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Crazy fast charts…

I continue to be amazed by how quickly data visualisations can be put together in Tableau Desktop – here I show some of the most basic charts and demonstrate how they can be built in 10-20 seconds. 

This allows an amazing level of productivity – or more accurately, the time saved creating the basics of data visualisation can be used to have many attempts at solving the same problem – ultimately resulting in a better solution for your end users.

Alternatively, you can just complete your work hours earlier and go home!

All the following examples make use of the sample ‘Superstore Sales’ data provided with Tableau.

 

Rapid viz #1 – Simple line chart – 6 moves

 

1.  Move the sales measure onto rows

2.  Move the order date dimension onto columns

3.  Expand the order date dimension to Quarter (by pressing the + on YEAR)

4.  Expand the order date dimension to Month (by pressing the + on QUARTER)

5.  Remove QUARTER by dragging the field back to the data window

6.  Fit the chart to the window by setting the drop down in the toolbar to ENTIRE VIEW

Done.  < 10 seconds.

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Rapid viz #2 – A map of sales figures – 2 moves

 

1.  Double click ‘Customer State’

2.  Move the ‘Sales’ measure on to the size shelf

Done. < 5 seconds.

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Rapid viz #3 – A data table – 3 moves

 

1.  Double click ‘Product Sub-Category’

2.  Double click ‘Order Date’

3.  Double click ‘Sales’

Done.  < 3 seconds.

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Rapid viz #4 – Stacked bar – 3 moves

 

1.  Move ‘Sales’ onto rows

2.  Move ‘Category’ onto colour

3.  Move ‘Region’ onto columns

Done.  < 5 seconds.

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Rapid viz #5 – Bar chart with shaded bars – 4 moves

 

1.  Move ‘Customer State’ to rows

2.  Move ‘Sales’ to columns

3.  Sort the rows using the ‘One Click Sort’ in the toolbar

4.  Move ‘Profit’ to colour

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Rapid viz #6 – Percent of total – 4 moves

 

1.  Move ‘Region’ to rows

2.  Move ‘Sales’ to columns

3.  Sort the rows using the ‘One Click Sort’ in the toolbar

4.  Switch the ‘Sales’ pill on columns to show ‘Percent of Total’ – this is done using the drop down from the sales pill:

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Rapid viz #7 – Year over year running totals – 4 moves

 

Take care with this one, it requires some new moves!  You will need to learn to drag and drop data items using the RIGHT mouse button.

1.  Drag ‘Order Date’ to columns using the RIGHT mouse button, select MONTH when prompted.

2.  Drag ‘Order Date’ to colour using the RIGHT mouse button, select YEAR when prompted.

3.  Drag ‘Sales’ to rows

4.  Switch the ‘Sales’ pill on columns to show ‘Running Total’ (one of the quick table calculations)

 

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Rapid viz #8 – Histogram – 1 move

 

We’ll use SHOW ME to get this done in a single move…

1.  Select ‘Product Base Margin’ from the measures pane.  Click on ‘Show Me’ and select histogram.

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Rapid viz #9 – Multiple series on one axis – 4 moves

 

1.  Double click ‘Order Date’

2.  Drag ‘Order Date’ to columns (to the right of YEAR(Order Date)) using the RIGHT mouse button, select MONTH when prompted.

3.  Drag ‘Sales’ to rows

4.  Drag ‘Profit’, and drop it on the VERTICAL AXIS.  Notice the icon change to show two axes when you reach the drop area

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Rapid viz #10 – Multiple series on a dual axis (bar and line) – 5 moves

 

1. Double click ‘Order Date’

2. Drag ‘Order Date’ to columns (to the right of YEAR(Order Date)) using the RIGHT mouse button, select MONTH when prompted.

3. Drag ‘Sales’ to rows

4. Drag ‘Profit Ratio’, and drop it on the RIGHT EDGE OF THE CHART. Notice the icon change to show a vertical axis when you reach the drop area

5.  Right click in the LEFT VERTICAL AXIS and change the MARK TYPE to BAR.

 

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That’s enough for now.  If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to draw many of the chart types you are familiar with in seconds – what you do with all your spare time is up to you!

 

Download the workbook HERE

Tom Brown

London, UK

5 thoughts on “Crazy fast charts…

  1. Really nicely done, Tom. Double clicking items to create charts rapidly is so satisfying. One possible extra is where you create charts by ctrl-clicking the items you're interested in and then press the magic show me button. For example ctrl click customer name, sales and profit. Then click 'Show Me' and OK. Tableau will immediately create a scatter plot of sales vs profit for each customer.

  2. Very impressive indeed – I am amazed at the speed with which we can create charts! No wasted energy. Though this post is a few years old, it is still very relevant. I played around a bit by double-clicking to figure out how Tableau is interpreting my signals. Is there any article that explains how Tableau interprets our double-click actions?

    1. Hi Siraj,

      Tableau’s automatic double-click functionality brings fields into play as per visualisation best practice and a number of other variables (the field’s data type, the type and placement of other fields in play, is the field a dimension or measure, continuous or discrete).

      The online help guide offers some more detail here

      Thanks Siraj and have fun!

      Beverly

  3. This post has been very helpful while learning and teaching Tableau. Would love to see a new version using some of the new functions from Tableau 10 if you are using it.

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