Tableau - Naming Conversion

by Liu Zhang
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash

Have you ever got lost in a sea of calculated fields in tableau? Too much into your own world of security code? Then it's time to Kondo your field names.

First we need to know, Tableau sorts all field names by alphabetical order by default, we could change the setting to data source order instead, though often that is not easy to keep track all the field in that case.

To see the options, click the drop down

Note: This blog is on personal preference that helps me, feel free not to adapt it.

To make things easy to track, the general strategy that I use is as follows:

Measure name -> Number -> Description
Example on using Order Date

For any calculated field that is based on some original data source field, I would try to preserve the original name, then adding additional information onto it. The order of appearing may not be essential for everybody, but it is easier to search and see how each field is linked.

The number is used to indicate the order of the calculated field is used, since it is always a good practice to breakdown the calculation into individual piece rather than one long complicated calculation with nested structure, it is easier to debug and pass on to people whom are likely need to follow through the workflow.

We need two values at year level first before we can calculate % of change

The numbering system also offers a more compact way of arrange field names, as we can aggregate the measure that are in the same level in ascending order easily. When multiply calculated fields need to be calculated for a given measure, numbering is also easy to break it down to sub levels.

Some names are just long

When encountered with a variable name that is very long, I prefer to keep the first two word available to maintain the keep information, then abbreviate other information if it is important to keep reminder myself.

Or we can drop the non-essential information

We could also hide the information in the comment, then create a new calculated field just for renaming.

The downside is that it is not the easiest to find the relationship at first glance and it maybe confusing for people to initially pick up the work.

Of course at the end of the day, each one has their own way of proceed with their naming convention.

If it can pass a simple test as follows, it is fine for you.

I can pick up the work on the spot after a period of 6 months

Otherwise you better to find something more consistent to use.

Looking for more guides, tips and tricks in Tableau or Alteryx? Go check out the other blog posts from the Data School.

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