In week 2 at the Data School, the focus of our training shifted from Alteryx to Tableau. From sets, parameter actions, to Mapbox and viz in tooltip, this week was packed with intermediate and even some advanced Tableau techniques. This isn’t what usually would happen and typically there would be some intro lessons to get everyone on the same page. But for our cohort, we basically skipped this process as most of us had taken advantage of the lockdown time at home to do plenty of practice with Tableau and even work on Makeover Monday projects, which you might have heard of. As a result, a lot of the Tableau basics have become assumed knowledge. Plus, the coaches don’t want to bore us either .

Among all the techniques we learned in week 2, my favorite is viz in tooltip, which refers to embedding other visualizations in the tooltip of a specific worksheet. The visualization could be either inserted images or some other charts you have created in the same Tableau workbook. The main advantage is that it provides the users with an extra layer of contextual information without you having to put extra charts on your final dashboard. Hence, it can be a big space saver.

Take the Superstore data set for example. If you are new to Tableau, note that this is an in-built data set and is quite often used by people in the Tableau community for educational purpose. Say you want to build a scatter plot showing the sales and profits for every customer, and you also want to show the sales trend for each customer during the given time period in the data set when your user hovers over the points on your scatter plot. This is where viz in tooltip comes in handy. The desired result would look as follows:

Surprisingly, this is actually very easy to achieve if you know the trick. All you need is a scatter plot, a line chart, and then edit the tooltip for the scatter plot. Once the tooltip dialog box pops up, go to Insert -> Sheets, and select the sheet you would like to show in the tooltip. Don’t forget you can edit the height and width of the viz so that it shows up nicely in the tooltip.

Using the viz in tooltip technique, I also did a makeover on my initial viz used for the Data School application. This is the link to my makeover version dashboard. The data set is about Airbnb listings in Manhattan, New York. I wanted to allow my users to be able to not only see descriptions about any specific listing that they hover over on the map, but also see a snapshot of nearby listings such that they get a general idea of what the listings are like in the region. Here is what the result looks like.

Essentially, I duplicated the listing map and added two calculated fields that rounded the latitude and longitude respectively for each listing. After inserting the sheet in the tooltip, it is important to then use the rounded latitude and longitude as filters. Otherwise, the tooltip would simply show all listings in Manhattan, which isn’t what I wanted. The tooltip should eventually look like this:

There is also a Youtube video that goes into more depth about this technique, which can be found here.

As a final note, remember that tooltip is also an important part of your visualization. Sticking with the default format and style can sometimes be an indication of lack of commitment. In most cases, a little bit of extra work can make your tooltip much more visually appealing and user-friendly and leave a stronger impact, especially if you plan to get into the Data School.


Romy Li
Author: Romy Li

Data Consultant DSAU6