Colour coded and parameter driven labels

One of the simplest but still one of my favourite Tableau tricks to add that little bit of extra insight into your visualisations is the ability to colour code your data labels.

Tableau doesn’t allow you to make certain labels go one colour and other labels another colour depending on a variable, so I’m going to show you how to get around it.

Note that this tip also used to apply to tooltips and can still be applied to them, but now you can embed worksheets into tooltips, that is an alternative way to achieve the same thing.

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Exporting larger datasets to Excel

Tableau’s ability to Export to Excel is really useful, and has saved me many hours down the years. This functionality is currently still lacking in PowerBi (sorry Jack but you know its true) compared to Tableau.

Quite often you will export your Tableau data to Excel to send somebody an extract of the data, maybe that person doesn’t have Tableau or the data is part of a much bigger piece of work and doesn’t warrant a whole Tableau Workbook getting sent. Sometimes these datasets will be large and can be quite a faff to sort out in Excel once it has exported. So here are a couple of tips to help reduce those woes.

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Synchronising Axis greyed out- how to fix

Synchronising your double axes charts so that your two or more measures share the same scale is something almost everyone uses at some point. But sometimes, almost randomly, the Synchronise Axis option is greyed out. Why?! And why is it random?


This problem had annoyed me for many a month before I finally decided to try and work out how to fix it. And it turns out it is ridiculously easy to fix.

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Tableau’s data union- too useful not to share

Most data analysts will admit that up to 80% of their time is spend doing “data prep”, sorting out the data that will be analysed and presented to the end user. So anything that we analysts can do to reduce that time means more actual analysis, right?

For me, part of this data prep involved joining lots of reports together, adding variables manually that I would later use in Tableau. It takes ages and is likely to incur human error into your data. Tableau’s ability to union your data together is a massive time saver so I’m quickly going to show you how its done.

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Absolute and partial match filtering

In my previous post about Smarter Wildcard Matching, I showed you how to use a Tableau parameter to improve the capabilities of search filtering in large sets of data. In this post I will show you how to add a partial match to this, where your data matches one or more of your search terms but not all of them.

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Smarter Wildcard Match Filtering

Tableau method for wildcard filtering using multiple search terms.

Tableau’s Wildcard Match and Custom Value List filters are all well and good but they are limited. Both of them require that your search terms are in the correct order and the Custom Value List makes you click each individual item you want to include. For example, searching for “A4 Paper” would not return the [Product Name] “Paper A4”. This is an especially big problem if your field contains thousands of different values with little or no hierarchy to make your search easier.

This is where this Tableau trick can help. It allows you to search for multiple strings in any order, and Tableau will return a list of all items that contain all of those strings.

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