Further Tableau Tricks

1 September 2021
1 Sep 2021
2 min read

I have recently published several Tableau dashboards, which has me relearning many of Tableau’s foibles since I frequently used it in 2015. Some tips for the future:

  • One problem with a relative date picker (where you can pick both sides) is that both the start date and end date are fixed, even when new data comes in. This means that the end-user has to change the date whenever they launch a dashboard to show the most recent date. One fix with this is to use a date filter that has the ending date stuck.
  • Tableau still defaults to gray text (oddly), so it’s still worth changing it all to black to improve readability.
  • Similarly, it’s worth increasing the default font size to 10.
  • Tableau’s documentation is terrific and has many solved problems. Worth Googling any issues you might encounter (i.e., how to do a rolling average.)
  • When publishing a dashboard, two settings to check are to embed credentials into the dashboard instead of prompting the user to fill in their own. The second is to make sure you’re only publishing the dashboards without including the sheets.
  • Tableau has a hard time with comparable time periods such as Week to Date (WTD), Month to Date (MTD), and (YTD). I’ve been calculating these manually in SQL and porting them over, but it’s still not easy.

Overall, Tableau has been great to work with, especially with Google BigQuery. I’ll work to keep noting any gotchas in this document here.

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