My Top X Very General Tableau Tips

by Débora Contente

The truth is that I’m still learning every day, so I am planning on keeping this list updated and add more stuff over time. Hence the X…


1 – Crayons are your friends.

Please sketch, sketch some more and sketch again! Although Tableau is a super fast tool, it helps a lot when you already have an idea of what you want to create. Especially when it comes to layout all the containers in your dashboard! If you don’t have a vision of what you want, that task will become a real nightmare.

2 – Lots of sheets are your friends.

This is something that I’ve only recently learnt – don’t stick to your original idea too much. When you want to answer a question, try to do it by answering in different ways, different charts, different sheets. If you are a bit indecisive as I am, it will then be more difficult to make the choice of what you want to include in your final design, but I promise you that it is worth it. As you have different choices to choose from, you’ll be more likely to end up with the best way of answering your question!

3 – Think about your user.

Even with the same dataset, your dashboard must be very different accordingly to the user it is aimed at! For example: if you have data on a coffee shop, a dashboard built for the manager will definitely not be built to answer the same questions if the aim user would be the clients of the coffee shop!

Be Lazy

4 – Have a document with all your most frequently (or long/difficult) calculations.

I truly believe that being lazy can be one of your biggest strengths as this will allow you to find the fastest way to get to your result! In this case, if you have a document with all your calculations, when you need it you don’t even need to think about them again, you can just use the magic of copy and paste!


5 – Think about your user again.

Yes. Thinking about the users is so important that I’m mentioning it twice! And I’m overusing exclamation marks as well! Whichever your user, letting them know how to interact with the viz you created is crucial! I have written an entire blog post on it – click here to have a read.

6 – Grayscale is a very good start.

One of the things we learn at the Data School is how sometimes we overuse colours! One good method to follow to avoid that is to start building your dashboard with no colours at all. After having everything built, choosing your colours will be much more meaningfully rather than just starting by it.

7 – Keep an eye on the Data School blog. Or Google is your friend. Whatever.

This week I’ve heard someone else saying “sometimes consultants are nothing else than better at googling than other people”. Of course, that is an exaggeration, but the truth is that we use Google a lot! Especially in the Tableau Community, there is so much good content out there that you are a bit of a fool if you don’t use it… I would highly recommend you to read the Data School blog. I’ve heard it’s a really good one! Wink Wink.

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