Here are some tips for organizing your dashboard that you can use while in the middle of that three hour design session when you have everything rolling but are being a little sloppy with your naming and organization in your workbook. Use these three tips to help keep yourself organized!
Tip 1: Use Comments
Comments are a feature in Tableau that allow users to see what a field means by hovering over the measure/dimension when the Comment section is populated. This can be extremely helpful when there are multiple fields that look similar but have different meanings, or for times when the field name is misleading/not clear. The most recent application I’ve had for this is when the field names were in a different language. I put the English names in the Comments section so when you hovered over the field name you were able to see the English translation.
To make a Comment, right click on any measure or dimension and select Default Properties, then choose Comment. This will allow you to create a note that will appear any time you hover over that measure/dimension. See the image on the left where the Comment is created, and see the image on the right showing how the Comment is displayed.
Tip 2: Use Folders
When creating complex calculations you will often find yourself creating several calculations that will build up into a more complex final calculation. A great way to separate these out and make finding them easier is to use Folders. This will allow you to group you calculations together which will make development less confusing for you and anyone else who views your workbook after you.
To put all your relevant fields in a folder together, make sure that the Group by field is set to Folder. This will allow your Folders to be manually set. Ctrl+select your desired fields to be grouped and then right click. Choose Folders, then Add to Folder, then click whichever Folder you want the fields to be added to. See below where I have grouped all of my Revenue and Expense calcs together with another folder that includes my ‘Other Calcs’.
Tip 3: Annotate Your Calcs
When creating calculations, it is easy to want to see that ‘The calculation is valid’ indicator and move on, but for enterprise wide calculations and for ease of passing off workbooks, it is good to notate what your calculations mean and what the output is saying.
By putting two forward slashes // before your text, you are able to put text in your calculation box that will not be considered in the actual calculation. This enables us to put notes in each of these boxes. Good notes to put in your calculation boxes may include what the formula means or if there are dependent calculations in the formula.
Tip 4: Use Default Formatting
While cranking through multiple calculations and worksheets it is good to assign your new fields a default format. This way, when you place your new field on the worksheet, you will not have to spend added time formatting every time you use the new field. This is particularly useful for text labels.
In order to create a default number format, choose your desired field, right click and then select Default Properties. This will bring up a variety of options for you to automatically apply to this field, but for this instance select Number Format. Choose the applicable format for your new calculation (or existing field), and every time you drag that field on to your sheet it will appear in this format.
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