Hi all, this blog is about the small things in Tableau that I know, that I think beginners to Tableau might not.

Selecting all of the items in a tableau action

1. Ctrl+A on the action screen can save a little bit of time. If you want everything selected, in order for you to unselect something you can do it this way instead of going one by one and unselecting them.

How to get field labels back

2. Go into the analysis tab of tableau and click field labels to return them.

Custom number formatting

3. How to put a positive symbol in a difference value. Say you have a time series value and you have the difference between 2 years, or periods. You have the minus symbol appearing, when the value is negative, but no plus symbol, when positive.  Go to custom value in the number format, and put a + at the beginning of the format string.For those that can’t see it, the custom formatting is +#,##0;-#,##0

Number–>String–>Number manipulation

4. Say you have a number field that you have turned into a string, because you had to. The number will come out correct, but will lack any separators, so the number one-hundred-thousand becomes 100000 instead of 100,000. To remedy this use a calculation like:

If len(str(round(abs([FIELD])),0)))>=4 then

Left(str(round(([FIELD],0) , (len(str(round(([FIELD]),0)))-1)%3+1+”,”

+if len(str(round(([FIELD],0)))>9 then mid(str(round(([FIELD]),0)) , len(str(round(([FIELD]),0)))-8,3)+”,” else ”” end

+ if len(str(round(([FIELD],0)))>6 then mid(str(round(([FIELD]),0)) , len(str(round(([FIELD]),0)))-5,3)+”,” else ”” end


Else str(round(([FIELD]),0)) end

First, I use the absolute value, because in some of my cases Tableau counts the minus symbol as part of the string length, so putting this in ensures 4 characters as a minimum for a separator to occur. Next I look at values of string length longer than 9, then 6 and apply the separator there. So as long as you don’t have a ridiculously large number this calculation will work. If you do have a larger number, then another line needs to be added where the length above 12 uses mid(11,3). So there is a logical order to things if you want to increase this.

How to show/hide unused fields

5. Hide unused fields. This feature has helped me out tonnes in tableau when trying to clean up a workbook and see how to be leaner with workbooks. You can see which fields are hidden as you can select show hidden fields, these will look grey in the calculations pane. I was able to unhide them by going to the data source section of tableau and selecting all fields and unhiding them that way.

Replacing references

6. If you have a lot of calculations that rely on one or a couple of similar calculations you can replace references to make all places where that calculation is being used be replaced with a different one. In the below example I want to replace the ship date field with the order date field.

Performance testing

7. You can performance test in tableau quite easily. Click on a dashboard and go to help on the right-hand side of the tabs near the top of Tableau. Click on settings and performanceà click start performance recording. Click and change things on the dashboard, maybe click, or make an action activate. Go through the steps again and click stop performance recording. A new workbook will open up to you in Tableau. You can do many things with it, but I like to isolate the time taken for things to load from what data source or from what sheet. You may be able to see which sheets are running slowly.

How to get an object out of bounds

8. This one is a little tricky to explain, but say while building your dashboard you need to stick a sheet up that controls something, but want it fixed and not wanting it to taking up valuable tableau real estate, you can move it over to the side, but you won’t be able to drag it the full way. First, drag it as far as possible without it ‘unselecting’. Then drag the right-hand border to the edge of the screen. Then drag the left-hand border to somewhere on the outer space of tableau. You won’t be able to move it in this space, so in order for it to get around you have to resize constantly on the upper/lower borders.

I hope this post was useful, feel free to try to contact me if you have any questions