Once you have Tableau desktop activated and running – open any data set. We use the Super Store Subset for our tutorial example and want to visualize the running average of profits.
We like using running averages to smooth out the lines and clearly show what’s happening per Category.
#2 Building a Sparkline chart – Make a line chart.
Usually, we would drag this part of the tutorial out, but if you’ve made it this far, you already know to double-click your measure, change the marks to a line chart, and have a date on the other axis.
#3 Building a Sparkline chart – Build a calculation.
We’ve seen a slew of scary-looking calculations over the years – especially regarding sparklines.
You don’t need anything complex for this portion of the work.
if last()=0 then MEASURE end
//that’s all folks.
You can drag and drop any table calculation you’ve generated into a calculation and be done with it! Here’s what our running average calculation looks like in the screenshot below.
For the sake of the demo, let’s call your sparkline calculation spark.
Drag this next to your measure value – your current line chart in Tableau.
#4 Building a Sparkline chart – Dual axis your measure with your spark calc.
Next, to create the “sparkline in Tableau desktop,” you must add both measure values, dual axis, and synchronized.
Dual axis your measure with your sparkline calculation.
Right-click your measure
And click dual-axis
#5 Building a Sparkline chart – Synchronize axis.
Step 5 – synchronize the axis to ensure your upcoming sparkline chart is on point on your line chart.
If you don’t see your header, right-click on the measure and show the header.
Click on Synchronize Axis, and you will probably see the light now.
#6 Building a Sparkline chart – Hide Indicator.
You’re nearly completely done! There’s an indicator showing your ‘lack of an else’ in your if statement. Avoiding the ELSE is essentially fewer computations for your computer and Tableau. Leaving off else lets us avoid bothering with writing extra code, too.
if last()=0 then MEASURE //ELSE 0 — not necessary end
And because there’s a clear void in the data, the indicator will appear – we didn’t break anything, and the product is working as intended!
Ensuring that even the next data expert won’t find it too daunting.
To excel in quick calculations, it’s essential to identify and address slower ones.
#1 Problem with Slow Tableau Workbooks
Solving slow Tableau workbooks is often a calculation optimization game.
Then the migration of transformations, boolean style calculations for example are easily pushed to SQL because SQL does boolean logic with ease, so why make Tableau do this for you? This is a subtle win and as you continue you’ll find bigger wins in our blog below.
Think of Tableau as a tool you don’t need to over complicate. You can protype, transform, build a data product, and then stress about the “improvements” we discuss below in the near future.
Stressing these tiny details now will slow down your project, and stress out business users. Do it when no one is looking or when someone asks “why is this slow?”
During Tableau Consulting engagements, we see it’s easy to move your slow moving calculations into your database after the prototyping phase, and consider pushing heavily updated calculations to your SQL end the hardening phase that you do at the end. Anyhing being changed often is best to keep in your Tableau Workbook until everyone has completed their apples to apples.
Slowest Tableau Calculations to Fastest Tableau Calculations
if month(date)>=5 then “orange”
elseif month(date)<=4 then “blue”
else “filter out”
// you don’t need to tell an extract to keep track of a lot of strings because it makes everything slower, it makes the extract bigger, and it isn’t going to help complex workbooks or large data sets. it will actually hurt the workbook if they want to ‘FIND these colors’ for later aggregation, which is generally always the case as they advance in their skills. also, this generates a lot of STRING manipulation in aggregation at a later date. Which generates super slow workbooks for no reason.
if month(date)>=5 then “blue”
// else isn’t necessary and 2 strings is slow.
if month(date)>=5 then “blue”
// else converts to NULL vs asking the app to write ORANGE.
A LITTLE FASTER:
(using comments to explain what things need to be)
if month(date)>=5 then 1 //blue
elseif month(date)<=4 then 2 //orange
else 0 //filter out
// this is a step in the right direction, requires a lot less pain in the future because you’re teaching them to use INTEGERS which databases prefer over STRINGS because there’s only 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 choices, where strings have HUNDREDS of choices, and you’re asking the database to effectively work more than necessary and complicating the calculations.
A Faster Tableau Calculation
if month(date)>=5 then 1 //blue
else 0 //orange
// just typing numbers, and commenting out strings would make this scalable for complex workbooks and bigger dataz.
Pretty dang fast.
// boolean flag.
Write fast calculations in Tableau Desktop and grow the community!
Writing fast calculations in Tableau Desktop is important for user adoption. Also, it will help grow the community to become great at native tableau desktop features. Eventually calculations need to be optimized – and this can be very complex in the future if there are hundreds of slow calculations.
Several different sources explain the Tableau definition throughout the internet. Google defines Tableau and also offers a visual representation of the usage of the word in three different formats, really spectacular insights. Google does the best job at not only defining the term but also offering analytics regarding the usage of the word since the 1800s.
a group of models or motionless figures representing a scene from a story or history; a tableau vivant.
What can we take from Google’s Tableau definition and analytics?
Something interesting to notice is even though the products of Tableau have proliferated the usage of the word, it has steadily declined and not seen an increase due to the companies usage of the name. Even though you’d believe it would be spiking because of the usage of the product, rather it’s steadily been in decline since 1980.
Tableau Desktop is freedom from the traditional business intelligence projects, waiting around to get started because the data is not prepared, one data source is not clean enough to use in a report, the data needs further classification to add more value, and then someone says maybe we need to build a “data warehouse” for reporting purposes.
Tableau Desktop is an application that lives on your Windows or Mac computer, it enables the end users to quickly develop data products to change the way they think about viewing, understanding, and slicing their data.
Tableau offers native features that allow anyone to connect to multiple data sources live, you can extract data to your local to speed up the discovery process, and there are an infinite amount of ways to build data stories because Tableau Software listened to their end users and made updates to their product accordingly.
What did they make Tableau desktop?
Building a report turns into a lot of custom development when you’re not utilizing a product like Tableau desktop.
Tableau desktop gives everyone the ability to become a data visualization hero. A gamer changer. Anyone can be the data person who makes data products, which requires no code.
A world before Tableau Desktop.
Building custom connections to database in code is hard if you have never done it before.
Learning to utilize an API to gain data from an unstructured data source is not easy if you’ve never done it before.
Implementing any connection to any relational database can take a lot of time without a tool like Tableau Desktop. Also, Tableau offers the ability to connect to non-acid compliant databases, which enables deeper development capabilities to any technical resource.
Back to our analytics team…
Days go by and no one developed a single dashboard. Why? Because we are waiting for a data warehouse to be developed, the API isn’t deployed yet, and the database for reporting isn’t deployed for your team.
Tableau desktop helps you avoid the waiting for things to magically work within an organization.
Our favorite; “A stored procedure has to be built to kick off a job, a script that does some magic, or some other various term that the DBA or data engineer makes up for fun.”
Zoom into tableau desktop…
Tableau desktop offers the ability to jump into the front-end, the portion of the work that executives, scientists, analysts, managers, and everyone cares about from an analytics point of view.
The front-end is where your end users are experiencing the solutions being developed, deployed, and overall built to help end users see and understand data. Leading us to our ultimate goal of being able to visually gain a competitive edge in your industry, drive optimization, remove expenses, or maybe you didn’t know tables take longer than chairs because of the size of the box in region A. And with Tableau desktop, you can visually see the differences between region A and B.
Back to our Analytics team…
Waiting 6 months for a data architect to model data!?
Lots of waiting for 1 player is considered a waterfall, Tableau natively offers the ability to avoid data project waterfalls because it offers ETL within the desktop application. (I’m not talking about Tableau Prep)
Always waiting starts to throw the entire analytics project out of order, and instead of waiting, an analysts can utilize 6 months to prototype dashboards with end users.
A Business analysts can begin the project immediately and help the data architect define what is relevant in the data model before beginning.
Through hundreds of iterations and changing between different granularities and needs, Tableau offers the ability to instantly start developing these calculations and the ability to prototype solutions has turned into an instant transaction.
Tableau desktop lets you jump in and have fun!
Tableau desktop is a fun product and once you get a Tableau champion in your environment, end users will begin using dashboards, user experiences will be formed, new ideas of how to slice data, and different ways to find the competitive edge in your industry.
Tableau desktop is easy to jump into, ad-hoc is knocks down the walls of most data problems, it automates writing amazing SQL behind the scenes, and used by most businesses around the globe.
Tableau desktop is a great way to begin asking questions of your data without needing to wait for “preparedness” of an IT organization, a business analyst with no Tableau training can become data masters in their work environment.
The go-to tool BI software for ad-hoc data geek-out sessions and building right visual data stories takes minutes.
We offer advanced content on the Tableau Community too. For the nerds who scroll fast, check out these advanced pieces.
Installing Tableau Desktop is also straightforward and quick.
If you are having trouble with the installation process, use our quick tutorial and learn how to Install Tableau Desktop on your computer right now!
Use Tableau Desktop Offline?
Extract your data!
You can extract data your data and host it on your local computer.
The extract lives on your computer; it’s faster than connecting live to the data source, which means it takes advantage of your computer’s hardware.
Wait, So you’re saying I can use Tableau Desktop without the Internet?
Once you’ve extracted your data, you’re free to move around the cabin.
Yes, Tableau Desktop, used without being online.
When you’re connected to an extract or source on your computer, without a connection to the database (unless you install MySQL on your Mac), you can freely go to the coffee shop, or get on an airplane and work 100% offline.
No Vpn, no database connection, just plug and play with the extract offline. Brilliant!
While you’re offline, you can use this extracted data to build visualizations that will help you see and understand your data.
When you’re connected to the internet – you have direct access to every happening database!
This BI software helps users quickly generate interactive visualizations and dashboards.
Tableau Desktop makes a Tableau Data Extract?
A Tableau Data Extract generates from most data sources with Tableau Desktop; it lets you take data offline and use your computer’s hardware VS a live connection to a database.
The extract process generates a file called .tde or Tableau Data Extract. This Extract can live on your machine, it’s 80-90% smaller and faster in most cases, and can be published to Tableau Server to be consumed by end users on the web.
For the fastest usage of Tableau, extract the data to your computer, and enjoy!
SQL allows you to do anything with Tableau Desktop outside of the usual.
If you’re coming into Desktop with a background in SQL, you’re in luck. Tableau Desktop and SQL means anything is now possible – and if you’re not awesome at SQL – have no fear!
Tableau software developers built every possible thing you will need, and it’s only a couple of clicks away.
The desktop is packed with user-friendly clicks, which offer everyone advanced analysis calculations. AKA Table Calculations.
Is Tableau Desktop like Excel?
If you’ve made a living building content in Excel and now tasked with ramping up in Tableau Desktop, that’s great news for you. Almost every Tableau Desktop calculation resembles the same usage and functionality as an Excel calculation.
Except, Tableau Desktop offers the data integrity of the data source passing you the data, versus Excel, which has an information governance strategy that goes as far as your fingers tips, per cell.
Learn Tableau Desktop File.
Tableau Desktop comes in two file types, a TWBX, and a TWB. The X contains data, and the TWB does not. TWB is a live connection, where the TWBX contains the data with the workbook.
They built this product ready to build visualizations, and tell stories.
Within minutes you’re making impactful dashboards with global filters, connected to any data source, creating meaningful visualizations, and telling stories with your data.Desktop offers instant drag and drop access to a live SQL generation and comes stacked with front-end ETL possibilities with cross-database joins. What I’m trying to say is Tableau Desktop comes with a heavy punch in a small package.
Desktop is an Advanced Tool and Easy to Use
Desktop offers instant drag and drop access to a live SQL generator and comes stacked with front-end ETL. What I’m trying to say is Tableau Desktop comes with a heavy punch in a small package.
A product that allows any modern day Yoda or office Smart-Guy, a platform to shine on.
Tableau Desktop is an Analytical Magical Wand.
When building business intelligence insights, we always lean towards Tableau as the front-end if pricing matches customer needs.
Nothing compares to the speed and agility of the product.
You’re able to cast magic spells at sample data, which can then tell your database administrator how to build the data. We love how this turns the usual business intelligence project upside down.
Tableau Desktop says, ‘Let’s make the insights now!’
If you’re a bit nerdy like us, Tableau Desktop is an excellent way to geek out.
First Time Tableau Desktop User?
If you’ve never used Tableau Desktop before, you will quickly learn they have a suite of data related products. Tableau Desktop is the product that goes on a PC or Mac. It’s where the rubber meets the road.
What does Tableau Desktop do?
Tableau Desktop builds visualizations and paints stories with your data. It’s easy to use and exciting for users to have access to advanced analytics without the usual burden. You do not need to be a programmer to use Tableau Desktop.
Tableau Desktop Inputs and Outputs.
Data is your input, and you will be able to connect data across nearly every data source. Storytelling, visualizations, and data analysis will be your output.
Determining your data story is best with the business. Business users are the ones with the logic! Business users the reason for the data to be there in most cases and know why it’s there and what it means.
Then the business relies on IT to facilitate analysis across the organization. Tableau desktop catapults any skill level used to generate massive stories with data is critical and revealing how you progressed from point A to point B is equally important. Tableau carries native storytelling features that allow end-users to explain their journey and how they got there.
What is ETL and can you do it with Tableau Desktop?
Yes, Tableau Desktop does ETL in Tableau Desktop. That’s what I call Front-end ETL.
Where the solution resides in the visualization product.
Extract Transform and Load. You extract the data from a source, you transform the data, and last but not least, you load the data into a target database.
Now you know about ETL, let’s discuss! Try to avoid ETL fixes in Tableau Desktop. Although it can do it, it’s not designed to clean data. Tableau Desktop is designed to visualize data.
Tableau desktop carries front-end ETL, and this means companies can now remove old data warehouse licenses and save hundreds of thousands of dollars because of a front end dashboarding tool! Talk about powerful!
ETL in Tableau Desktop – Developed for the Basic and Advanced User
Tableau Desktop – over the past 3-4 years – has made a point to improve all of the ‘major requested’ ideas coming from their community-driven forms.
So, this technique does away with software licenses that cost 100k+. Knowing simple SQL allows you to build your data warehouse, in the product, with cross-database joins, and you can get rid of your old ETL tool.
Start Tableau Desktop
What are the minimum requirements to using Tableau Desktop on my computer?
Tableau Desktop Specs on Windows
Windows 7 + (32-bit or 64-bit)
Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron processor or newer
2 GB memory
1.5 GB minimum free disk space
1366 by 768 screen resolution or higher
Tableau Desktop Specs on Mac
Tableau Desktop on Mac requires 10.10! That means if you’re on 10.9, you will need to upgrade to take advantage of Tableau Desktop 10+.
iMac/MacBook computers 2009 or newer
OSX 10.10 or newer
1.5 GB minimum free disk space
1366 by 768 screen resolution or higher
How do I download Tableau Desktop on my computer or Mac?
This is an excellent opportunity to introduce you to the online help. Follow these instructions and begin your trial.
Begin your Tableau desktop download. Then install tableau desktop.
Tableau Desktop – Professional or Personal? Tableau built a mini connection version and a full data connection version. An examination will quickly explain which work best or follow along below.
Use Tableau Desktop Light or Full? Tableau has released a secondary Tableau Desktop for users who don’t need the full swing of Tableau Desktop. You still get the entire product capabilities, and you only lose some connection capabilities to more enterprise-level data sources.
What’s the difference between Tableau Desktop Professional or personal? (LEGACY)
This is no longer a part of the sales or subscription! Keeping here for archive purposes.
Personal – Tableau’s front end – light version.
Professional – Tableau’s front end – full version.
Under the hood, Tableau Desktop is XML
Tableau Desktop is completely XML and with easy to understand folder structures packaged in a TWBX file. You can turn a TWBX to a .zip file, now you have access to the XML in the directory, the data, and images.
Tableau Server is the stomping ground for Tableau Desktop Dashboards! Also, welcome to the fastest growing business intelligence tool ever.
Tableau Server has very natural user functionality and security measures for any enterprise setup. We have experience implementing 80+ tableau servers and these are 1 week engagements, onsite, helping customers like Kroger, Boston Scientific, and many more. For more info ping our Tableau Consulting page.
Tableau Server is where end users come to consume reports, dashboards, administrate over metadata usage, and conduct data discovery.
Tableau Server is an application developed by Tableau Software. Tableau Server is self-service analytics at scale.
Share Tableau Desktop Dashboards on Tableau Server
If you need to share Tableau visualizations, with company data, across your corporation, Tableau Server is a great option. Tableau workbooks shared between desktop licenses, Tableau Reader, on Tableau Public, Tableau Online, and Tableau Server.
If you need to share Tableau visualizations, with company data, across your corporation, Tableau Server is a great option. Tableau workbooks can be shared between Tableau Desktop licenses, Tableau Reader, on Tableau Public, Tableau Online, and Tableau Server.
Tableau Server keeps your proprietary data behind whatever firewall you want or need; Tableau Online is a cheaper alternative that is hosted by Tableau Software. Tableau Public is a public space to share content, and we recommend not posting your company data on Tableau Public.
Last but not least, Tableau Reader can consume a TWBX workbook. It’s a free means of consuming packaged workbooks. Some companies use Tableau Reader as a free workaround to Tableau Server or Online.
Install Tableau Server Internally or Externally?
VPS and Cloud servers will always be a slower options VS Dedicated hardware. A dedicated machine can be a costly expense and also not as easy to scale more hardware on the computer. A double edged blade, choose wisely!
Tableau Server on a Third-party host?
Tableau server can be Installed internally or with hosting company.
If you don’t have a tech team, owning Tableau Server may be difficult. Tableau server is the option when you need to keep your install in-house or on a flexible deployment like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform.
Can Tableau Server be used as a Data source?
Tableau Data Source, aka TDS, can be used as a data source. A major data governance buff to all database admins. A TDS is a viable replacement for database credentials if you’re ever concerned about any users locking up the database with corrupt queries.
Tableau Server is your Safe Place in Business Intelligence
Tableau Server is a safe place to share Tableau Dashboards, and Tableau Server can be used as a data source! Tableau Server as a data source leads to an interesting topic and great workaround for IT teams.
Server is the safe space for end users to consume approved data sources, without the need to put the end user in a development environment and give them database access, Tableau cut through the usual processes.
Tableau Server as a data source removes the need to give anyone database access; you can schedule refreshes at an appropriate time and give users access to the Tableau Server layer versus the database layer.
How Does Tableau Server Generate Less Support?
Tableau Server as a data source also removes support for end users running rogue queries.
A rogue query is built by anyone who doesn’t understand the database outage schedule. They run a query that will never end and lock up the data source. The rogue query runs during lunch or while they go home. Everyone comes back to work and turns out none of the database jobs worked, and everything is out of sync. What happened?
Less Data Downtime with Tableau Server
Your information technology team can plug this in, and hand it off to the business quickly. Everything is documented online, and if you follow all the steps everything will work! If it doesn’t work, contact the support, and they will help you out quickly and efficiently.
Less Downtime in Business Intelligence?
Less downtime would be great and a challenging business intelligence platform that requires countless hours of training is not beneficial to a fast paced company. Well, this is again where Tableau shines because Tableau Server is an easy GUI platform and you don’t need to be a developer to use it.
Tableau server is revolutionary because it’s not hard to use. Let your IT support the hardware and let the business support Tableau Server. TS now puts the company in action mode. And users can jump in and make instant traction on projects without the usual slow wheel of the IT teams.
Tableau server admins now work harmoniously with end users on a simple web portal. Now, on the front end, just plugging into the web portal, with a user experience easier than any business intelligence product software alive.
Tableau Server is Easy to Install. If you aren’t dealing with a fake team…
Tableau Server is a simple .exe, a few clicks, and installs in a few minutes if you’re passing minimum requirements. Because it’s simple, anyone is taking clients with fake teams!
Do you want to know who is fake? Contact us and we will show you on video chat!
Fake companies onshore and offshore are now pretending to take on clients, but the truth is they outsource their work and clients are starting to complain to us a lot about this new addition of fake firms.
Be on the lookout for blogs that do not explain impacts as we do below. Hundreds if not thousands are using spam metrics to inflate their rank but they are all offshore faking onshore teams. We’ve found several in the top 10 ranking across every top searches on Google.
Our opinion on business intelligence.
If any SAP architect, consultancy, or company ever sat down and did a single hour of making a change in the actual software. Then asked me to do it in Tableau – they would understand why I’ve made a living doing simple solutions in a beautiful product.
Instead of a six-month project to build a single data warehouse, we can generate powerful reporting suites in hours, and because of that I went and worked at the company immediately.
Why Tableau Server?
Tableau Server is a great business intelligence win if you want to avoid unnecessary technology solutions that constantly require support and remediation. And better yet, it allows for front end data warehousing and the expensive ETL suites are typically never necessary.
Installing Tableau Server the First Time
Okay, before you buy it, just test it out. Get IT involved, get networking involved, get database guru involved, and get the administrators taking over the install involved!
All failed projects surrounding the basics fail due to poor project management skills and lack of communication to the important parties.
Check with your IT team to determine if your environment can support it. Check with your local data guru to see if they can determine the connectivity between the data source, Tableau desktop, and Tableau server.
Things to consider before installing Tableau Server.
Let’s start with the first step. Do not rush into the setup clicking next-next-next. I’ve had to reinstall a lot of these after consultants and clients rushed through this process. There are a couple of things to consider before beginning.
Can Tableau Server be Installed on the same machine as the Database?
Tableau Server should not be competing for resources with a Database on the same computer. TS with the Database on the same computer is not a good practice.
Where Can I Install Tableau Server?
Install Tableau Server on the D drive and not the C drive.
Tableau Server native install suggests you install it under program files. Do not do that and always avoid installing software on the same drive as your operating system.
If you installed it on the C drive, it also installs content under the program data directory. /Program Data/ is a hidden directory. If you ever do a reinstall and want to put it on the D drive. Be sure to remove that drive.