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Practical Tableau

Book Description

Whether you have some experience with Tableau software or are just getting started, this manual goes beyond the basics to help you build compelling, interactive data visualization applications. Author Ryan Sleeper, one of the world’s most qualified Tableau consultants, complements his web posts and instructional videos with this guide to give you a firm understanding of how to use Tableau to find valuable insights in data.

Over five sections, Sleeper—recognized as a Tableau Zen Master, Tableau Public Visualization of the Year author, and Tableau Iron Viz Champion—provides visualization tips, tutorials, and strategies to help you avoid the pitfalls and take your Tableau knowledge to the next level.

Practical Tableau sections include:

  • Fundamentals: get started with Tableau from the beginning
  • Chart types: use step-by-step tutorials to build a variety of charts in Tableau
  • Tips and tricks: learn innovative uses of parameters, color theory, how to make your Tableau workbooks run efficiently, and more
  • Framework: explore the INSIGHT framework, a proprietary process for building Tableau dashboards
  • Storytelling: learn tangible tactics for storytelling with data, including specific and actionable tips you can implement immediately

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
    1. This Book’s Purpose
    2. This Book’s Audience
    3. This Book’s Structure
      1. O’Reilly Safari
      2. How to Contact Us
    4. Acknowledgments
  3. I. Fundamentals
  4. 1. How to Learn Tableau: My Top Five Tips
    1. Tip #5: Follow the Community
    2. Tip #4: Take a Training Class
    3. Tip #3: Read Up
    4. Tip #2: Practice
    5. Tip #1: Tableau Public
  5. 2. Which Tableau Product Is Best for Me?
    1. Which Tableau Product Is Best for Me?
      1. Tableau Desktop: Personal
      2. Tableau Desktop: Professional
      3. Tableau Reader
      4. Tableau Public
      5. Tableau Online
      6. Tableau Server
  6. 3. An Introduction to Connecting to Data
    1. An Introduction to Connecting to Data in Tableau
  7. 4. Shaping Data for Use with Tableau
    1. Shaping Data for Use with Tableau
  8. 5. Getting a Lay of the Land
    1. Tableau Terminology
    2. View the Underlying Data
    3. View the Number of Records
  9. 6. Dimension Versus Measure
    1. What Is a Measure?
    2. What Is a Dimension?
  10. 7. Discrete Versus Continuous
  11. 8. Five Ways to Make a Bar Chart/An Introduction to Aggregation
    1. Five Ways to Create a Bar Chart in Tableau
    2. An Introduction to Aggregation in Tableau
  12. 9. Line Graphs, Independent Axes, and Date Hierarchies
    1. How to Make a Line Graph in Tableau
    2. Independent Axes in Tableau
    3. Date Hierarchies in Tableau
  13. 10. Marks Cards, Encoding, and Level of Detail
    1. An Explanation of Level of Detail
    2. An Introduction to Encoding
    3. Label and Tooltip Marks Cards
  14. 11. An Introduction to Filters
    1. Dimension Filters in Tableau
    2. Measure Filters in Tableau
    3. More Options with Filters
      1. Macro Filters
  15. 12. An Introduction to Calculated Fields
    1. Why Use Calculated Fields?
    2. More on Aggregating Calculated Fields
  16. 13. An Introduction to Table Calculations
  17. 14. An Introduction to Parameters
    1. An Introduction to Parameters in Tableau
  18. 15. An Introduction to Sets
    1. How to Create a Set in Tableau
    2. Five Ways to Use Tableau Sets
  19. 16. An Introduction to Level of Detail Expressions
    1. An Introduction to Tableau Level of Detail Expressions
  20. 17. An Introduction to Dashboards and Distribution
    1. An Introduction to Dashboards in Tableau
    2. Distributing Tableau Dashboards
      1. Packaged Workbooks
      2. Tableau Public
      3. Tableau Server/Tableau Online
  21. II. Chart Types
  22. 18. A Spreadsheet Is Not a Data Visualization
    1. A Spreadsheet Is Not a Data Visualization
    2. Are Text Tables or Crosstabs Ever the Best Choice?
  23. 19. How to Make a Highlight Table
    1. How to Make a Highlight Table in Tableau
  24. 20. How to Make a Heat Map
    1. How to Make a Heat Map in Tableau
  25. 21. How to Make a Dual-Axis Combination Chart
    1. How to Make a Dual-Axis Combo Chart in Tableau
    2. Some Additional Thoughts
  26. 22. How to Make a Scatter Plot
    1. How to Make a Scatter Plot in Tableau
  27. 23. How to Make a Tree Map
    1. How to Make a Tree Map in Tableau
  28. 24. How to Make Sparklines
    1. How to Make Sparklines in Tableau
    2. Final Considerations
  29. 25. How to Make Small Multiples
    1. How to Make Small Multiples in Tableau
    2. Final Considerations
  30. 26. How to Make Bullet Graphs
    1. How to Make Bullet Graphs in Tableau
  31. 27. How to Make a Stacked Area Chart
  32. 28. How to Make a Histogram
    1. How to Make a Histogram in Tableau
  33. 29. How to Make a Box-and-Whisker Plot
    1. How to Make a Box-and-Whisker Plot in Tableau
  34. 30. How to Make a Symbol Map with Mapbox Integration
    1. How to Make a Symbol Map in Tableau
    2. How to Add Mapbox Maps
  35. 31. How to Make a Filled Map
    1. How to Make Filled Maps in Tableau
  36. 32. How to Make a Dual-Axis Map
  37. 33. How to Map a Sequential Path
    1. How to Map Paths in Tableau
  38. 34. How to Map Anything in Tableau
    1. Building Custom Background Maps in Tableau
  39. 35. How to Make Custom Polygon Maps
  40. 36. How to Make a Gantt Chart
  41. 37. How to Make a Waterfall Chart
  42. 38. How to Make Dual-Axis Slope Graphs
    1. How to Make Slope Graphs in Tableau
    2. How to Make Dual-Axis Slope Graphs in Tableau
  43. 39. How to Make Donut Charts
    1. How to Make Donut Charts in Tableau
  44. 40. How to Make Funnel Charts
    1. How to Make Funnel Charts in Tableau
      1. Option 1: The Step Dimension
      2. Option 2: Separate Measures
  45. 41. Introducing Pace Charts in Tableau
    1. How to Create a Pace Chart with a Linear Pace in Tableau
  46. 42. How to Make a Pareto Chart
    1. How to Make a Pareto Chart in Tableau
  47. 43. How to Make a Control Chart
    1. How to Make Control Charts in Tableau
  48. 44. How to Make Dynamic Dual-Axis Bump Charts
    1. How to Make Bump Charts in Tableau
  49. 45. How to Make Dumbbell Charts
    1. How to Make Tableau Dumbbell Charts
  50. 46. How and Why to Make Customizable Jitter Plots
  51. III. Tips and Tricks
  52. 47. How to Create Icon-Based Navigation or Filters
    1. How to Make Icon-Based Navigation/Filters in Tableau
  53. 48. How to Make a What-If Analysis Using Parameters
  54. 49. Three Ways to Add Alerts to Your Dashboards
    1. Alert 1: Date Settings
    2. Alert 2: Dynamic Labels
    3. Alert 3: Heat Map Dashboard with Optional Tableau Server Email
  55. 50. How to Add Instructions or Methodology Using Custom Shape Palettes
  56. 51. Ten Tableau Data Visualization Tips I Learned from Google Analytics
    1. Use a Maximum of 12 Dashboard Objects
    2. Improve User Experience by Leveraging Dashboard Actions
    3. Allow End Users to Change the Date Aggregation of Line Graphs
    4. Keep Crosstab Widths to a Maximum of Ten Columns
    5. Use a Vertical Navigation in the Left Column
    6. Choose Five or Fewer Colors for Your Dashboards
    7. Stick Mostly to Lines and Bars
    8. Include Comparisons Such as Year Over Year
    9. Bring Your Data Visualization to Life Using Segmentation
    10. Include Alerts of Exceptional or Poor Performance
  57. 52. Three Alternative Approaches to Pie Charts in Tableau
    1. Tableau Pie Chart Alternative #1: Bar Chart
    2. Tableau Pie Chart Alternative #2: Stacked Bars or Areas
    3. Tableau Pie Chart Alternative #3: My Recommended Approach
  58. 53. How to Create and Compare Segments
    1. This Is Awesome; Please Tell Me Other Ways This Can Be Used!
  59. 54. Five Design Tips for Enhancing Your Tableau Visualizations
    1. Color
    2. Typography
    3. Layout
    4. Usability
    5. Details
  60. 55. Leveraging Color to Improve Your Data Visualization
    1. The Color Wheel: Where It All Begins
    2. The Psychology of Color
    3. Using Custom Color Palettes in Tableau
  61. 56. Three Creative Ways to Use Dashboard Actions
    1. A Primer on Tableau Dashboard Actions
    2. Tableau Dashboard Action #1: Use Every Sheet as a Filter
    3. Tableau Dashboard Action #2: Embed YouTube Videos in a Dashboard
    4. Tableau Dashboard Action #3: Do a Google Search or Google Image Search from a Dashboard
  62. 57. How to Conditionally Format Individual Rows or Columns
    1. How to Use Legends Per Measure
    2. How to Conditionally Format in Tableau Like Excel
    3. The Solution: A Calculated “Placeholder” Field
  63. 58. Five Tips for Creating Efficient Workbooks
    1. Five Tips for Creating Efficient Workbooks in Tableau
      1. Tip #1: Think Strategically About the Data You Absolutely Need
      2. Tip #2: Limit Filters; Use the “Apply” Button
      3. Tip #3: Reduce the Number of Marks
      4. Tip #4: Boolean → Integer → Float → Date → Date Time → String
      5. Tip #5: Reduce Sheets, Dashboards, and Data Sources
  64. 59. Using Level of Detail Expressions to Create Benchmarks
    1. How to Use Tableau Level of Detail (LOD) Expressions to Create Benchmarks
  65. 60. Designing Device-Specific Dashboards
  66. 61. How to Make a Stoplight 100-Point Index
    1. What Is a Stoplight Index?
    2. Why Do I Have to Use the Fancy Approach You’re About to Share?
    3. How to Set Up a 100-Point Index
    4. Adding Color to a 100-Point Index Table
    5. What If Outperforming the Comparison Is Bad?
  67. 62. The Case for One-Dimensional Unit Charts
    1. How to Make One-Dimensional Unit Charts in Tableau
  68. 63. How to Highlight a Dimension
    1. How to Add a Reference Line to a Dimension
  69. 64. Allow Users to Choose Measures and Dimensions
    1. How to Use Parameters to Select a Measure in Tableau
    2. How to Use Parameters to Select a Dimension in Tableau
  70. 65. How to Dynamically Format Numbers
    1. How to Dynamically Format Numbers in Tableau
  71. 66. How to Change Date Aggregation Using Parameters
    1. How to Change Date Aggregation Using Parameters
  72. 67. How to Equalize Year-Over-Year Dates
    1. How to Equalize Year-Over-Year Dates in Tableau
  73. 68. How to Filter Out Partial Time Periods
    1. How to Filter Out Partial Time Periods in Tableau
  74. 69. How to Compare Two Date Ranges on One Axis
    1. How to Compare Any Date Range to the Previous Date Range on the Same Axis in Tableau
  75. 70. How to Compare Unequal Date Ranges on One Axis
  76. 71. How to Make a Cluster Analysis
  77. 72. Five Tips for Making Your Tableau Public Viz Go Viral
    1. Tip #1: Create “Remarkable” Content
    2. Tip #2: Balance Data and Design
    3. Tip #3: Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    4. Tip #4: Network
    5. Tip #5: Use Reddit
  78. 73. Three Ways to Make Beautiful Bar Charts in Tableau
    1. Approach #1: Use Formatting Available in Tableau
    2. Approach #2: Use Axis Rulers to Add a Baseline
    3. Approach #3: Add Caps to Bars
  79. 74. Three Ways to Make Lovely Line Graphs in Tableau
    1. Approach #1: Use Formatting Available in Tableau
    2. Approach #2: Maximize the Data-Ink Ratio
    3. Approach #3: Leverage the Dual-Axis
  80. 75. Three Ways Psychological Schemas Can Improve Your Data Visualization
    1. Schema #1: Spatial Context
    2. Schema #2: Icons/Shapes/Symbols
    3. Schema #3: Color
  81. IV. Framework
  82. 76. Introducing the INSIGHT Framework for Data Visualization
  83. 77. Identify the Business Question
  84. 78. Name KPIs
    1. So How Do You Name the KPIs?
  85. 79. Shape the Data
    1. Shaping Data for Use with Tableau
    2. Joining and Aggregating Data
    3. Laying Out Data for Specific Analyses
    4. Shaping Data for the Iron Viz Example
  86. 80. Initial Concept
    1. Creating an Initial Concept
  87. 81. Gather Feedback
  88. 82. Hone Dashboard
  89. 83. Tell the Story
  90. V. Storytelling
  91. 84. Introduction to Storytelling
  92. 85. A Data Visualization Competition—That’s Also an Analogy for the Data Visualization Process
  93. 86. Tip #1: Know Your Audience
  94. 87. Tip #2: Smooth the Excel Transition
  95. 88. Tip #3: Leverage Color
    1. A Few Benefits of Leveraging Color in Your Data Visualization
    2. Customizing Your Use of Color Is Easy with Tableau
  96. 89. Tip #4: Keep It Simple
  97. 90. Tip #5: Use the Golden Ratio
  98. 91. Tip #6: Retell an Old Story
  99. 92. Tip #7: Don’t Neglect the Setup
  100. 93. Tip #8: Don’t Use Pie Charts
  101. 94. Tip #9: Provide Visual Context
  102. 95. Tip #10: Use Callout Numbers
  103. 96. Tip #11: Allow Discovery
  104. 97. Tip #12: Balance Data and Design
  105. 98. Tip #13: Eliminate Chartjunk (But Not Graphics)
  106. 99. Tip #14: Use Freeform Dashboard Design
  107. 100. Tip 15: Tell a Story
  108. Index