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Tableau: Next Steps

Building more dynamic visualizations and dashboards

Topic: Data
Christopher Gardner

Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool. With it, you can take a simple chart and filters and turn them into a dynamic powerful dashboard—or take your huge amounts of data and provide the resources that will allow end users to easily digest all of it.

Join expert Christopher Gardner to find out how to put Tableau tools, such as calculations, parameters, and dashboards, to work. You’ll learn how to use Tableau methods along with simple graphic design and user interface techniques to make your dashboards and charts useful and engaging, grant your end users control while keeping them from getting lost in the weeds, and make your layouts simple to navigate and understand.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • How to take a simple Tableau chart to the next level with calculations and parameters that will make your visualizations more interactive and dynamic
  • How to utilize built-in fields (e.g., what Measure Names and Measure Values do and how to count records without a calculation)
  • How to calculate ratios and other common calculations without falling into the pitfalls of incorrect aggregation
  • How to take a collection of visualizations and combine them into a cohesive, dynamic dashboard that’s both intuitive and powerful
  • Layout, design, and visualization best practices to make your dashboard functional and appealing

And you’ll be able to:

  • Utilize parameters (values not in the data sources) to grant end users the ability to select the chart and views they desire
  • Develop an interactive, functional dashboard for end users

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an analyst or decision maker in your organization.
  • You work with data on a regular basis and use this data to help facilitate decision making (or are hoping to do so in the future).
  • You want to become a data advocate for your organization by facilitating information access through data visualization.
  • You’re familiar with Tableau basics and want to take your skills to the next level.


  • Familiarity with basic database principles, such as tables and fields
  • A basic understanding of coding logic, such as IF-THEN and CASE WHEN
  • Experience with Tableau (data connections, chart building, filters, sorts, etc.)

Recommended preparation:

  • Download and install Tableau Desktop (A free trial version is fine, as long as the trial is active during the class.)
  • Download the course dataset in Excel format (.xlsx) on your desktop
  • Take Tableau: First Steps (live online training with Christopher Gardner)

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Christopher Gardner is the campus Tableau application administrator at the University of Michigan, controlling security, updates, and performance maintenance. He’s also part of a small team responsible for developing and maintaining a suite of university-level dashboards used by campus budget administrators, deans, and university leadership. As part of his job, he leads a monthly daylong Tableau introduction course at the university. He presented at the Tableau Conference in 2019. Christopher holds a degree in actuarial mathematics from the University of Michigan.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Measure Names and Measure Values (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: When and why to use Measure Names and Measure Values
  • Hands-on exercise: Display the previous example (Sales with Sales + 15%) side by side with the current and estimated values using Measure Names and Measure Values

More complicated charts (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: Dual axis; reference lines—labels and configuration
  • Hands-on exercise: Use reference lines

Break (5 minutes)

More advanced calculations (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: Aggregation in calculations
  • Hands-on exercise: Perform calculations with aggregation issues
  • Q&A

Parameters (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Top N; dimension or measure switcher

Sets and groups (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: Groups versus sets
  • Hands-on exercise: Use sets and table calcs to find % of profit for top N sales customers

Break (5 minutes)

Formatting (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Axis; labels; Tooltips

Dashboards (40 minutes)

  • Presentation: Float versus tiled; dimensions; containers; design concepts

Wrap-up and Q&A (5 minutes)