The Data School Blog

TOTAL( ) vs WINDOW_SUM( )

TOTAL( ) vs WINDOW_SUM( )

In our client project this week, the dashboards we were looking at had some calculations containing the TOTAL( ) function. It left me wondering, what’s the difference between TOTAL( ) and WINDOW_SUM( )?

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Moving Sum comparison – YoY % difference by month

Moving Sum comparison – YoY % difference by month

During my last project I was asked to create a moving 12 months sum of revenue for each month and then compare the sum to the moving 12m sum of the same month one year earlier for each of the displayed last 12 months and display a % change between those values. The...

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How to create a Sankey chart.

How to create a Sankey chart.

While Sankey charts may seem daunting at first, they’re a great way to show a change of flow between more than one category or condition. For this example we’re looking at how the sum of sales changes between Regions and Categories in the Tableau Superstore data.

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Using the Show/Hide container button as a way to prompt users for additional data

Show/Hide container buttons within dashboards help to declutter the view and make it easier to understand the data. But sometimes, it is not always clear to the user that they can click the show/hide button to view more hidden data. There are many ways to resolve this but I wanted to share an idea that I think may prompt the user in a more understandable way.

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Outer and Inner Padding in Tableau Dashboards

When you start creating dashboards in Tableau, you may find yourself experimenting with the different options in the 'Layout' tab. Padding is a great way to create space between different elements in your dashboard. It can make your dashboard look less cluttered and...

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How to swap dimension order without changing the sort

The order that Dimensions are placed in columns or rows will affect how the view is sorted In the view below we have two dimensions, a player name column and a calculation column that indicates whether each player did better in their last season compared to the one...

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Spark interest with a sparkline.

Spark interest with a sparkline.

Sparklines are a tiny chart, usually drawn without axes, that enables you to quickly compare trends over given values. I’ve found they’re a great way to compare trends in values over time. You might use a sparkline to compare seasonal increases or decreases, stock market values or to highlight the maximum (or minimum) values.

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Pareto Analysis Curve with reference lines

Pareto Analysis is used in business to compare the impact of one variable on another variable. It is based on the 80/20 rule – often businesses will find that 80% of an output variable comes from 20% of an input variable. In a positive sense, a company might be able...

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Dynamic Date Level

Dynamic Date Level

Did you know you can let the user choose the date level in Tableau dashboards? I didn’t til yesterday, and it is now top of my list of cool Tableau features (I also didn’t have one of those til yesterday).

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How context filters affect calculations

I first came across context filters while looking at how to optimise the performance of my very first dashboard. I added some filters to context, didn't immediately notice any difference in performance and then took them off again without a second thought. Unbeknownst...

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How to get States to appear on your map

When I first downloaded Tableau, I started double-clicking around the page to try to figure out what was what. I was drawn to it immediately, but later I realised how limited I would be without some extra help from blog posts and videos. Even then though, there was...

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Filter order of operations for Tableau.

Filter order of operations for Tableau.

During the DS20s first ‘Tableau Fundamentals’ lesson today, we were introduced to the idea of having multiple filters in one sheet. The questions on everyone’s mind: “What order will the filters happen in?” and “Can we change which order the filters happen in?”. The answer to these questions lies in the Order of Operations.

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Tableau server REST API calls monitoring part 1

Tableau server REST API calls monitoring part 1

During my recent client assignment, I was asked to develop a dashboard for monitoring REST API calls on server. Admins wanted to make sure that the person that was permitted access via REST API was only doing what was included in the project scope - in this case...

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Week 1 Round-up

Week 1 Round-up

The first week of DS20 may have been delayed, may have started remotely but it was hands-on from day one. Find out what we got up to and some of what I learned along the way.

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DS20: Locked Down But Starting Up

DS20: Locked Down But Starting Up

With the country having ground to a halt and the creeping summer heat intensifying the lockdown malaise, starting the twentieth cohort of The Data School was a breath of fresh air.

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Using Parameters as Filters

Using Parameters as Filters

Last week I built a dashboard which included a worksheet that was operated by a parameter. I also wanted to use a filter on other worksheets included on the dashboard to allow the user more flexibility when analyzing the data. Both my parameter and the filter were...

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How to create Step Area Charts in Tableau?

How to create Step Area Charts in Tableau?

A step area chart tells you the increase and decrease of sales compared to the previous months. For each month, the step line connects the previous sales with the current. Step 1: You need a calculated field for the sum of sales of the current month Step 2: You need a...

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How to document in Tableau: Three top tips

How to document in Tableau: Three top tips

In this post I’ll describe three documentation tips I wish I would have known earlier when using Tableau. They are; Leaving comments in calculated fieldsLeaving comments on dimensions or measuresAdding a caption pane at the bottom of the page During the Data School...

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Formatting a Drill-Down Chart

Formatting a Drill-Down Chart

Following on from my previous blog on how to create a drill-down chart using set actions, this blog will show some ways to format the chart to make it more attractive and intuitive. When you have created a set it functions as a Boolean field which returns ‘In’ or...

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Creating Drill-Down Charts using Set Actions

Creating Drill-Down Charts using Set Actions

This is possibly my favorite thing to do create in Tableau. I really like these charts as they give a clear overview at first glance and then allow you to dig deeper into a category to get more info. I created a drill down bar chart for this week’s makeover Monday...

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Alteryx Tool – Make Columns

Alteryx Tool – Make Columns

We did predictive tools in training today with Gwilym and Bene. Instead of pivoting and joining the table we attached a Make Columns tool after the K Nearest Neighbours analysis to tidy up the data. The tool takes rows of data and arranges them into multiple columns....

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Using a Parameter in Conjunction with a Filter

Using a Parameter in Conjunction with a Filter

DS19's penultimate project saw us working with data from the National Student Survey. My team were tasked with creating a dashboard which allowed the user to compare the results of the NSS between universities. The Aim I wanted to create an interactive chart which...

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How to create a Tree Plot in Tableau

How to create a Tree Plot in Tableau

A few weeks ago I had to do Workout Wednesday Week 6 from 2019 as a Friday project. When I checked it out, I was excited, it looks quite pretty but I had never heard of a “tree plot” before. I had to figure it out in time for the evening presentation. In this blog I...

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Makeover Monday Week 19 2020

Makeover Monday Week 19 2020

Today we were given one hour to complete a Makeover Monday during training. This involves critiquing a visualization and re-building it with the same data. This week, I decided to document my thought process and highlight the steps I went through the project. ...

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Joining two “non perfectly matching” data sets

Last week, DS19 worked on a client project regarding National Student Service and university rankings. Part of what I had to do I had done it a few weeks ago for another client project. This time however, the data is public and therefore I can share my experience more...

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How to Dynamically Resize Fonts in Tableau

How to Dynamically Resize Fonts in Tableau

In this tutorial I will go over a quick calculation I made last week that dynamically sizes words based on rankings. I wanted to do this so that the top performing states would really stand out on the dashboard. The issue is that if you change font in tableau all of...

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Creating a Radial Bar Chart In Tableau

Creating a Radial Bar Chart In Tableau

In this tutorial I will be going over how to make a radial bar chart. This chart type is very visually appealing and whilst it may not be the best way of clearly displaying the data, it will get people looking at the chart. Introduction I found out about this...

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Exploring the ‘show only relevant values’ option

Exploring the ‘show only relevant values’ option

The problem: We were working on National Student Survey data last week, most of us had filters for ‘University Group’, ‘University Name’, and ‘Subject’. The Subject filter has a very long list, the users could get confused if they were to click on one of those courses...

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Looking back on Dashboard Week

Looking back on Dashboard Week

Looking back on dashboard week, there’s definitely some things I’d go back and do differently, but I’m glad this is the case, because it means I’m making mistakes and learning. I’ve tried to whittle it down to the top three things I’ve learnt from dashboard week,...

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Dashboard Week: Day 5

Dashboard Week: Day 5

I didn’t publish a blog for the final day of dashboard week, which I think is because as soon as I finished my presentation on the last day, I felt like the week was complete and I mentally checked out. However, in the future its likely I’ll look back on these blogs,...

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Top Tips for Virtual Training

Top Tips for Virtual Training

I started training with The Data School in February 2020 as part of DS19. After 6 weeks of training we unfortunately had to start working from home due to Covid-19. We have now just finished our 14th week of training (8th week of being at home) and so we have been...

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Attaching the “st” to 1st in Tableau

Attaching the “st” to 1st in Tableau

Ordinal suffixes like the ‘st’ bit of 1st aren’t automatically attached in tableau. This can be quite annoying for formatting and can sometimes make dashboards a bit ugly. Luckily with the help of some logic in a calculation we can automatically attach the correct...

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The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 5

The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 5

9:06 the data is up, Andy’s gone full ‘Murica on us and we’re looking at the FREEDOM of information act. Hopefully it will be interesting, from the blog it looks like there’s a lot of data prep involved. 10:02 Another slow start today, but no matter, I’ve had a pretty...

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Time management for beginners

Time management for beginners

Expert procrastinator? Tired of wasting time?  Last minute- Leonidas?  I (ahem) may have been some of these things am sometimes (ahem) these things. Because I don't have the time for this (excuse the pun), I really want to improve my time management...

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Dashboard Week Day 4

Dashboard Week Day 4

I’m nearing the end of Dashboard Week at the Data School. For those who don’t know what this is; it's an intense week with daily project which needs to be ready to present by 3.30pm. During this week time NEEDS to be managed properly.  After a couple days producing...

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Dashboard Week: Day 4

Dashboard Week: Day 4

For today’s challenge we were required to create a dashboard that visualized the findings of a research paper. The paper looked at the huge decline of insect abundance over the past 20 years. It was a relief that there were no surprises with regard to the challenge or...

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The ramblings of a madman – day 4

The ramblings of a madman – day 4

9:18 the data is up and today we’re looking at a scientific study that looks into the decline of bug populations based on how many/few hit cars number plates. Andy has said that to get our heads around the data (there is not very much of it) we should first read the...

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Dashboard Week – Project Four

Dashboard Week – Project Four

Today was a better day for me - yay! I was stuck in a bit of a self-hate cycle yesterday. I have always had a habit of comparing myself to others in various aspects of my life, and unfortunately this has followed me into the world of work. It doesn’t help that I am...

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Dashboard Week: Day 3

Dashboard Week: Day 3

Looking back at today, I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. The requirements were to make a KPI dashboard in both Power BI and Tableau. Andy mentioned that the data prep would be minimal today, which was a relief as I think I was still scarred from yesterday’s...

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Dashboard Week – Day 3

Dashboard Week – Day 3

Today Andy promised the data would be easy and that minimal prep would be required. What we were not told was that we would have to experiment and create a dashboard on Power BI for the first time! Data Preparation The data for today was about long term productivity,...

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Dashboard Week – Project 3

Dashboard Week – Project 3

Today the dataset was much more accessible and required only a little bit of Alteryx intervention. The catch with today’s project is that we have to create a dashboard both in Tableau and in PowerBI. We just had to transpose 6 excel sheets and then join them all...

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The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 3

The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 3

9:05 data is up, we have to make 2 dashboards today, one in Power BI and one in tableau, feeling very traitorous already. The team is already badmouthing Power BI saying that it looks ugly, I’m going to try and go in with a fairly neutral mindset. The data requires...

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Approaching New Data, Step 1: Ignore It

Approaching New Data, Step 1: Ignore It

So dashboard week has finally arrived, and with it has come an onslaught of unfamiliar data and five tight deadlines. As both of these things are a) common, and b) horrible, a framework was very much needed. I've been following the recommendations that Andy gave me,...

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How to create a compass map in Tableau

How to create a compass map in Tableau

In this post I'll be covering how to make a compass map. I've attached a link to a downloadable workbook at the bottom and have included all calculations throughout the blog. So lets begin with some context, It’s day 2 of dashboard week and we were tasked to look at...

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Dashboard Week: Day 2

Dashboard Week: Day 2

Well, that was stressful. Most of today was spent struggling with working out how to get the data ready for Tableau. I think I only opened Tableau at about 13:30 once I had data to work with, leaving me with two hours to create a dashboard. THE DATA Today we were...

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Dashboard Week – Day 2

Dashboard Week – Day 2

Day 2 done! Today was not easy … The task sounded interesting though! The SFO Museum has been updating information of each flight going in and out of San Francisco Airport over the years. The goal was to use this data to create a KPI dashboard and the only requirement...

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The Ramblings of a madman – Day 2

The Ramblings of a madman – Day 2

Day 2 of dashboard week is upon us... 9:05 The files were up very early today but I’ve only just gotten to see them, looking at flights data. The data looks much more confusing than yesterday and also much bigger. The issue is going to be finding the data that I want...

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Dashboard Week: Day 1

Dashboard Week: Day 1

The first day of dashboard week is over and what a perfect time to write my first (long overdue) blog post. I’ll try to go through my thoughts/struggles throughout the day. So, I join the call with the rest of my cohort to see that the first day’s challenge has...

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Dashboard Week – Day 1

Dashboard Week – Day 1

Today, Dashboard Week has started! The way everyone puts it, it might not be a fun one… Data Download and Preparation Andy has posted our challenge for today just over 10 minutes before 9 and apparently it should be a relatively “easy” one. The topic: agencies using...

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Dashboard Week Day 1

Dashboard Week Day 1

Hello there! Welcome to my first dashboard week blog. By 8.50am. We received the data. It’s about drones. Here’s the link to the source.The Center for the Study of the Drone. https://dronecenter.bard.edu/ By 10.15 The data cleaning was done; Here’s what the workflow...

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Comparing Two or Three Categories in Tableau

Comparing Two or Three Categories in Tableau

I quite like this chart type we did with Andy, he calls it ‘Peas in a Pod’. I like the way it looks, and it works very effectively when comparing between categories, eg. Gender, Party, etc. Step1: Put Dimensions and Measures on Columns and Rows, Category on Colour...

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The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 1

The Ramblings of a Madman – Day 1

8:58 got into my working spot, the data is already up. 9:07 fallen at the first hurdle, the data is in a KML file and I can’t figure out how to download it and get it into tableau/alteryx, this may require some googling. 9:35 finally figured out how to get it into...

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Dashboard Week – Project One

Dashboard Week – Project One

First day of Dashboard Week - ahhhh! The data for today was about drone usage across the United States. The first challenge of the day was exporting data from a google map as a KML and then importing into Alteryx. 09:35: finally got some sort of data into Alteryx –...

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