Tableau Tiling It’s Like MagicBy: Adam Nathan | February 8, 2017
There are many important choices we are forced to make in life. Coke or Sprite? Star Wars or Star Trek? In Tableau, it’s floating or tiling?
To be fair, there are benefits to using both kinds of layouts. With floating, there is more flexibility in positioning and more precision in sizing. With Tableau tiling, there is more adaptability when viewing a dashboard in different mediums and sizes, and more structure and more control with displaying sheets. Here, I’ll describe two examples illustrating how you can tile and control displaying sheets or, “tile like magic,” as I like to call it.
Tableau Tiling While Excluding Values
By using Tableau tiling layouts and dashboard actions, you can hide views until they are selected and become relevant. Being able to save space on your dashboard and properly view different sheets as you down on them can be incredibly useful. Here is how to do it:
1. Click “Show dashboard title” (on the bottom left), edit text as desired, and drag a blank object under it (optional).
2. Drag a horizontal container into the vertical container. Place a text object “Top 5000 Companies By” and a blank object (to the right of text) into the horizontal container.
Note: The dashboard title, blank, and horizontal container (with “Top 5000 Companies By” and blank object) will not disappear in this case and can also be built outside of the vertical container too. The horizontal container is only necessary for the parameter title to appear on the same line as the parameter (what is shown is a text field next to the parameter).
3. Under the horizontal container, drag the sheets (Companies by State, Industry Title, Ranking by Industry, Company Title, and Ranking by Companies) into the vertical container. Remove any legends or filters that you don’t want to show. Drag the Metric Parameter to the right of the text object in Step 2 and remove the blank.
Note: When placing sheets or objects in a container, the container border will turn dark blue and a thin gray band will appear where the sheet or object will enter the container. If the container borders are light blue, the object will be placed outside of that container.
4. Click the menu button at the top right of your sheets and uncheck “Title” and “Fixed Height” to hide the title and make the sheet size dynamic.
5. Create filter actions that run on select and exclude all values when clearing the selection.
Note: This dashboard is drilling down from State > Industry > Company. The “Filter by State” action will filter sheets related to both Industry and Company, but the “Filter by Industry” action will only filter Company sheets.
Voila! You created a dashboard with sheets that magically appear and disappear. This is useful when you want to control what and when the user sees a view. With this, you can guide users through your viz, show more information or sheets by shrinking views after selection, and even let users shuffle between similar sheets with a parameter. In cases where your data can be drilled down many levels (Category to Sub-Category to Product), you can show both a very high level overview and a very detailed view, all in the confines of your precious dashboard real estate.
Using Tableau Tiling to Show Parameter Selected Sheets
Now, consider a case where you want to show specific information/sheets based on a parameter selection. In the sheet below, I am displaying ethnicity and age data for enrolled students and disenrollment reason for disenrolled students. Follow the steps below to recreate this dashboard:
1. Click “Show dashboard title” (on the bottom left) and edit text as desired.
2. Drag “Disenrollment Reason” sheet onto the vertical container and a horizontal container under that sheet.
Note: The order of the sheets or containers do not matter.
3. In the horizontal container, drag “Ethnicity” and “Age” sheets side by side. Adjust the width as desired.
4. Drag a horizontal container above “Disenrollment Reason.” Place the parameter into the container and then add blank objects to the left and right of it.
5. Click the menu button at the top right of your sheets and uncheck “Title” and “Fixed Height” to hide the title and make sheet size dynamic, respectively.
6. Create parameter to allow users to select “Enrolled Students” or “Disenrolled Students.”
7. Then create a calculated field that returns “show enroll” or “show disenroll.”
8. Drag this calculated field onto all the sheets you want to control (Ethnicity, Age, and Disenroll Reason, in this case). Select “Custom value list” and add “show enroll” for the sheets you want to show for enrolled students and “show disenroll” for the sheets you want to show for disenrolled students.
Note: You must click + at the right of the entered text to add item onto list.
Tada! You just learned another method to make sheets magically appear and disappear! This is useful when you want to show different information and data but cannot do it simply with just a parameter and calculated field.
Becoming a Tableau Magician
Tableau is known for many things. Some of which are its usability, intricate analytics, and ability to dynamically show many Excel sheets worth of charts onto one dashboard. So why not retain that dynamic ability in your layout? Why not have a little fun and make more of your dashboard elements dynamic as well? While this is not for every use case, it is a fun little tool to have in your back pocket. After all, some of the best visualizations are made with both tiling and floating layouts combined! But that’s for another post for another day.
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