The Data School Blog

Asymmetric Drill Down using Set Actions

In order to create a drill down the data set needs to have hierarchical information . Superstore will be used in this example to make a Tree map, using Sales on the Size mark. To create a hierarchy drag the 2nd level dimension of the hierarchy onto the 1st dimension....

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We Need to Talk About Density Marks

Or: how knowledge is power when it is shared Act 1: on dealing with "busy" data On inspecting a dataset it becomes clear that the insight might be lost in how tightly packed together the data points are. It becomes difficult to separate the signal from the noise. Take...

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Dynamic Reference Lines

There are certain times where I would like to see a chart in a general overview and then drill down in the same space. I am going to walk you through how to make a dynamic reference line, have reference only appear on a certain condition. In this exercise we'll be...

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Jon’s DS13 Week 2 Recap

Week 2 was focused on what brought us all to the Data School in the first place – Tableau Desktop. Almost an entire week dedicated to data visualization best practices, design methodology, and practical Tableau learning

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Clustering continuous and categorical data in Alteryx

For this weeks client project at The Data School, one of my objectives was to group the clients customers based on the types of services that they were purchasing from the client. This is also known as customer segmentation. The business case for customer segmentation...

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Combined axis vs dual axis.

For most visualisations that I have created, if I have wanted to add in other measures into the view, I have generally used a dual axis to do this. However, there are reasons why you should use a combined/shared axis in some cases. What is a dual axis? A dual axis...

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Data Preparation… for Dummies

Last Friday DS13 was assigned a project. In the time span of 2 hours (which became 4 afterwards), we had to re-create our application viz. It was also required to find a new dataset, preparing it with Alteryx or Tableau Prep, and adding it to the original Viz. In this post, I would like to describe how I used to clean up the data before joining DS and how this process can be streamlined using a tool such as Alteryx or Tableau Prep.

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Bars need their space too.

In this post I’m going to show you a simple method for adding extra spacing between certain bars in your chart. This can be useful to make groups or categories clearer.

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Data Visualisation… using crayons?

At the beginning of this week, Andy informed us that an upcoming session was composed of over 200 slides. Due to this all I was expecting was a long theoretical session, instead, Andy gave us some crayons and large paper canvasses.

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The dangers of rounded bar charts.

Rounded. Bar charts. Just look at those curves. As a newcomer to Tableau the discovery of rounded bars is ground-breaking. Making your first rounded bar chart feels like you’ve transcended from using your Grandad’s clunky square bars to the world of sleek, futuristic...

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Triskaidekaphobia

Hey everyone, my name’s Paul and I make up one ninth of the new Data School cohort. I’ve spent my whole life feeding my vague irrational fear of the number 13. This has ranged from not putting my gym bag in locker #13 even though it’s the only one free, to...

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So far so good!

I just want to preface this by saying I have no idea how to write a blog so apologies in advance. Anyway. as it’s my first blog, I’ll start with a little bit about me. It’s fair to say I’ve followed a pretty normal life so far, coming from the Home Counties to study...

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My application Viz: Pokémon, a guide to beginners.

The first Viz I’ve published on Tableau Public, Pokémon: A Guide to Beginners, was a great, and unexpected, success.
In this post, I would like to describe the first step of the Data School application process, focusing on the techniques I have used to build such a successful Viz, which guaranteed me the access to the next stage of the process.

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What I hope to get out of the data school

Andy suggested that we could do a blog post based on what you want to achieve from the experience. So, I thought I’d go with this idea to help me have a reference point to look back on and to explain to future data schoolers some of the things you can look to get out of the experience.

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Use Case for the Tile Tool

For a recent DS project I ended up with a data set that had all the information I needed in one column similar to the example below. Fortunately the data is structured and repeating, every 5 lines. The aim is to get each Player on their own row with the rest of their...

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Finding my creative side – pt.1

Being part of the Data School and training for four months allows you to discover your strengths and weaknesses. If you are struggling to find your creative flair in data visualisation I would highly recommend finding a viz that inspires you and seeing how to can influence your work.

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Publishing to Tableau Server with tabcmd

Last week I got acquainted with tabcmd, the Tableau Server command line utility. With tabcmd, you can automate various Tableau Server processes from your local machine. In this post, I'll document some of the publishing processes and automation that are possible with...

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Customer Retention Graph

A customer retention graph allows you see how many customers come back to your company each year, from their first year of order. I will then explain how to turn this into a percent of the total for that year. For this example, I will be using superstore data. 1st –...

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DS11 out…for now

The time is here! Today we, DS11, ‘graduate’ and finish the training portion of time at the Data School. The last four months have absolutely flown by. At the mid-point of the training I wrote about the things I’d learnt in the first half, so here I’m going to reflect...

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Statistics Series // 3. Classification

This is the final post in my Statistics Series and it will be focusing on classification. Previously in the series I've shown how to generate clusters in both Alteryx and Tableau, as well as describing Time Series analysis and how to do it in Alteryx. Classification...

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Tableau Tip: Formatting BANs

BANs, or Big Ass Numbers, are a great way of displaying important figures very quickly. But, often they are not formatted well enough to be effective, or dynamic. They need to really hit the point home. Here I'll talk through 4 quick tips to really make the most of...

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Tableau Tip: Splitting the view using Set Actions

Today DS11 learnt about some of the new Set Actions available in the new Tableau 2018.3. As Harry has this topic for his training sessions back in December, he knows them well (see his blog here). Therefore, Harry took us through some of the more ‘common’ examples,...

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How to colour scale a map using set actions!

I thought my Best of DS11 blog would be my final blog post on the Data School website but no, I have one quick blog post left. Set Actions. They're new and exciting, right? Today at the Data School, Harry of DS11 taught us (and the coaches) set actions as he was...

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A Reflective Blog: Coming to the end of training

The Data School experience has been an amazing way to start my working career. After studying maths for 4 years in order to gain a degree and masters I thought that my working life would be somewhat of a boring ordeal, solving problems that would only affect a very...

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IMPOSTER SYNDROME SUCKS

Imposter Syndrome What is it? It’s an uncomfortable experience and includes feeling as though you don’t belong with your peers in your workplace; or you’re undeserving of any achievements and accomplishments. My Experience A little bit about me: I am a recent graduate...

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Bye-Bye, 25WS

It has been four months since DS11 started their training at 25 Watling Street. Four months in which we were taken from complete newbies to fairly experienced users of the tools and processes that we now get to apply as we go out on placement. Thanks to the rich and...

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Tableau: proportional brushing with set actions

Set actions have been out for a while now but one of my favourite uses (and probably the easiest to pick up) is proportional brushing.Essentially, proportional brushing allows you to set up a dashboard action to enable you to use a dimension from one chart, to...

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The Best of DS11

This week is DS11's last week of training. Next week, we'll all be split up and sent to our placements for the next 6 months (eek!). We probably won't all be back together for a while so I've been feeling quite reflective. Throughout the past 4 months, we have done...

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Tutorials from the forum #1: Sheet swap using images

As I have recently started my journey in the Tableau community forums, I have come across different questions. One of them has repeated a few times and I thought I would make a blogpost using the tutorials I’ve already wrote on the forums, so more people can find them. How to swap sheets using images?

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The infinite usefulness of containers

When I first started using Tableau I found the concept of containers really tricky to get my head, and my mouse around! They seemed confusing and a little unnecessary. I didn’t understand what the difference between a vertical and a horizontal really was, even more so...

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Diego’s journal (DS12) – Week Five

This week we finally experienced one of the things we had been looking forward the most, the client project. With the launch of our first client project. we finally got the chance to apply the things we have been learning into a real-case scenario.

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Gridding in Alteryx

In a recent Alteryx lesson we learnt about creating a shape file with the location names attached. In this specific workflow I am using the Match tool to combine a shape file to location data in the .csv file. When selecting the Grid tool there is the option to choose...

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How to build a linear trendline for calculations

One of the analytical features that Tableau offers is the capability to build a trendline with just a couple of clicks. However, trendlines in Tableau do have some limitations, among them is that you can’t use them within your calculations. This becomes especially troublesome if, for example, you want to calculate the distance to the trendline or do any other calculation that interacts with the trendline.

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How to make a correlation matrix in Tableau

A correlation matrix is handy for summarising and visualising the strength of relationships between continuous variables. Essentially, a correlation matrix is a grid of values that quantify the association between every possible pair of variables that you want to...

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Successful Data School Client Projects

During our time at the Data School, we have about 8, week-long client projects. We get the brief and data on a Monday and then have to present our findings on the Friday afternoon. After presenting we then have a feedback session with the coaches and hopefully improve...

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The Prep Off: Alteryx vs Tableau Prep Round 2

Two major contenders in the ring tonight: new but developing at light speed, Tableau Prep and tried and trusted, Alteryx Designer.Who will win this time after a draw in the last Prep Off? Watch the replay of Round 1 here. How do these two softwares compare when...

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Set Actions Practice Tasks Answers

This blog provides the answers to the Tableau set action tasks found here. Proportional Highlighting Create the two sheets, segment by sales and sub-category by sales.Right click the segment dimension and create a set.Place the segment set on the colour card in the...

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Set Actions Practice Tasks

Tableau's set actions allow you to make your dashboard or worksheet interactive. By hovering, clicking and generally interacting with the elements on a sheet colours, sizes marks and may more things can be influenced on both the same and other charts. Set actions...

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Are you sure you need a dual-axis?

Let’s say that you wanted to have two measure values on one graph and to colour by these measures as well as have lines with different thickness. Prior to last week I thought it would be necessary to use a dual-axis chart for this which was a frustration as this means...

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Tableau’s Order of Operations

Order of Operations To understand how Tableau works it is useful to know the order in which it manipulates and filters data when producing your view. This process is called the order of operations. It helps to know the order of operations so you can use it to your...

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Colouring using a Parameter

In this blog post I will be talking through the steps to making a line chart in which the colour of the line is controlled by a parameter. This can be useful when you want to show all values for context but don't want too many colours and feel a different colour would...

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Tableau Dateparts vs Datevalues

Dates in Tableau will behave differently depending on whether they are a datepart (blue) or a datevalue (green). This affects how the axes display/behave and also how visualisations such as line charts will display. The difference essentially boils down to dateparts...

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Why You Should Apply For The Data School

Now that DS11 are approaching the end of our 4 months of training at the Data School and will soon be shipped off to our first of 4 placements, I have been reflecting on the experience and would like to convince you to apply for the Data School too.   Because...

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Dashboard Formatting With Containers in Tableau

Before joining the Data School dashboard formatting was a nightmare. I thought that the sizing and position of things relied on the eye alone and would spent ages resizing things and trying to make them align in an aesthetically pleasing way. Since learning about...

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My Project Manager Experience

PROJECT MANAGER (PM) EXPERIENCE AND TIPS FOR FUTURE DATA SCHOOLERS   On my 7th week at the Data School, I was Project Manager for DS12. It was DS12's second client project for MOO Business Services (MBS). The total time that DS12 were given during that week for...

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Alteryx Core Exam Tips

The Alteryx Core exam is a very good way to test your Alteryx skills and also learn some new information that would usually be glossed over. The exam can be registered for here and at the start of the next month you will receive an email with a link that allows you to...

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Tableau QA Revision Tips

Tableau QA Exam Tips The Tableau QA Exam can be a little intimidating, but there are lots of resources out there from the community and Tableau itself to help you pass the certification. Here I will go through some of the things I found most useful in preparing for...

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Data School Shadow Days

The Data School not only trains us in Tableau and Alteryx, but also give us a chance to develop other skills like presenting, writing and working with clients. In addition to this, in the last month of our DS time ahead of our placements we shadow a member of the...

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Organising your Tableau Data Pane for Bliss and Harmony

Today DS11 and DS12 were treated to a talk from Simon Beaumont about data architecture, enabling customers to understand your dashboards, how to make your workbooks easy for others to pick up and more. In this post, I will go over a few things about organising your...

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Using Alteryx to Append Fields with a Lookup Table

While attempting the recent NHL Makeover Monday, I decided to supplement the attendance data with stadium capacity data. I found some data that would work and after some quick cleaning of the data set, added it to the NHL data on Tableau. I ended up with a lot of null...

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Tableau’s ‘Replace References’ feature

I feel an urgent need to blog about a simple feature in Tableau that just potentially saved me from hours of retrospective code-amending and checking. My almost nightmare Let me start with some context. I've spent the last few days exploring a dataset in Tableau and...

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Structuring Word Clouds

Word clouds don't have the best rep, but they can be a powerful tool to represent text-based data. There are tons of great manuals for how to build a word cloud in Tableau, so I won't get into the details about that here. One thing I will say is that with word clouds,...

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How to Prepare for your Alteryx Designer Core Exam

This month, many of DS11 are taking the Alteryx Designer Core Exam (as well as the Tableau QA), including myself. If you're interested in my top tips on how to pass the Tableau QA, see my post here  In this post, I will go through: The resources I found helpful while...

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How to Teach Tableau/Alteryx : Louise’s Experience

Last month, DS11 taught the public Tableau and Alteryx and this month, we are conducting webinars teaching the same content. Check out our meetup page for more details on upcoming webinars and events! For both of these lessons, I taught Alteryx Data Prep. If you...

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Diego’s journal (DS12) – Week Four

The week went very fast and it felt a bit like those small recap episodes between the seasons of a TV program. However, it was still challenging as we were introduced to Tableau Intermediate and very important concepts such as LODs, Table Calcs and Order of Operations.

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Web Scraping JavaScript Content

Introduction Web scraping is an extremely powerful method for obtaining data that is hosted on the web. In its simplest form, web scraping involves accessing the HTML code (the foundational programming language on which websites are built) of a given website, and...

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Running Sum and Moving Average in SQL

Using Tableau's Superstore as the database, the SQL query: Select [Region], [Order Date], Sum([Sales]) as 'Sales' From superstore Group By Region, [Order Date] ; creates a table with column headers Region, Order Date and Sales, where the Sales is the sum of sales for...

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Colour Conditions in Tableau

For this topic, I will be using the Makeover Monday ’19 Week 1 NHL dataset.   I had produced a very simple dashboard that compares the Home Attendance and Road Attendance for every NHL team, filtering by each season. The chart shown in my dashboard is a butterfly...

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Line of Best Fit

When you go to the analytics tab and drag the trend line onto your scatterplot Tableau creates a line going through your plots. But what is it doing and what do the figures mean? When plotting a linear trend line Tableau uses the equation y=ax+b In this equation a is...

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Using YoY change to colour shapes on a line chart

The final Makeover Monday of 2018 was on the average annual Christmas spending in the US. All that was provided was the year and the average spend for that year, although it may seem simple, there were many different takes on this as you can see online. For my viz...

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Chaining apps in Alteryx

I hit a wall in my previous post when trying to dynamically update a drop down interface tool with the field names of a given input dataset. The issue was that if the field names in the incoming dataset were different to the field names of the dataset that I built my...

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My Experience of the Tableau Desktop QA Exam

Excitingly, I got to start 2019 as a Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate! I prepped for the exam over Christmas and took it on the morning of New Years Eve. In this post I will take you through how I approached the exam prep, as well as my experience of the exam...

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Why Colours Matter

Using colour in your viz adds another dimension that can ascend your dashboard from average to amazing or burn your audience’s retinas. Colour allows you to direct your audience’s attention or gloss over background information. It can be used to invoke emotion, set a...

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Tableau : Behind the scenes

Using Tableau on a regular basis, dragging and dropping pills all around, we easily forget that is it not as simple and what the machine does behind the scene. 

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Tableau Tip: Watch Out for Misleading Average Lines!

Tableau's Analytics pane allows you to slap an average line onto your view. Drag, drop, done? Not quite. In this blog, I will show you an example of when the average line Tableau creates for you may not be doing what you think it does.   Let's start So Figure 1...

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Dynamically Controlled Bins

When we work with data, our continuous data (such as sales or profit) it is usually grouped under some categorical field. Normally these fields would be our discrete variables in the data set, such as “Country” or “Category”. Nevertheless, sometimes we would like to group our data under numerical ranges, this is when we would create a bin based in a numeric dimension. 

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