All reports and dashboards use visualisation to represent and communicate perspectives or views of data. Tableau visualisations are directly connected to the underlying data sources so they will update if the data source is refreshed (or kept as a live connection). In dashboards, visualisations can be pinned into a single view from multiple reports and data sources. They are normally linked together via filters and actions to enable the end user to drill into their data and discover specific and actionable insights. The demo Tableau workbook provided here contains a dashboard where each visualisation is connected to the others in a specific way:
Figure 1: Demo Tableau workbook dashboard
Figure 2: Demo Tableau workbook dashboard
Tableau offers a limited number of out of the box visualisations via the Show Me menu on the Worksheet view, in which the required data fields and types are indicated and the recommended visualisation for the currently selected data items is highlighted. The chart types that are greyed out are not appropriate for the currently selected data fields. If nothing is showing, ensure that you have selected fields in the Tables pane first. You can multi select in Tableau using Ctrl and Select (for Windows) or Cmd and Select (for Mac).
Figure 3: Show Me menu and Marks card
In addition to the Show Me Menu, the Marks Card has a drop-down menu for mark type which can be used to determine how the visualisation represents the data selected, when changed from Automatic type. In this menu there is a pie chart mark type, along with shapes, lines, bars, squares or circles. To complete the visualisation, it can be necessary to modify the fields in other elements of the design canvas, including the row and columns shelf; in this way an unlimited number of visualisations can be plotted.
Tableau visualisations can be formatted further to reach the required output, using the marks card and formatting menus. After installing, a Tableau Repository folder is created on the C:drive which enables custom colour schemes and shapes to be imported to the tool in the Preferences file or Shapes folder.
Figure 4: Tableau Repository folder
For more ideas of what visualisations can be designed in Tableau, the best resource is to view the Viz of the Day gallery in Tableau Public, a curated selection of the best vizzes from the Tableau Public community, mostly dashboards and stories and occasionally very complex chart types. You will discover an interactive Tableau viz cookbook on Tableau Public which shares the ‘recipes’ to many popular plot types.
Figure 5: Tableau viz cookbook on Tableau Public
Congratulations, you have reached the end of this section. Now you'll have the opportunity to check your current knowledge on Tableau in an exam. When you're ready, click back into the Learning Path to begin.
Welcome to an overview of Tableau. Here, you'll learn about the different Tableau products, the types of data sources it can be connected to and how visualisations in Tableau function.
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