The Data School Blog

Splitting Fields in Alteryx

As part of the data prep process, you may need to read in a text file, or split a variable into a few new ones. This is because the text file/ variable contains a string of information, separated by a delimiter (e.g. – , / _ ). This will read this as one value and to...

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Creating A Calendar View In Tableau

Using a Calendar chart can be an impactful way to showcase information for a particular month in a view. All dates used for this graph will be discrete. Drag Date into Columns. Then turn Date type into weekday (discrete).   Then again drag date, this time into the...

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Tableau Public/Desktop: Getting Started Guide

We are currently well into our second week of the Data School; with the focus of this week being Tableau (i.e. the reason we all applied to this job). For all of you who are interested in learning to use Tableau and/or are thinking of applying to the Data School but...

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How To Make A Calendar In Tableau

During Head Coach Andy Kriebel's Tableau Zen Master Tips & Tricks - Chart Edition webinar he showed it was possible to make a calendar in Tableau. Today he showed is how to do it again and I will explain how/give some example uses here. To make the calendar first...

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Making a group in Tableau

Grouping different items within a dimension can be very useful if you need to colour certain items, sum groups of items together or follow different item groups. We will start with the Sample Superstore dataset (downloadable...

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Splitting Fields in Tableau

Sometimes a few of your data fields will be in one column, stored as text with a delimiter (e.g. - , / _ ). Tableau will read this as one value and to have it as more than that you need to tell Tableau to split the field. There are three ways you can do this in...

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Using Multi-Row Formula to Rank Records in Alteryx

A challenge I encountered when coming to grips with Alteryx was to rank records based on a shared value. For this exercise, we are trying to rank players according to their score. Simply sorting and ranking the records would give players with the same score different...

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Alteryx: Importing Multiple Files At Once

When we have several files to import such as monthly sales data into Alteryx, it can be (is definitely) a pain to import each file one by one. Subsequently using a union function to combine all data into the one table we need, giving us a headache inducing and muddled...

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DS11: the first week

With week 2 well underway, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect back on our first week as dataschoolers! Whilst I was excited to start DS11, I was also quite nervous! Thankfully that dissipated throughout the week, as everyone was so friendly and made a...

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Avoid neglecting Alaska and Hawaii in your US maps

Why is Hawaii so far from the rest of the United States? Why is Canada in between Alaska and the rest of the United States? Trying to get Alaska and Hawaii in a dashboard with the other 48 states can lead to lots of wasted, empty space (as seen in Figure 1). In this...

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Alteryx Designer: Getting Started Guide

DS11’s first week at the Data School was focused on introducing us to Alteryx; a super useful software for prepping messy data before visualising in Tableau. Amongst data preparation, Alteryx is also capable of spatial and predictive uses. In this guide, we will...

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Introducing ourselves at the Data School

We've come to the end of our first week of DS11! We've learnt a lot, about the company and the software, and started to get to know each other, hopefully the start of some good friendships and support for our journey through the Data School. In this post I will...

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It’s Official! First Day of the Data School

The Data School. DS11. Day one of the next chapter of our lives! A mix of nerves and excitement meant I hardly slept the night before and unfortunately, I came down with a cold. Some paracetamol pills later, I was ringing the buzzer for the Information Lab at 25...

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Alteryx: an introduction to parsing

Parsing: in essence, breaking down a structure into its constituent syntactical parts to analyse individually.   Today Mina walked us through one of her parsing challenges. Alteryx is a lot easier to tackle when someone is guiding you through so maybe this can be of...

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Alteryx Essentials: Multi-Row Formula

The afternoon of Day 2 started with a sort of pre-introduction to Alteryx before the main introduction course of day 3 and 4 of DS11: week 1. As Tableau is part of the Data School interview process we were all fairly familiar with it, but this was the first chance...

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Table Calculations in Tableau vs Alteryx

At first table calculations in Tableau are challenging to get your head around but are extremely useful. If you haven’t been exposed to them check out Andy Kriebel’s blog on setting them up. Due to their complex nature they often get a bad rep. I hope this blog, showing how to do table calculations in Alteryx vs Tableau, will help you appreciate Tableau’s table calculations more!

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Dashboard Formatting Hack: Distribute Evenly

A short blog on a small and often forgotten about dashboard tool! If you ever get random little empty spaces on your dashboard like this:   Or just want more symmetry and even arrangement of your sheets without having to antagonise over each of their exact dimensions:...

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Alteryx: splitting hairs (strings)

Tom and I had our first experience with Alteryx today and our afternoon task was to tidy up some data gleaned from seafood recipes online. You can see how Tom tackled the task of converting the time data from string to numerical here. My task was to split a string of...

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It’s About Time

Converting Strings to Date/Time Format in Alteryx "Learn to walk before you start running" -Carl Allchin Today was day 2 for DS11 and we took our first steps with Alteryx. After leading us by the hand through our first workflow, Carl then encouraged us to try and limp...

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How to create a stacked bar chart from multiple fields

Having spent my second day at the data school getting introduced to Alteryx (and banging my head against the wall), after two hours we had finally cleaned up some data (on popular seafood recipes) and loaded it into Tableau. You can see how Tom and I prepped the data...

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Filtering Hack in Tableau

Filtering your data set lets you focus in on specific questions. However, dragging the filter to the filters card can be time consuming. Save clicks by following this quick hack.

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Scraping a Web Page Part 1- Inspecting the HTML

A lot of information is stored on a Web page.  If there is a pinned map you can obtain spatial data. If there is an image you can obtain its URL link to download it. If there is a table you can find the data stored within. Web scraping allows us to obtain this data. In this series of blogs Ellen and I will be showing you how to use Alteryx to web scrape data. We will use a project we completed at the data school looking at the demographics of the areas surrounding Connells branches. The final visualisation can be found here.

This blog will focus on finding geographical data within the HTML of a website.

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Survey Data: Part 2 – Making a Slanted Bar Chart

In Part 1 I showed four ways to represent Likert data, each with varying levels of complexity. Here, I'm going step by step through the most complicated of those views; the slanted bar chart. Within Part 1, I also explained a typical slanted bar chart will often look...

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Rounding Numbers in Tableau

Rounding numbers in Tableau is a strange one. If you want to round a decimal to a certain number of places, it’s quite straightforward. However, if you want to round to the nearest ten, or nearest hundred, the syntax gets a bit confusing. Here’s my attempt at making it more understandable.

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How to make a Pareto Chart

The Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule) dictates that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause. In a typical Pareto chart, values are often represented within a descending bar chart with a cumulative percent of total represented by a concurrent line. An example...

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Building Classifier Models in Alteryx

From its foundations in R, Alteryx can support quite advanced predictive modelling from a variety of data sources. This week, we learned how to create three kinds of predictive models in Alteryx (Regression, Classifiers and Forecasts).

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Why you should never hard-code in Tableau

If you're a beginner at Tableau, it may be tempting to resort to hard-coding. After all, that's easier than to create complicated calculations, right? I'm going to walk you through an example that demonstrates the downsides of this approach. That being said, let's...

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Playing cupid: Filtering across data sources.

This week has focused on extending and improving our Tableau knowledge, firstly with learning some Tableau Server and then followed by with Tableau Intermediate training. With Andy busy interviewing for the next DS, he left us in the capable hands of Peter Silvester...

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Connecting to Data: Extract or Live?

Extract or Live? Extracts Tableau Data Extracts: (tde or hyper) These are snapshots of data optimised for aggregation. These snapshots are loaded into Tableau’s memory to be quickly recalled/queried for visualisation, accordingly, the database isn’t required to build...

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(LOD) Express(ion) Yourself!

This week was the beginning of the "Intermediate Tableau" section of our training. On Monday we learned all about servers from Andrew (@AndrewPick_TIL). Tuesday and Wednesday were spent with Andy (@VizWizBI) and Gwilym (@GwilymLockwood) going through table and join...

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Alteryx: Turn 3 tools into 1

I’m four weeks into learning Alteryx and if there’s one thing I have noticed it is this; there is usually a way to use one tool instead of a chunky three (or more) tool workflow you have hacked together. This blog post looks at how you can optimise the data input tool to clean up your data source!

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What did it take to get into DS10?

It's final interview day for DS11...20 interviews for two spots. I figured what better way to kick off the day than to show everyone what it took to get into DS10. To show the variety that we get, for some of them I've chosen one of their applications and...

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House Prices, Petitions and Gelato

Week 3 at The Data School was the busiest yet! Since my last blog we had presentations at the end of week 2. We each selected a dataset which we then made into a complete visualisation by Friday lunchtime. I selected UK House Prices and restricted my dataset to focus...

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Tips and Trips in Tableau- Action Filters

What Are Action Filters? Action filters allow higher levels of viz interactivity. By selecting a specific category the dashboard will be filtered to highlight that category. This is shown below. Figure 1 shows the default view of a dashboard. The top products by sales...

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Long live the Post-It™

Monday this week consisted of our session with Caroline Beavon, who is a really engaging infographics wiz. Laptops away, we instead had crayons and Post-Its to work with. Caroline gave us some great ideas to help focus your design, along with tools to use, and...

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Getting Arty and Makeover Monday

This week we're focusing on Visual Analytics and how best to aesthetically convey information. We had a class with Infographics Designer Caroline Beavon (go find her on Twitter and Instagram @carolinebeavon) who gave us a really interesting presentation which showed...

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MM34: Conflict in India

This week, Makeover Monday centred around a data set from ACLED which detailed conflict events around the world. Owed to the wealth of data that could be seen spanning across the countries, the various events became difficult to visualise and explore, so I decided to...

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How to visualise missing dates? #tableautip

I'm going to show you 2 different ways you can show a gap between your missing values in your time series graph. In my example below I wanted to show the gap in time for WWII because the winter Olympics didn't happen in that time period:     The first way to show this...

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Tips and Tricks in Tableau- Sorting in Tableau

Intro to Tips and Tricks in Tableau I don't know how to do a lot of things in Tableau, yet! I have already had several head scratching moments trying to make my Viz's more appealing. I'll sheepishly ask my colleagues for help and they will very patiently show me...

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The Journey of Anthony Bourdain

Another challenge we underwent last week was our own take on Makeover Monday. Week 33 (a slightly belated post) centred around the travels of the late Anthony Bourdain. After a lot of indecision, I finally came up with this: The next day we presented our work....

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Dashboard Week – Day 5

They think it’s all over… and it is now! Phew, dashboard week is over, time to get some proper sleep for the first time since last weekend! Today we only had a couple of hours to make our viz so Andy showed some compassion and gave us already prepared data to load...

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Dashboard week: calculating distance

Friday marked the last day of dashboard week the dataset was about the locations of the bathrooms in the city of Vancouver, there was a time limit to produce something insightful in a visualisation. So I went with the idea of calculating the distance between Vancouver...

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Spice Up Your Viz

On Friday we had to take our brand new Alteryx knowledge and revamp one of our old viz applications for The Data School. I decided to work on my first submission which analysed factors which influence smoking rates across different demographics. This is it here:   On...

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TB Take Two

Our challenge for Thursday and Friday was to redo one of our applications to The Data School, by blending it with another data source using Alteryx and creating a new viz on Tableau. I decided to choose my initial application, which explored the global disease burden...

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Dashboard Week: Day 5 – Toilet Humour

Straight Flush   Well, dashboard week is officially over for DS9. It has been, by far, my favourite week of the DataSchool so far and I'm hoping to take a lot of good lessons forward. Before I share some reflections on the week though I've got to share some of the...

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Dashboard Week Day 5 – The End

Dashboard Week has come to an end and all of DS9 survived! It's been the best week at the DS so far!! Going through presentations, data prep, creating a dashboard, and blogging every day was a fun challenge because I learnt a lot and felt accomplished at the end of...

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Dashboard Week: Day 5 – Public Restrooms in Vancouver

Dashboard week came to an end with a data set about restrooms in Vancouver, Canada. The data was already structured in a Tableau friendly format, so no data preparation was required. Hence, I did not create an Alteryx workflow for today’s exercise. The dimensions of...

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Dashboard week: knowledge is key

For today's dashboard week we received data about major league baseball containing 147 years worth of baseball data from the retrosheet. This was also parsed using the XML tool and we had to use the data dictionary to match the header to the corresponding values. Data...

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Dashboard Week Day 4 – Baseball

Day 4 of dashboard week covered yet another sports dataset: 147 years worth of baseball data. Data preparation was fairly simple as we just needed to obtain headers for every column containing our data. Our Alteryx workflow looked like this: We started with a wildcard...

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Dashboard Week – Day 4

Today’s task was to get a hold of some baseball data and make something of it. The data came from https://www.retrosheet.org/gamelogs/index.html who track and record all of the match data since the 1800’s! Now personally I love baseball and am probably one of only a...

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Makeover Monday and More Alteryx

Day 4 began with presentations and feedback. We were asked to prepare tableaus for Makeover Monday which examined a dataset documenting the travels of TV chef, Anthony Bourdain. It was interesting to see everyone's different interpretations of the data and distinct...

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Dashboard Week Day 4: Major League Baseball

For today’s challenge, we needed to get 147 years worth of data about the Major League Baseball, MLB. The biggest challenge in the data preparation was to obtain the headers for each table, which represented each year/season and to join this onto the data. This was...

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Dashboard Week: Day 4 – MLB Baseball League

Today was another sports data set today. After having already analysed the London Prudential Race cycling data, we changed sports and dived deep into the world of baseball. Retrosheets has data about the MLB available going so far back as of 1871. The data is...

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Dashboard Week: Day 4 – Some American Sport?

Kriebel crushes DS with every baseball game ever Yeah. American sports. Not much of a fan. Sorry Andy and Carl I do enjoy sport though I've never really been inducted into the joys of baseball or football or whatever else there is. I guess I'm missing out, right? In...

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Dashboard week: finding a story

Day 3 was food hygiene data from the food standard agency first we had to download the data and XML parse it because the data is in XML like this: We used an XML Parse tool and included Child Values and Outer XML to include all the data in the outer XML code and inner...

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