Posts by Robin Kennedy

Bite-sized Tips , Tricks and Tutorial videos for Tableau and Alteryx

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014

Remember that time where your colleague showed you some really simple trick in Tableau and it turned out to be so super helpful you now use it in all your workbooks? Remember those few clicks of the mouse the instructor made on that Alteryx training day you attended that you just knew would be able to solve a whole host of work problems you had? We do. Collectively we have had so many of these moments at The Information Lab, we just can’t help ourselves from showing each other again and again. We really, really want to share as many of these with you as possible so this post is part of a new...

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Using Tableau’s Replace Data Source function

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014

Tableau has a great little feature that allows you to change all worksheets and dashboards in a workbook at once so that they use a different data source. This is useful for a number of reasons such as changing to a more up-to-date version of the data (if the original data file cannot be updated), swapping in a new data source if the original has been lost, changing from a file based data source (e.g. Excel) to a server based data source (e.g. SQL Server) or to migrate from a ‘test’ environment data source to a ‘production’ one. This functionality is accessed either from the Data >...

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Tableau file types and extensions

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013

You can generate quite a few file types when using Tableau. This post looks at all the different file extensions you can save your work in, what they contain, why you would use them and how they are generated Tableau Workbook (.twb) This file type is probably the most common that you will see and create when working with Tableau. It is in XML format (try editing it in a text editor) and contains all the information on each sheet and dashboard that is contained within your workbook. Information such as what fields are being used in each view and how measures are being aggregated, the...

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Fitting a Gaussian (normal distribution) curve to a histogram in Tableau

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013

We were recently asked to help a customer use Tableau to draw a best-fit Gaussian curve from his data of suppliers and their scores. Whilst Tableau doesn’t have this sort of statistical analysis built-in, once you get your head round the normal distribution formula, it’s just a matter of configuring a few calculated fields. First of all, let’s look at our data in it’s raw format. We’re using a simple example here of customers and profit figures. There is 1 row per customer, along with their total profit for all transactions. If your data has more than 1 row per customer (perhaps 1 row per...

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How NOT to use Tableau

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013

Here at The Information Lab we work with a very wide range of different customers; large and small organisations, Tableau beginners and accomplished users, and across many different industries. We have had the privilege of seeing and helping construct some really great output from using Tableau and, well, some of the not-so-great. People often get stuck with Tableau because they’re trying to do something it is just not designed to do. This might be because they are used to using other BI / MI tools and don’t know any other way, or because they don’t fully understand the implications of what...

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