10 Great Tableau Tips - dummies

By Molly Monsey, Paul Sochan

Here are some tips to help you get the most from Tableau. These are some ideas that you’ll want to remember when you are making your data visualizations.

Don’t wait for your source data to be perfect

Tableau can even help you to discover where you have dirty data. You can use Tableau to understand your data issues quickly, and then make the necessary changes to your underlying data when you have more time or resources.

Reuse data connections

When connecting to data, there is a method that allows you to use a connection from another workbook. Choose the Other Files option from the Connect pane, and then select the workbook with the data source that you would like to use in the new workbook. If you use Tableau Server or Tableau Online, you have even more scalable and secure options for sharing data connections!

When in doubt, right-click

You can find so many options in menus that Tableau opens as needed — try right-clicking and exploring.

The undo button is your friend

If you ever get yourself into a tight spot, Tableau’s unlimited Undo feature will help get you to a place of peace. So don’t be afraid to play with options in Tableau. The Undo button is always just a click away!

Pay attention to visual cues

Tableau provides indicators to help as you conduct your analysis. For example, the Sort icons on dimensions and axes or “=“ signs next to calculated fields in your Data pane.

Leverage your previous work

Not only can you copy worksheets from one workbook to another, but you can also copy whole dashboards between workbooks! Simply right-click on the tab of the worksheet or dashboard you want to copy and select Copy Worksheet from the menu that appears. Then right-click over the tab area of your destination workbook and select Paste Worksheet.

Visual best practices are worth learning

Designing for yourself is great, but take a step back and ask yourself “Would this view make sense to anyone other than me?” There’s tons of great information on visual best practices available at Tableau’s Visual Best Practice Guidebook.

Test for performance

When you’re considering sharing your work, double-check the speed and ease of interactivity you have designed. Even if the insight is worth the wait, slow dashboards are not fun for busy users. Search Tableau’s white papers for information on improving workbook performance.

Keep it simple

It’s easy to get excited and overcomplicate your analysis with complex views and intricate details that can confuse your message. Your work should answer a question or two — but not every question that needs an answer.

Save early and often

But you knew that!