1. Shortcuts

Shortcuts are a staple in making Tableau easier. They allows you to make changes quicker and in a more streamlined way. The ones listed below are my favourites:


Ctrl+F to quickly search for a field name

Double click in rows or columns (in a blank space) to either search for a field or quickly type in a calculation/placeholder

Ctrl+Drag duplicates fields


Ctrl+Tab to quickly switch between worksheets

Left and Right Arrow can also switch between worksheets if current worksheet is selected

Ctrl+M to open a new worksheet


Drag X or Y axis to chart for quick colour

2. Show Totals using Reference Lines

Suppose you want to show the total of the bar chart, but you also have something on a lower level of detail e.g. Superstore Category and Segment.

We want to achieve something similar to this.

Just add a reference line from the custom part of the analytics by dragging to cell pane.

Change the line settings as such.

Finally adjust the alignment by formatting the line to right-aligned horizontally and middle aligned vertically.


3. Switch Between Different Charts

Switching between measures using a parameter is quite easy. But what happens if you want to show the measure you switch to in a different chart type?

In the picture above, we see there are several measures. However, we may wish to visualise state as geographically instead of as a bar, as there are 50 states. Like so:

Well Tableau actually has no in-built function that allows this, so the key is to overlay two sheets on a dashboard. So, create a new sheet with the map you want to show. Now to make sure the sheets appear interchangeably, you need to create a condition that shows and hides them on a condition.

Put the Filter on only 0 for the State and only 1 for the other sheet. This will turn the sheet with all the other measures into a blank when state is selected for the parameter. Thus giving the illusion of swapping chart types on one sheet.

A similar trick can be used to hide the legend dynamically when swapping between measures.


4. Add/Remove to set

The add and remove dashboard is often used to see changing in running total or add key marks of interest for later investigation. To achieve this, you will need to use dashboard set actions.

First create an empty state set with just one state and then move this to the colour of your mark.

Choose a dull colour for out of the set and a brighter one for in the set.

Now create a new sheet with the states in the set. This will act as a sheet to display which states the user has added and also be able to remove from.

Use the same colour as state in the set and also change the shape to a ‘X’ to indicate it can be removed from the list.

Create 2 set actions on the dashboard: Add and Remove.


5. Show/Hide Containers

Say we want to show more information about all the marks we just added into the set. We don’t have enough real estate on our current page anymore.

Firstly, we must create a floating container and then shift-click and drag the desired sheet inside.

Then double click on the top of the container until it turns blue.

Click on the Show/Hide Container option.

You will see a cross in which you can edit into either text or images. You can also choose different ones based on showing or not showing (you can be creative here).


6. Tableau Extensions

Tableau actually offers a wide variety of extensions. Here are some noteworthy free ones:

Tired of spending a lot of effort on a sankey diagram only to get humiliated by everyone and change it to a bar chart? With this automatic sankey generator only suffer the humiliation without wasting the effort!

Biligence Sankey Diagram


Fan of PowerBI because of its in-built drilldown tree function? Well fret not, with this extension you can also easily make your favourite chart again in Tableau!

AppsforTableau Drilldown Tree


Have a lot of filters that can be easily messed up? This extension provides allows you to save a default filter setting and then quickly revert back on a click!

Tableau Filter Bookmarks

Sean Gu
Author: Sean Gu