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.
This window is standard for non-geographic worksheets. Geographic worksheets will instead show this window:
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:
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.
Right click any field, and select Format.
Click on the Pane tab of the Format window.
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.
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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You might’ve come across my previous post about fixing empty layout containers in Tableau. That post was about fixing a specific bug when everything else is configured correctly. This post is about a few common configuration issues that are usually the issue (before encountering the bug I’ve previously discussed). Go through these bullet points to make sure they’re configured correctly before trying other solutions.
You have a horizontal or vertical layout container. But the elements don’t automatically size correctly. Either a gap is left at the end of the container, worksheets don’t swap like they’re supposed to, or the worksheets don’t fill up the container.
1. Make sure the elements aren’t set to Fixed Width or Fixed Height
By activating the objects inside the container, you can see if the width or height is fixed. The little push-pin will be filled in white if width or height is fixed, or have no fill if it’s a dynamic width or height.
Something to keep in mind: You might not see the Fix Width or Fix Height option depending on your dashboard layout, and settings for the container. If you have “Distribute Contents Evenly” checked, these won’t show up. If your container is nested in other Tiled containers or multiple other containers, they might not show up either.
2. Activate each sheet in the container and set the sizing to Entire View, Fit Width (if a horizontal container), or Fit Height (if a vertical container)
Make sure each worksheet object is set to fit to the appropriate dynamic option. There are two places you can do this on the dashboard.
In the dropdown menu of the worksheet object:
Or in the bar at the top of the window:
The following points are relevant if you’re doing a sheet swap
3. Hide all the titles of the worksheets
Right click all of the sheet titles in the container and hide them. If you need them to be there, create a text box with dynamic text based on which sheet is visible.
4. Make sure there is a discrete field on either your rows or columns for the sheets involved in the swap
Go back to the individual worksheets that are in your container. Make sure they have a discrete pill on rows or columns. This should be a static field with a single value and should be set as discrete. I use a static field with the value MIN(0) set as discrete. Then right click the field and deselect “Show Headers”. This will make the field disappear from the view.
If you’ve been using Tableau Desktop or Tableau Public to design workbooks, there’s an issue you most likely have run into while configuring layouts. In fact, there are several posts in the Tableau Community Forums trying to get an answer to this exact problem. All remain unanswered. Post one, post two, post three. As a note, the last version I’ve used as of this post is 2020.1 and the issue was still present on certain dashboards.
Fortunately, I have a solution for you!
To preface this solution, it seems as if this is actually a bug in Tableau, and this is only a workaround to that bug. Hopefully in the near future this is fixed and this post becomes irrelevant!
You have a horizontal or vertical layout container. Your worksheets for the container are configured to one of the proper dynamic sizing options (fit height, fit width, or entire view). Yet when you put these worksheets inside of the container, there is always a little empty space at the end of the container.
It looks like a little grayed out area with diagonal slashes through it. Like this area highlighted in red (this photo was borrowed from the first linked Community post above):
To preface, before trying the below solution, you should explore the easier and more common fixes first. Most of the time the common fixes cover some small configuration issue that can cause this blank space to appear. These common fixes are:
Make sure you’ve configured the worksheets to fit automatically with either Fit Width, Fit Height, or Entire View
Clear any manual sizing for the worksheet
Remove the sheet and add it again
If none of those work, there is a another solution. This involves a little bit of switching back and forth. Although you probably have the worksheets configured to one of the dynamic options, Tableau is actually using the manual sizing of your axis to determine the maximum size the worksheet will take on when dropped in your container.
So what does this mean? This means you’ll have to do the following in order for your worksheet to fill the entire container.
Go back to the worksheet(s) you want to fill the container with
Toggle the worksheet fit to “Standard”
Manually size the x-axis (if it’s in a horizontal container) or y-axis (if it’s in a vertical container) to be larger than the container you’re dropping it in
Toggle the worksheet fit back to one of the dynamic options (Fit Width, Fit Height, or Entire View)
Ta-da, go back to the dashboard and view your container. The blank space should be gone
As a note, this sizing issue usually only happens when discrete dimensions are on the axis that determines the container fit (x-axis for horizontal and y-axis for vertical). I have not seen it happen in circumstances outside of that, but the fix should be the same. But what if the sizing issue is happening in containers that only have filters, parameters, legends, etc.? Let’s cover it in the next section.
A Related Problem and Solution: Containers with Filters, Parameters, and Other Static Things
So what if this same sizing issue is happening with a container that just hold filters, parameters, legends, or other more statically-sized elements?
The recommended action here is to manually set the height or width of the element to equal the height or width of the container. You can do this by clicking on the drop down arrow for the element, then clicking on “Edit Width” or “Edit Height”. Make sure to use the Layout tab to first find the size of the container you’re trying to fill.
1. Using the layout tab, select the target horizontal or vertical container you’d like to fill.
2. Click on the dropdown for the element you are trying to make fit the entire container.
3. Set the pixel value equivalent to the height or width of the container you are trying to fill completely.
That’s all there is to it! Let me know if you found this useful or if this didn’t solve the issue for you.