A typical Tableau Desktop User Interface (UI) looks something like this:UI is composed of following six components:
Like in most application software UI, drop down menus in Tableau provide a wide range of functionalities. File menu, for example, allows the user to create a new project (called a workbook in Tableau), open an existing workbook, or to import/export workbooks. We will learn more about these Menus through tutorials presented in this guide.
Toolbar provides quick access to common actions such as:
navigates to the start page.
takes to Connect pane from where user can connect to a new data source.
creates a new worksheet.
hides everything except the worksheet (view).
is a smart, handy button which helps user choose a view by highlighting chart types that can be (options) and should be (recommended) used with the selected data fields.
3. Side bar
The side bar has two panes: Data and Analytics.
Data pane display the data fields that are present in the connected data source. It is further organized into several areas:
Dimensions: contains category data where the values are often strings or Boolean types.
Measures: contains numerical data that can be aggregated. Measures fields are by default assigned to be continuous. This, however can be changed by clicking on the field and choosing discrete assignment.
Analytics pane provides drag-and drag access to common analytic tools. One can also access these tools from the Analysis Menu.
One can simply drag-and-drop fields on shelves or cards, and discover the most effective way to present the data.
5. Sheet (also termed View)
This is the window of prime interest as the visualization/output is displayed here. A workbook can have three different types of sheets: worksheets, dashboards, and stories.
Besides rows and columns, a view itself is compromised of several basic (such as Headers, Axes, Cells, Panes and Marks) and optional (Titles, Captions, Field Labels and Legends) components.
6. Sheet tabs
Tabs indicate all sheets (worksheets, dashboards or stories) in your workbook. It also allows the user to create new sheets and access the data sources page.
One must first connect to data source and import data before attempting to build views and data analysis.
1. Launch Tableau Desktop
Tableau presents you the following Connect pane when you open the program. It allows you to connect to a variety of data types such as Excel, Pdf or Access files stored locally on your computer, or to a big data or cube database on a server, or to cloud database source such as Google Analytics.
2. Click Excel on this Connect pane. Navigate to the
Sample - Superstore excel file on your computer (
/My Documents/My Tableau Repository/Datasources/10.0/[language]/).Select and Open this file.
3. Once Tableau is connected to the Excel data, the data source page shows the sheets ("Orders, People, Returns" in this example) in your data. Double click on "Orders" sheet or drag it to the canvas to add it to Tableau data grid.
One can perform several operations on the loaded data grid:
4. To Sort a data column, hover the pointer over the column header. will appear. Click on it once to sort data in ascending order, and twice for sorting in descending order. Sorting of the data grid according to 'Order Date' is illustrated here.
5. Splitting of a column data is done very easily in Tableau. Right click on the desired column header, and select the 'Split' or 'Custom Split' options. Custom Split allows users to specify the separators for a customized splitting of data. Splitting of 'Customor Name' is shown here.
6. Users are encouraged to try out other operations (e.g. renaming or hiding a data entry) on their own.
6. Data Joins
7. Click the sheet tab to go to the new worksheet and start building your views with the connected data.
1. Connect and import "Sample-Superstore.xlsx" -> "Orders" data to Tableau as we did in the 'Connecting to Data' tutorial.
2. Click on the Sheet tab to go to the new worksheet. Data pane on the left of the worksheet lists down the currently active source database and its constituent fields. As mentioned in the 'Tableau Work Environment' tutorial, category data and numerical data are respectively grouped as Dimensions (colored blue) and Measures (colored green) in Tableau. Go ahead, right click on the sheet tab and rename it as 'My First Sheet' or whatever.
3. Next, we need to add fields from the Data pane to the view. Various ways in which you can do this are listed here (in the increasing order of our personal preference):
3a. Drag and drop the fields of interest on the main 'Drop field here' to create a view from a tabular perspective. OR,
3b. Double-click on the fields of interest. Using its intelligence, Tableau picks and builds up a chart on its own. OR,
3c. Select fields and then identify the chart type that appeals the most to you from the Show Me card. Show Me highlights the chart types that can be used with the selected set of fields. OR,
3d. Drag and drop fields onto the Rows or Columns shelves. Note that:
4. Multiple fields: You can add a field to the existing view by dragging it to the either side of a header or an axis. The final appearance of the view can vary depending on which side of the view (or the rows/columns shelves tabs) you drop the new field. For example:
a. Dropping 'Region' to the left side of 'Segment' will slice the data such that you will see the sales for each market segment within each region, whereas dropping it on the right side will show you the sales for each region within each segment. Dropping it on the existing header will replace the 'Segment' header with 'Region'.
b. Dropping 'Profit' on (activated near the top left portion of the 'Sales' axis when you drag a field) will replace the sales axis with profit axis.
c. Dropping 'Profit' onto the top of the existing 'Sales' axis elsewhere will add the two measures to the same chart using a common axis. Note that dropping it above or below the axis will create two different panels for sales and profits.
d. Dropping' Profit' to the right side of the view will add second axis to the same chart.
5. Note that when a measure field is added to the worksheet, by default its sum is reflected in the view. If desired, you can instead change it to (say) average of the measure by clicking on the field tab in shelves and choosing the appropriate option from the drop down menu. This drop down menu offers several other options. We will use only some of them in this guide. You are encouraged to explore the remaining on your own.
We will pick up from where we left in previous tutorial, and execute following steps:
1. Go to Marks shelf and access its drop down menu (highlighted in red in following picture) which is typically set at Automatic by default. Choose the mark type that you find most relevant for your data.
2. Next, we will use the Color feature in the mark card to display the regional sales data. Drag the 'Region' field from Dimensions and drop it on the Color button. This will break down the total sales chart into regional sales chart as shown.
3. Execute the above steps to display the time series progression of regional profit figures. Lets say we want to simultaneously look at corresponding sales volumes. One way to visualize this information is by varying the size of marks (in the case, thickness of the profit line charts) in proportion to their corresponding sales volume. Drop the 'Sales' field onto the Size button to achieve this.
4. We are now interested in exploring the 'Corporate' segment figures using the Filter shelf. Drag and drop the 'Segment' field in the Filter shelf. Select the segment of your interest, i.e. Corporate, in the prompt window for the desired filtering.
5. Tableau allows you to drill up or down to navigate hierarchies by clicking on fields placed on any shelf. This step illustrates the drilling down in time hierarchy. Click on the '+' sign (highlighted red in the following figure) next to the Order field in the Column shelf. It will drown the data view from Year to Quarter (the next level), allowing you to view profit trend over the four quarters.
1. The dataset that we have been using in our tutorials has certain fields which contain geographical information about the data entries. The geographical nature of these fields is identified by the icon marked in front of them. Double click on one of the fields, e.g. 'State', to activate the map view in the worksheet window.
2. To display the sum of profits for each state, double click on the 'Profit' field.
3. Choropleth maps are often very effective of showing geographical distribution of a measure. Drop 'Profit' field on the color tab to generate one such map for our data.
4. If you hover the pointer (called tooltip in Tableau) over a state in the view, it will display certain information related to that state. User can control the information displayed via this tooltip by dragging and dropping the desired field(s) over the Tooltip button in the Marks shelf.
5. If you further click on a state using the tooltip, it will highlight the selected state and display options such as Keep Only, Exclude, Group and Create Set. As shown in the following figure, Keep Only option is executed to keep only the Indiana results. Further, right-click and select the Annotate->Mark from the menu to display the state information.
6. You may also select multiple states and group them together. Lasso selection tool is used to select the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico here. Once the states are selected, select the Group option to group them together. If desired, this group can be assigned an appropriate alias as shown.