu option to have Tableau swap that table position with root (or other tables).


Thanks for reading this far. Are you banging your head against a wall trying to build analytics solutions for your business? Are you struggling to assemble a full-stack data team with the resources you have available?

I run MergeYourData.com, where we provide you with Analytics as a Service. Leverage our team of experts to get impactful data analytics for your business, without the headache of hiring, training, and managing 3-5 people.

If your business makes between $10-50 million per year in revenue, you probably realize how critical data is to continuing your growth. Our services let you achieve that without all the associated overhead.

If any of what I’ve described sounds like where you’re at, book a call below.

https://www.mergeyourdata.com/schedule-a-meeting


Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading. Hopefully this post and video helped you understand the newer features in Tableau 2021.4. Feedback or questions? Post a comment or send me an email!

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Tableau Tips

Quick Tip: Refit Clusters after refreshing extracts on Tableau Desktop

It’s Quick Tip time for Tableau Desktop!

After working with Tableau’s clustering capabilities for a while, I came across a situation where all my saved clusters disappeared after refreshing extracts.

Well… the saved cluster didn’t disappear, it just all turned the same color and didn’t cluster.

Unfortunately I haven’t remembered every page of Tableau documentation yet so I got tripped up. But the fix was simple, and here it is.

Quick Tip: Right-click your saved cluster and select Refit.

A short YouTube video I made

This is truly a quick tip, but might relieve some panic when your data refreshes and all your beautiful clusters get washed out.

A Final Note

If you haven’t jumped into Tableau clustering before, there are some really good blogs and documentation around it. Here are a few links:

Thanks for reading!

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Categories
Meta Tableau

Tableau 2021.4 top new features

Like the last time I walked through the top new features (for 2021.2), I’m going to do a video walk-through for 2021.4 and a brief text summary below.

Walk-through video

Summary of top features

Tableau Desktop and Web Editing

1. Copy and Paste in Dashboards

If you’ve been using Tableau, you’ve always scratched your head as to why this isn’t a feature. Copy and paste on Dashboards is now possible. It is only with objects that don’t contain any worksheets in them. But still, this is a huge productivity gain.

2. Edit Published Data Sources

In my opinion, one of the biggest discouragements from publishing a data source with standardized calculated fields was the difficulty in editing that data source. Well, now you can directly edit published data sources without downloading it and then republishing.

3. Tableau Exchange – Tableau Accelerators

Tableau… I mean Salesforce.. has bigger goals for Tableau. It’s clear they want to grow the marketplace of resources to make development and adoption easier.

Enter Tableau Exchange. Specifically Tableau Accelerators. These “Accelerators” are to give you basic templates to kick-start your development so you don’t have to start from zero.

It’s not a silver bullet since you still have to customize it to your data, but it’s a step in the right direction.

4. Multiple data sources in map layers

Break free from a few of the data prep complexities when building map visualizations! Now you can use multiple data source as map layers in a single worksheet.

5. New Metrics Improvements

  • You can now embed Metrics into apps, corporate portals, and webpages
  • You can now set things like the comparison period, date range, and color status indicators for each Metric

Tableau Online/Server (Specifically for Data Management Add-On)

1. Virtual Connections

In both Server and Online, you can now create and share access to tables, embed service account credentials, define data policies, and extract data centrally.

Bolded items are ones that really get me charged up.

2. Inherited Lineage Descriptions

This one feels like a further play to compete with 3rd party tools for data management. Now, everywhere a data source or workbook is used, the description will be consistent.

Tableau Prep

1. Parameters in Flows

This one is like a small seed that has the potential to sprout into a fruit-bearing, full-grown avocado tree.

You can now add some rudimentary parameters in Flows. This means you can run flows for specific inputs that are chosen at run-time.

If you’re familiar with Alteryx, this is a feature they have for both local and Alteryx Server apps. It allows users to run customized reports based on choices or data they enter before the flow is run.

While Tableau has a very basic implementation of parameters, I expect the functionality to converge with parameter features that exist in Desktop. So things like setting parameter options to the unique values of a field (like the data set’s date range).


Thanks for reading this far. I run MergeYourData.com, a consultancy that empowers businesses with automation and data.

If you’re frustrated or overwhelmed with your daily processes and feel like you’re not getting the most out of your analytics investment, reach out to us.

https://www.mergeyourdata.com/schedule-a-meeting


Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading. Hopefully this post and video helped you understand the newer features in Tableau 2021.4. Feedback or questions? Post a comment or send me an email!

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Categories
Dashboards Tableau

Bad bookmark behavior – an inside look at a personal habit

Click here to jump straight to the dashboard

Some people are normal when it comes to saving things they care about. Some people have problems physically hoarding objects that link them to past memories. But me… I have problems with digital hoarding. It’s probably related to some combination of FOMO and consumerism that drives me to hitting that save button. Because… you know… I’ll eventually get back around to it.

So naturally, instead of actually revisiting some of my past bookmarks, I built a dashboard to analyze my bad habit.

I use a bookmark tool called Raindrop.io, which has an API I can easily pulled structured data from. Using this API, I extracted the bookmark data to a spreadsheet with a low-code automation tool called Integromat. It took about 2 minutes to do and I can run the automation again in the future or schedule it to run if I want to update my data.

Integromat is something I use frequently in my consulting business (MergeYourData.com) to automate business processes. It’s a great tool you should check out if you have automation needs but don’t want to code custom solutions.

So what did I build?

This was a fun and simple visualization. I just wanted to look at how frequently I was bookmarking things over the past year or so with Raindrop.io. So I did breakdowns by month, day, weekday, and hour.

Aliens and UFOs seem to be a hot topic ever since the Pentagon declassified some Navy videos in 2020. So why not make a viz with that theme?

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The Dashboard

Thanks for reading. Any questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to me via email on my contact page.

Categories
Tableau Tips

Quick Tip: How to develop more efficiently with big data sets Tableau Desktop

It’s Quick Tip time for Tableau Desktop!

Do you work with large non-local data sets? For example, something like a live connection to Snowflake or SAP HANA?

If so, you’ve come across frequent loading screens when you switch dashboards or worksheets. This is when Tableau is querying the data source again to grab the most up-to-date data.

Think about how much time this wastes while developing dashboards! Especially if you have a dashboard that has a decent number of worksheets. Then we’re talking about several seconds of querying and loading.

Even if you haven’t run across this yet, read this quote straight from the horse’s mouth (Tableau):

If you’re working with a complex view or a very large data source, refreshing data can take a long time.

Tableau’s Refresh Documentation

and

When you create a complex data view that involves many fields, these queries can be time-consuming. 

Tableau’s Performance Tips

Here’s a quick tip on how to avoid this and develop in Tableau more efficiently.

Quick Tip: Pause Auto-Updates for your data source

It’s as easy as clicking a button.

The setting allows you to pause updates on the dashboard, on the worksheet, and on the filters. So you can control which components are kept up-to-date. And if you want to force an update, you can always do that without turning back on auto-updates.

This is also applicable for users exploring dashboards. Tableau Online and Tableau Server will allow a person viewing the workbook and/or a person editing the workbook in the browser to pause the data source for increased performance.

Make sure to read the documentation to see how Tableau handles this setting while publishing workbooks.

https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/queries_autoupdates.htm

A Final Note

You’re going to forget that you’ve done these things to make development more efficient. When you inevitably ask yourself:

Why isn’t anything updating!!!! 😡😤🤬

– Me once per month wondering why I’m not seeing updates

So don’t forget to toggle the auto-update settings back or to switch your data source back to live.

Also, I embedded this video in my last post and want to share it again so here ya go:

Pssst, I’m letting you know you’re in the good ole days of Tableau right now. Enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!

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Categories
How-To Tableau Tips

Quick Tip: Hide the Null indicator in Tableau Desktop when you don’t want to filter the data

Sometimes Tableau’s UI can be misleading. If you’ve had the NULL values indicator pop up in the bottom-right corner of one of your worksheets, then this is one of those misleading times.

A simple click on the indicator would suggest there are two options to handle NULLs. The first would be to filter the data. The second option is to show data at the default position.

Clicking on the Null indicator will pop up this option box

This window is standard for non-geographic worksheets. Geographic worksheets will instead show this window:

https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/datafields_specialvalues.htm

But there are actually other options available outside of these!

The Quick Tip

Let’s say you want to leave everything as-is, but don’t want to have that ugly NULL bubble in the bottom right corner of your worksheet view. The way you can do that is LITERALLY THE EASIEST THING EVER. Yet I didn’t learn this until a couple years until my Tableau journey. Ok, now don’t be mad when I tell you this…

Right click the indicator and select Hide.

Yup. That’s it. Here’s a gif of me doing it:

Seriously, it’s that easy.

Be aware that Tableau will choose the specific behavior of hiding the indicator. This means that for something like line charts, it could hide the indicator and keep the line connected. But if you wanted to control that behavior and break the line instead while hiding the indicator, you can use the method described below.

Another NULL Formatting Tip

There’s an additional method to handling NULL values in Tableau. This involves changing the formatting of the specific field.

  1. Right click any field, and select Format.
  2. Click on the Pane tab of the Format window.
  3. At the very bottom you’ll have a Special Values section for Text and Marks. Here you can enter an alias for the text values or select from one of four dropdown options for the Marks.
Right-click on any field you want to modify Special Values for.

That’s it. Hope this tip helps! Please send me an email (dan@mywebsiteURL) if this post helps or if there are other topics you’d like covered!

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Categories
Dashboards Data Tableau

Fails to Deliver and GameStop – A Look Inside

Note: Like what you see? I’m available for contract work! Reach out to me (407-906-6902) if you have an analytics project you’re looking to complete!

Click here to jump straight to the dashboard

You probably haven’t heard anything about GameStop in the past few years. Nope, nothing. Just a defunct retail chain where you used to be able to trade in your used video games for $3 a pop.

Sarcasm aside, the world was taken by storm a few weeks ago when GameStop stock went on a rally. With an exceptionally meteoric rise paired with high short interest, panic ensued for short sellers and smaller brokerages. This led to a rise in failures to deliver. In the most basic definition, this is one of the parties in a transaction did not deliver cash or the asset before the settlement date of the transaction.

Check out Investopedia’s definition below, and definitely read the page if you want to learn more about failures to deliver.

Whenever a trade is made, both parties in the transaction are contractually obligated to transfer either cash or assets before the settlement date. Subsequently, if the transaction is not settled, one side of the transaction has failed to deliver. Failure to deliver can also occur if there is a technical problem in the settlement process carried out by the respective clearing house.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/failuretodeliver.asp

The SEC publishes data on failures to deliver twice every month. At the time of this posting, they had data released up to January 15th, 2021 (update: on Feb 16th I updated this with the SEC data up to January 29th, 2021). This unfortunately doesn’t capture the most extreme part of the GameStop stock price explosion, but captures other volatile periods in the stock’s history. I’ll update the visualization when the data becomes available.

In this dashboard, I wanted to see the correlation between price increases and fails to deliver. Also I was interested in seeing what the comparison was between the average of all stocks reported fails to deliver versus GameStop. Check out the visualization below to see what I came up with. It’s interactive and best viewed on desktop (but has a mobile configuration as well).

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The Dashboard

p.s. if you know what stonks are then you know it’s not a misspelling. If not, don’t worry about it and enjoy the ride 🚀🚀🚀

One last note is that this project was a great way for me to practice my Python skills. SEC.gov provided the files in two week chunks, each as a zip file. I made a quick Python script to download all of the data for the last year, unzip the folders, append all of the text files to each other, and output a nice csv to use in Tableau. Python is a semi-frequent skill for me so it’s always nice to have a quick touch-up project like this.

If you’re looking to learn Python, a project like this is a simple way to learn a real world use. Don’t be afraid to jump into projects like this. Break it down into tiny steps and complete one at a time.

Thanks for reading. Any questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to me via email on my contact page.

Categories
Tableau Tips

My Top 5 Quick Tips for Speeding Up Development in Tableau Desktop

Making the leap from beginner to intermediate, and intermediate to expert in any skill requires attention to small details. This includes paying attention to nuances in the way the skill is conducted. Tableau development is no different. What are some ways that a Tableau developer can hop into the next echelon of skill? I’ve compiled five of my favorite quick tips to speed up your workflow and take development to the next level.

1. Using a template workbook for common formulas, dashboard layouts, etc.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), you’ll be doing a lot of the same type of stuff while building different workbooks in Tableau. Certain things are done in many dashboards, things like:

  • Certain calculations
    • Year-Over-Year
    • Year-To-Date
    • Month-To-Date
    • Percent difference
    • INDEX( )
  • Certain views
    • BAN (Big Ass Numbers)
    • Highlight tables
    • Customized maps
  • Dashboard layouts

There are a couple methods you can use with template workbooks to be more efficient. First, you can swap out the data source and replace fields with your desired data source fields in order to use the template workbook exactly as it is. Secondly, you can copy and past specific calculated fields, parameters, sheets, dashboards, and more from the template workbook into the target workbook.

This methodology really comes in handy when building more complex visualizations. Things like radial bar charts, Sankey diagrams, waterfall charts, etc. These can be time-consuming builds that aren’t frequently created, meaning it’s difficult to get efficient at building them.

2. Using the control key (or command key for Mac) to duplicate things and select multiple objects instead of the context menu

Did you know Tableau let’s you duplicate and select pretty much anything using the control/command key?

  • Press and hold it while clicking and dragging a pill in order to duplicate it.
  • Press and hold it while clicking and dragging a pill onto one of the marks cards (color, size, etc.) in order to duplicate it as a different mark attribute.
  • Press and hold it while clicking and dragging a worksheet to duplicate it.
  • Press and hold it while clicking and dragging a dimension in the data pane to the measure area in order to create a count of that dimension field.
  • Hold control/command while clicking on worksheets, fields, or pills to make bulk actions

3. Utilize context menus instead of the menu bar

You might be tempted to create and edit calculated fields, format specific fields or elements, and do other things using the menu bar. It’s more efficient though to use context menus in their localized areas.

For example, right click on a field in the data pane and then click “Calculated Field in the “Create” menu in order to have the context field inputted into the calculated field formula window. A parameter would be similar in function. Basically a contextually created parameter would be automatically configured with that field’s relevant values as the list of values for the parameter.

4. Drag and drop things instead of using context menus

This tip is usually targeted at beginners. To remove pills from the view, there is no need to right-click each pill and then click remove. Instead just click and drag the pill out of the view to remove it. Use control/command to select multiple elements (or shift to select multiple sequential elements) and drag them off the view to remove them.

On a similar note, you can drag and drop fields onto specific parts of the view (columns, rows, marks, filters, pages, etc.) in order to get the desired visualization. Double clicking a field to add it to the view and then moving the field around can be much less efficient.

5. Copy and Paste Formatting

Make a change to one of your bar chart views? Need those changes in all of your other bar chart views in the workbook? Don’t event think about repeating the formatting manually!

Tableau offers a great functionality to copy and paste formatting, just like in Excel. Simply right click the target worksheets.


That’s it, thanks for reading!

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How-To Tableau Tips

Quick Tip: Filtering and Searching in Tableau’s Data Pane

Did you know that Tableau Desktop has the option to filter the data pane by field types on top of just their names? With the introduction of data models in Tableau Desktop, I see a lot of users frustrated with the seemingly crowded data pane. Before the data model, you used to have dimensions and measures in separate sections in the data pane, but now everything is grouped by tables of your data source. The good news is that Tableau actually still has an intuitive way to quickly see the fields you need.

As of 2020.3 you can filter your searches by 4 different queries:

C: filters for calculated fields
M: filters for measures
D: filters for dimensions
F: filters by comments

By typing C: or any of the other options at the beginning of your search, you’ll filter all of the fields based on that category. After the type filter, just put the field name you’re looking for to filter further.

There are technically two ways to filter your searches. You can manually type in the values above, or you can use the filter button located to the right of the search bar. Take a look at the GIF below to see.

Here we manually select the filter type using the button to the right.

That’s all there is to it! Tableau has some great documentation on further things you can do in the data pane as well, take a look: https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/datafields_dwfeatures.htm

This has been a quick tip that will hopefully make your Tableau Desktop development workflow a little easier. Make sure to check out the other quick tip articles to level up your development!

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Categories
Meta Tableau

Some awesome new features announced at Tableau Conference-ish 2020

This post will be relatively short. There were a few announcements at Tableau Conference-ish over the first couple days that are a huge deal for Tableau Desktop developers. These new feature announcements are certainly not exhaustive but are in my opinion, the highest impact.

Big map changes

Unlimited map layers

This means you aren’t limited to a single analysis that depends on size and/or color of map marks. This really opens up the number of options developers have in creating impactful and insightful maps.

This new feature might raise the question; how can you have multiple layers and a good user experience due to Tableau’s standard interactivity on worksheet?

You can now disable selections on maps

No more inadvertent highlighting and unwanted interactivity. Turn off selections in maps in order to provide a better user experience. This will greatly improve mobile UX due to the tapping and scrolling nature of mobile devices. This will avoid some common frustrations associated with the maps UX.

Reorder layers

With multiple layers, you’ll want to be able to control which one appears on the top. Tableau will be providing an easy way to drag and reorder map layers so that the desired layer order can be achieved.

Not map related, but probably the biggest news for beginner and intermediate developers: Tableau Desktop will write your LoDs

You read that right! If you’ve had trouble building level of detail calculations, Tableau is going to help out with that. You’ll be able to select dimensions and measures by holding control, right click, and click on “Create Level of Detail Calculation”. For more complex LOD calculations, this won’t be too big of a deal. But for people struggling to build these calculations, this functionality might bridge the gap between knowing about LODs and understanding LODs.


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