Tableau Tip: Hide the Subtotals

Today’s Tableau Tip comes via WorkoutWednesday – my go-to resource for keeping my Tableau skills topnotch. Without fail, each WOW challenge uncovers a tip or trick, and often there is a practical use-case for those tricks in my daily work.   WOW 2023 Week 39 is the perfect example.  Read on to find out more!

Tables are requested frequently on business dashboards, so I’m always looking for fresh design & format ideas to present the rows of data in a clutter-free way.   In the WOW challenge from Week 39, the requirements called for a column showing $ of sales per subcategory & region with subtotals, and the % of sales by subcategory & region without sub-totals.  Brilliant!  The % subtotal will always be 100%,  so no need to show it every time.  With a little investigating, I found the option to “hide” the subtotals for a single measure in the drop-down menu on the green pill. This allows the subtotal to show for the first measure, and a blank cell to be shown for the second measure.  Here’s a screenshot to illustrate:

The end result is a clean, clutter-free table, with plenty of whitespace to help direct the eye to the numbers of significance.

The tip I’ve outlined in this post is just one of many gems in Week 39’s Challenge. To check out the full solution, see my Tableau Public viz. Shoutout to the WOW Team for continuing to deliver relevant challenges – the #datafam appreciates you!

Happy Vizzing, folks!

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!

Community Wednesday: A sneak peek into one of our best practices at DataBrains

A quick glance at my calendar reveals a recurring meeting every week named Community Wednesday.  Yes, it’s another zoom call, but it truly stands apart from the rest. 

Originally designed to help grow the skillset of our emerging talent, it has evolved into one of our best practices.  It is a dedicated hour each week for the Tableau Developers at DataBrains to come together to share projects, troubleshoot technical issues, collaborate, brainstorm, and upskill. Sounds like a lot in an hour, doesn’t it? As Brainiacs, the conversation & exchange of ideas moves quickly, making it a fun, fast-paced meeting.

Each week the topic of conversation will vary – some weeks a Brainiac will share a work-in-progress, other weeks we will solve challenges from the wider Tableau Community, namely WorkoutWednesday, Back2VizBasics, and Preppin’ Data.  

Both experienced & emerging talent participate, which allows for the transfer of knowledge in a supportive and collaborative environment. The weekly cadence keeps the discussion relevant, timely, and in sync with client deliverables.  Last but not least of all, it fosters a sense of community among teammates, which Tableau recognizes in the Tableau Blueprint as a core component of successful data-driven organizations.  

I hope this inspires your organization to establish your own best practice to engage & support your Tableau Developers in a collaborative way.  Let your imagination lead the way — how does “New Tip Tuesday” or “Lunch & Learn Fridays” sound?

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