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Mastering Tableau

Book Description

Master the intricacies of Tableau to create effective data visualizations

About This Book

  • Arm yourself with an arsenal of advanced chart types and geocoding to efficiently and engagingly present information
  • Map a grid over a network node diagram and use that grid to demonstrate loads, processing time, and more in Tableau
  • Integrate R with Tableau by utilizing R functions, libraries, and saved models

Who This Book Is For

If you are a business analyst without developer-level programming skills, then this book is for you. You are expected to have at least a fundamental understanding of Tableau and basic knowledge of joins, however SQL knowledge is not assumed. You should have basic computer skills, including at least moderate Excel proficiency.

What You Will Learn

  • Create a worksheet that can display the current balance for any given period in time
  • Recreate a star schema from in a data warehouse in Tableau
  • Combine level of detail calculations with table calculations, sets, and parameters
  • Create custom polygons to build filled maps for area codes in the USA
  • Visualize data using a set of analytical and advanced charting techniques
  • Know when to use Tableau instead of PowerPoint
  • Build a dashboard and export it to PowerPoint

In Detail

Tableau has emerged as one of the most popular Business Intelligence solutions in recent times, thanks to its powerful and interactive data visualization capabilities. This book will empower you to become a master in Tableau by exploiting the many new features introduced in Tableau 10.0.

You will embark on this exciting journey by getting to know the valuable methods of utilizing advanced calculations to solve complex problems. These techniques include creative use of different types of calculations such as row-level, aggregate-level, and more. You will discover how almost any data visualization challenge can be met in Tableau by getting a proper understanding of the tool’s inner workings and creatively exploring possibilities.

You’ll be armed with an arsenal of advanced chart types and techniques to enable you to efficiently and engagingly present information to a variety of audiences through the use of clear, efficient, and engaging dashboards. Explanations and examples of efficient and inefficient visualization techniques, well-designed and poorly designed dashboards, and compromise options when Tableau consumers will not embrace data visualization will build on your understanding of Tableau and how to use it efficiently.

By the end of the book, you will be equipped with all the information you need to create effective dashboards and data visualization solutions using Tableau.

Style and approach

This book takes a direct approach, to systematically evolve to more involved functionalities such as advanced calculation, parameters & sets, data blending and R integration. This book will help you gain skill in building visualizations previously beyond your capacity.

Downloading the example code for this book. You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.PacktPub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.PacktPub.com/support and register to have the code file.

Table of Contents

  1. Mastering Tableau
    1. Mastering Tableau
    2. Credits
    3. About the Author
    4. www.Packtpub.com
      1. Why subscribe?
    5. Preface
      1. What this book covers
      2. What you need for this book
      3. Who this book is for
      4. Conventions
      5. Reader feedback
      6. Customer support
        1. Downloading the example code
        2. Downloading the color images of this book
        3. Errata
        4. Piracy
        5. Questions
    6. 1. Getting Up to Speed – a Review of the Basics
      1. The Tableau universe
      2. Understanding the Tableau interface and basic terminology
      3. Worksheet and dashboard creation
        1. Worksheet creation
          1. Exercise - fundamentals of visualizations
          2. Beyond default behavior
          3. Exercise - overriding defaults
          4. Show Me
        2. Dashboard creation
          1. Exercise - building a dashboard
          2. Exercise - adding interactivity to a dashboard
      4. Connecting Tableau to your data
        1. Excel and text files
          1. Comparing and contrasting Native Tableau Driver and MS Jet Driver
        2. Connecting to a Tableau Server
          1. Exercise - observing metadata differences
            1. Exercise steps
          2. Exercise - connecting to Tableau Server
        3. Connecting to saved data sources
          1. Exercise - creating a local data connection
      5. Measure Names and Measure Values
        1. Measure Names and Measure Values - the basics
          1. Exercise - Measure Names and Measure Values
        2. Measure Names and Measure Values - shortcuts
          1. Exercise - Measure Names and Measure Values shortcuts
          2. Exercise commentary
      6. Three essential Tableau concepts
        1. Essential concept 1 - dimensions and measures
          1. Exercise - dimensions and measures
        2. Essential concept 2 - Row Level, Aggregate Level, and Table Level
          1. Exercise - Row Level, Aggregate Level, and Table Level
          2. Exercise commentary
        3. Essential concept 3 - continuous and discrete
      7. Summary
    7. 2. All about Data – Getting Your Data Ready
      1. Understanding Tableau's data-handling engine
        1. The Tableau Data-Handling Engine
          1. Changing field attribution example
          2. Table calculation example
        2. DHE takeaways
      2. Data-mining and knowledge-discovery process models
        1. Survey of the process models
      3. CRISP-DM
        1. CRISP-DM phases
      4. Focusing on data preparation
        1. Surveying data
          1. Exercise - surveying data
          2. Exercise - extrapolating data
            1. Exercise commentary
        2. Cleaning the data
          1. Exercise - cleaning the data
            1. Exercise steps
            2. Exercise commentary
          2. Exercise - extracting data
            1. Exercise steps
            2. Exercise commentary
      5. Summary
    8. 3. All about Data – Joins, Blends, and Data Structures
      1. About joins
      2. Complex joins
        1. Exercise - observing join culling
          1. Exercise steps
          2. Exercise commentary
      3. Data blending
        1. Order of operations for aggregating and matching
          1. Exercise - a data blend versus a left join
          2. Exercise steps
            1. Understanding the join
            2. Understanding the data blend
        2. No dimensions from a secondary source
          1. Exercise - adding secondary dimensions
        3. Scaffolding
          1. Exercise - enhanced forecasting via scaffolding
      4. Data structures
        1. Exercise - adjusting data structure for different questions
          1. Exercise steps - part 1
          2. Exercise steps - part 2
      5. Summary
    9. 4. All about Data – Data Densification, Cubes, and Big Data
      1. About data densification
        1. Domain completion
          1. How domain completion can be deployed
            1. Exercise - activating domain completion in a crosstab part I
            2. Exercise - activating domain completion in a crosstab part II
            3. Exercise – activating domain completion via View Types
          2. How domain completion is useful
            1. Exercise - labelling nulls
          3. When domain completion is a problem
            1. Exercise - unwanted domain completion
        2. Domain padding
          1. Deploying domain padding via Show Empty Rows/Columns
            1. Exercise - activating domain padding via Show Empty Rows/Columns
          2. How domain padding is useful
            1. Exercise - domain padding - filling date gaps
          3. When domain padding is a problem
            1. Exercise - from a domain padded visualization to a crosstab
      2. Working with cubes
        1. Exercise - using a data blend for continuous months when accessing a cube
          1. Exercise steps
          2. Exercise commentary
        2. Exercise - using a data blend for hierarchies, aliasing, and grouping when accessing a cube
        3. The deprecation of cubes
      3. Tableau and big data
        1. Exercise - a strategy for addressing Excel's row limitation
        2. Massively parallel processing
        3. Exercise - building a visualization with Google BigQuery
          1. Exercise steps
      4. Summary
    10. 5. Table Calculations
      1. A definition and two questions
      2. What is the function?
        1. Directional and non-directional
          1. Exercise - exploring directional and non-directional table calculation functions
        2. Exploring each unique table calculation function
          1. Exercises - exploring each unique table calculation function
            1. LOOKUP and TOTAL
            2. PREVIOUS_VALUE
            3. RUNNING
            4. WINDOW
            5. FIRST and LAST
            6. INDEX
            7. RANK
            8. SIZE
      3. How is the function applied?
        1. Building a playground
        2. Partitioning and addressing with one dimension
        3. Partitioning and addressing with two dimensions
        4. Partitioning and addressing with three dimensions
      4. Summary
    11. 6. Level of Detail Calculations
      1. Building playgrounds
        1. Playground 1 - FIXED and EXCLUDE
          1. Exercise - exploring FIXED and EXCLUDE - setting up the workbook
            1. Inspecting the worksheet and initial setup
          2. Exercise steps - exploring FIXED and EXCLUDE - understanding FIXED
          3. Exercise steps - exploring FIXED and EXCLUED - understanding EXCLUDE
          4. Exercise - exploring FIXED and EXCLUDE - understanding order of filtering
            1. Exercise commentary
        2. Playground #2 - INCLUDE
          1. Inspecting the worksheet and initial setup
          2. Exercise steps - exploring INCLUDE
      2. Practical application
        1. Exercise - practical FIXED
          1. Exercise steps - practical FIXED - the problem
          2. Exercise steps - practical FIXED - table calc solution
          3. Exercise steps - practical FIXED - LOD solution
          4. Exercise commentary
        2. Exercise - practical INCLUDE
          1. Exercise steps part 1 - solve by using an LOD calculation
          2. Exercise steps part 2 - solve without an LOD calculation
          3. Exercise commentary
        3. Exercise - practical EXCLUDE
          1. Exercise steps part 1 - solve by using an LOD calculation
          2. Exercise steps part 2 - solve by using blending
            1. Exercise commentary
      3. Summary
    12. 7. Beyond the Basic Chart Types
      1. Improving popular visualizations
        1. Bullet graphs
          1. Exercise steps for bullet graph – the basics
        2. Exercise steps for bullet graph – beyond the basics
        3. Making useful pies and donuts on maps
          1. Exercise – pies and donuts on maps
            1. Exercise steps for pies and donuts – the basics
            2. Exercise steps for pies and donuts – beyond the basics
        4. Pareto charts
          1. Exercise steps for a Pareto chart – the basics
          2. Exercise steps for a Pareto chart – beyond the basics
      2. Custom background images
        1. Exercise – creating a grid
          1. Exercise – steps for creating a grid
          2. Exercise – steps for using a grid to generate a dataset
          3. Exercise – visualizing a chess game
        2. Exercise – creating polygons on a background image
          1. Exercise – steps for creating polygons on a background image
      3. Summary
    13. 8. Mapping
      1. Extending Tableau mapping capabilities without leaving Tableau
        1. Exercise - displaying routes and calculating distances
      2. Extending Tableau mapping with other technology
        1. Exercise - connecting to a WMS server
        2. Exploring the TMS file
          1. The TMS file structure
          2. Accessing popular map servers
            1. ArcGIS
            2. Stamen
        3. Exploring Mapbox
          1. Exercise - Mapbox classic
          2. Exercise – Mapbox GL
        4. Accessing different maps via a dashboard
          1. Exercise – swapping maps
        5. Creating custom polygons
          1. Exercise - drawing a square around Null Island
            1. Exercise steps
          2. Converting shape files for tableau
          3. Exercise – polygons for Texas
            1. Exercise steps
            2. Exercise commentary
      3. Summary
    14. 9. Tableau for Presentations
      1. Getting the best images out of Tableau
        1. A brief survey of screen capture tools
        2. Tableau's native export capabilities
          1. The five export types
      2. From Tableau to PowerPoint
        1. Exercise – create a template
        2. Exercise – create two dashboards
        3. Exercise – create a PowerPoint presentation
        4. Exercise – automating a weekly PowerPoint presentation
      3. Embedding Tableau in PowerPoint
        1. Exercise – create an interactive PowerPoint presentation
      4. Animating Tableau
        1. Exercise – creating an animation with Tableau
        2. Exercise – using an animation to export many images
        3. Exercise – using an animation in Tableau to create an animation in PowerPoint
      5. Story Points dashboards for presentations
        1. Presentation resources
        2. Exercise – using Tableau dashboards to create a PowerPoint-like presentation
      6. Summary
    15. 10. Visualization Best Practices and Dashboard Design
      1. Visualization design theory
        1. Formatting rules
          1. Rule – keep the font choice simple
          2. Rule - Trend line > Fever line > Reference line > Drop line > Zero line > Grid line
          3. Rule – band in groups of three to five
            1. Exercise  – banding
        2. Color rules
          1. Rule – keep colors simple and limited
          2. Rule – respect the psychological implication of colors
          3. Rule – be colorblind-friendly
          4. Rule – use pure colors sparingly
            1. Exercise – using pure colors
          5. Rule – color variations over symbol variation
        3. Visualization type rules
          1. Rule – keep shapes simple
            1. Exercise – shapes
          2. Rule – use pie charts sparingly
        4. Compromises
          1. Make the dashboard simple versus make the dashboard robust
          2. Presenting dense information versus presenting sparse information
          3. Telling a story versus allowing a story to be discovered
          4. Document, document, document! But don't use any space!
            1. Exercise – tooltips for extensive help
          5. Keeping visualizations simple versus exploring esoteric chart types
      2. Dashboard design
        1. Dashboard layout
          1. Golden Rectangle layout
          2. Quad layout
          3. Small Multiple layout
      3. Sheet selection
        1. Exercise - sheet swapping pie charts and treemaps
        2. Exercise – collapsible menu
      4. Summary
    16. 11. Improving Performance
      1. Understand the Performance Recording dashboard
        1. Exercise - exploring Performance Recording in Tableau Desktop
        2. Performance Recording dashboard events
        3. Behind the scenes of the Performance Recording dashboard
      2. Hardware and on-the-fly techniques
        1. Hardware considerations
        2. On-the-fly techniques
          1. Exercise - pause/resume auto updates
          2. Exercise - Run Update
          3. Exercise - small extracts
      3. Single Data Source > Joining > Blending
        1. Three ways Tableau connects to data
        2. Using referential integrity when joining
          1. Exercise - referential integrity
        3. When it's necessary or advantageous to blend
          1. Exercise - necessary blending
      4. Working efficiently with data sources
        1. Tuning data sources
          1. Primary and foreign keys
          2. NOT NULL
          3. What is an index?
          4. What should be indexed?
        2. Working efficiently with large data sources
      5. Intelligent extracts
        1. Understanding the Tableau Data Extract
        2. Constructing a TDE for optimal performance
        3. Exercise - summary aggregates for improved performance
        4. Optimizing extracts
        5. Exercise - materialized calculations
      6. Using filters wisely
        1. Extract filter performance
        2. Data source filter performance
        3. Context filters
        4. Dimension and measure filters
        5. Table calculation filters
        6. Exercise - late filter
      7. Efficient calculations
        1. Boolean/Numbers > Date > String
          1. Exercise - an efficient and an inefficient way to determine N figure salary
          2. Exercise - date versus integer
      8. Additional performance considerations
        1. Avoid overcrowding a dashboard
        2. Fix dashboard sizing
        3. Set expectations
      9. Summary
    17. 12. Interacting with Tableau Server
      1. Tableau file types
        1. Tableau Data Source (.tds)
        2. Tableau Packaged Data Source (.tdsx)
          1. Exercise - publish a data source to Tableau Server
        3. Tableau Workbook (.twb)
        4. Tableau Packaged Workbook (.twbx)
        5. Other file types
      2. Tableau Server architecture
        1. Tableau Server architecture approaches to avoid
          1. Tableau Server architecture - TWB Centric
          2. Tableau Server architecture - TWBX Centric
        2. Tableau Server architecture approaches to adopt
          1. Tableau Server architecture - TDS Centric
          2. Tableau Server architecture - TDSX Centric
      3. Tableau Server revision history
      4. Tableau Server web authoring environment
        1. Basic web authoring instructions
          1. Exercise - edit an existing workbook on Tableau Server
          2. Exercise - create a new workbook on Tableau Server
        2. Exploring the capabilities and limitations of the Tableau Server web authoring environment
          1. Exercise - the Tableau Server web authoring environment
        3. Comparing and contrasting Tableau Desktop with the Tableau Server web authoring environment
      5. User filters
        1. Exercise - deploying a view level user filter
      6. Accessing the Tableau Server Performance Recording dashboard
        1. Exercise - exploring performance recording on Tableau Server
      7. Summary
    18. 13. R Integration
      1. Architecture, installation, and integration
        1. Architecture
        2. Installation
          1. Installing R
          2. Integration - starting Rserve, connecting with Tableau, and installing RStudio Desktop
      2. Using R functions
        1. Exercise - reproducing native Tableau functionality in R
        2. Correlation
          1. Exercise - correlation
        3. Regression analysis
          1. Exercise - regression analysis
        4. Clustering
          1. Exercise - clustering
        5. Quantiles
          1. Exercise - quantiles
      3. Troubleshooting
        1. Give R what it expects
        2. R Scripts are table calculations
        3. Performance challenges
      4. Summary