Tableau Tip: Add Comments to your Calculations

Recently I inherited a workbook that was a joy to work with – why, you ask? The developer added comments to each calculation, thereby providing explanations to the nuances for each metric.  What a gift!  For today’s Tableau Tip, I will show you three different ways to leverage this technique.

Option 1

In the calculation editor dialog box, add comments by starting the line with two forward slashes, as depicted in this screenshot:

Option 2

The second method is a slight modification of Option 1 and works beautifully when the comment is long & detailed.  Simply begin the comment with one forward slash and an asterisk and complete the comment with an asterisk and a forward slash.

Option 3

The third option involves one more step but allows you to view the comments without opening the calculation editor dialog box. To follow this method, click on the calculation in the data pane and utilizing the drop-down menu, select Default Properties, Comment. This opens a dialog box where you can add your comments. Best to keep it brief, as these comments will appear when you hover over the calculated field in the data pane.

Voilà! Three easy ways to add notes to help yourself and others when revisions to a workbook are needed (as they often-times are!)

Happy Vizzing, folks!

The Value of White Space

I love adding white space or “empty space” to a dashboard. It’s like having a desk that is clean & uncluttered instead of covered in stacks of papers and knick-knacks – it’s peaceful and makes a dashboard feel more “approachable”. It is an under-rated technique that deserves the spotlight.

The September #EduVizzers Challenge on Book Bans was the perfect opportunity to play with this technique, AND the fact that Iron Quest’s White Space Challenge was happening concurrently made the timing ideal. During my development process, I identified 5 distinct metrics that deserved equal attention.  Rather than combining all 5 bar charts in one view, I utilized parameter actions and dynamic zone visibility to allow the end-user to view each chart one at-a-time.  This gave each visual a dedicated space and breathing room to let each metric make a statement.  I know what you’re thinking — in the real world we don’t always have the luxury of showing one chart at a time. Often the visuals need to be side-by-side to assess the metrics in tandem.  In those instances, you can increase the padding around each object.  This is a more subtle way to add white space and one of my default formatting techniques. Outer Padding adds space between two dashboard objects while Inner Padding adds space inside the object’s wireframe. Here’s a screenshot with exaggerated padding to illustrate the difference:

And if you’re curious about school book bans in the US, here’s a viz for you:

Happy Vizzing, and happy white-spacing!

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