“A great hero needs his sidekicks”
Mastering Tableau requires quite a fair amount of different skills in order to achieve the best results in terms of intelligence analysis. Most of the time, the users are supposed to be flexible when it comes to dissecting a piece of data for drilling investigation or in need of a quick review from someone on the other end of the computer.
Following the previous chapter, this article will dive into some must-know procedures that can help your workflow occupying at its finest.
For example, within Tableau, you can clone and move data to a spreadsheet to parallelly work on the same context. This can be done easily in just a few clicks, some features have their own characteristics and are meant to use with the third-party applications.
I will reuse the exercise file for the examples below.
Copy data to a document/spreadsheet
While working in a worksheet, it is a common thing to move some pieces of data out of Tableau to a spreadsheet such as Excel or Googlesheet. This practice is useful when you have the source connection as a cloud application like Google Analytics for instance.
To copy data to a spreadsheet:
- Select the active sheet
- Click on Data on the menu toolbar
- Select the active data source connection > View Data
The panel will list all the possible Dimensions and Measures available from the source and present it as a simple table that you can either select individual information or a set of data.
You can limit the number of rows using the quantity box on the top left corner or export the entire table as a CSV file. However, using Copy is the most efficient way for your analysis workflow.
For example, I’d like to copy the first 5 rows and the first three columns:
And paste it into Excel:
The field names will be automatically captured as the first rows, every pasting action will add another extra field name, this may be annoying sometimes and hopefully, Tableau will fix it in the future.
This practice suits for any application that has cells to collaborate with the data as it will detect itself and put the information across the adjacent cells instead of pasting everything in one field like Word or Notepad.
Confused? Get back to day 1 to learn more about the dashboards and get the exercise file.
Export text tables to Excel using Crosstab
If you have Excel installed, you should be able to transfer the entire viewport data to excel in one go. Viewport data is crafted between Dimensions and Measures and displays within the View panel underlying a worksheet.
This method is useful when you have refined a collection of data and ready to visualize while maintaining the adjustment ability from a spreadsheet.
To send viewport data directly to Excel:
- Select Worksheet > Export > Crosstab to Excel
If you prefer using another spreadsheet application:
- Select Worksheet > Copy > Crosstab
Keep in mind, you will need to paste manually if you are copying.
Export charts/graphs to Powerpoint
It is more practical if we can share the visual without making a story dashboard because you never know whether the report needs some modifications before entering the last phase.
When you finish your visualization, it’s necessary to seek someone else opinions on your masterpiece or even present it your own way. Every time the user converts their data into a colorful disco dance floor, straight away you are able to capture its look and fetch to another presentation application.
This practice is handy not only for Powerpoint but also for multipurpose of designing, printing and so forth.
To do this, there are a couple of ways to achieve:
For those who only need a specific graphic within their book:
- On the menu bar, click on Worksheet > Copy or Export > Image
- Either Copy or Export will bring up an Options Dialogue
- Select how you want the image exported along with > Save
- Export action will generate an image file whilst Copy action requires you to manually paste
This method suits for delivering all the charts/graphs from every available worksheet directly to Powerpoint. Every worksheet brings up a separate uneditable slide accordingly.
To export all worksheets’ charts to Powerpoint:
- Go to File > Export As Powerpoint
Export the graphics to PDF
It’s a defect to not mention the most important prerequisite for a Business Intelligence tool – Portable Document Format aka pdf. This is also an alternative option to display your story in front of your boss and customers.
The best practice of using pdf is making your presentation secured as a backup because the audiences may not be able to open your Tableau story file and not everyone uses a proper reader. Unless you use your device all the time for presentation, otherwise converting your graphics projects to pdf seems to be the most convenient way for everyone.
Bear in mind that after the export, just like you normally do for Powerpoint, the artworks are flattened out to images.
To export charts/graphs to pdf:
- On the menu bar, go to File > Print To PDF
- A dialogue shows up, you can select Entire workbook or the Active sheet
- Select the proper paper size then click OK
- Tableau will prompt you to locate where the file is saved
Export to package for Tableau Viewer
If you are working for an organization with Tableau as the main analysis ecosystem, everyone will have the ability to collaborate with your work without actually installing Tableau on their devices.
There used to be a free version of Viewer, however, after version 10, this Viewer has become a subscription package at about $15/month. I know right! However, it’s still the best choice to distribute your presentations to everyone within your company.
The packaged workbook contains the visualizations as well as the data associated with them. To generate a package:
- Go to File > Export Packaged Workbook
- Select the directory that you want to save > Save
Now you can freely share your project with the others but only those who have the Tableau Viewer can open them.
I recommend evaluating this practice due to its flexibility and editability in comparison to converting the visualizations to flat images.
There are a number of ways to enhance your workflow with the help of Office tools, some of you may prefer different ways to get the job done but these handicraft tips should solve most of the problems.
You are now pretty much familiar with the core features and dashboard, next time we will dive into the calculation and boost your skill to the next level.
For now, share your tips and let me know how you approach and the difficulties using the external applications along with Tableau because I probably crossed your problem before, all you need is ask.