January 1, 2022

In Our Opinion: Tableau 2019.1 Release

By Luke Stanke

With the the release of Tableau 2019.1, the team got together and shared its favorite new functionalities. Here are our thoughts!

Luke: Ask Data, Export to Powerpoint

I’ve been a skeptic of Ask Data for quite a while, but after working closely with analysts who are answering ad-hoc questions, the release of Ask Data will solve about 60% of their questions and save them even more time. Ask Data doesn’t solve the majority of problems with data but it does cover off a lot of use cases. The biggest challenge will be moving Ask Data in the hands of the analyst to the executive. But if you are Tableau, that’s the type of challenge you want!

As for the export to PowerPoint feature, it’s really bittersweet. I was working on a Tableau Extension to do the same thing when it was announced at Tableau Conference 2018 that this was a feature being added. Tableau has done a nice job realizing a lot of its interactive visualizations end up as static graphics in meetings and have really met the market to solve a need for lots of its clients.

Aidan: Enhanced Search, Data-Driven Alerts on Server, and Export to PowerPoint

As an admin, enhancements to server always take the cake for me. With 2019.1, Tableau improves its interface in two ways: search/browse and alerts. We now get to see and search mixed content types on the same page, rather than filing through the project, workbook, and view tabs. With the new data-driven alert view, users can see all existing alerts and easily add themselves to the list on that schedule by clicking “Add Me.” This may seem like a small change for the Tableau regular, but for a casual server viewer, this is way more intuitive!

I’ve seen many users come up crafty workarounds to get their Tableau Vizzes out to PowerPoint; sure it was possible, but could be a hassle. Tableau saw these, too, and delivered on an option that is finally fuss-free.

Steve: Automatic dashboard phone layouts

It’s the little things that sometimes make a big difference. Traditionally, Tableau Dashboards designed for desktop ended up being very difficult to consume via phone. The resolution of the dashboard was usually much wider than the screen, scrolling was awkward and zooming out was impossible. Now Tableau will automatically resize (and sometimes restructure the layout of) charts within a dashboard so that they are decipherable on a mobile platform.

I have to note that there’s still room for improvement here, but this is definitely I step in the right direction. Ideally, Tableau dashboard developers will use the automatic phone layout as a starting point and consider ways to tweak, or even radically simplify, dashboards for mobile.

Baxter: Tableau Prep Conductor

I’m excited about Tableau Prep Conductor which enables scheduling of Tableau Prep Workflows.  This feature will enable developers to automate some of their most manual tasks to free up more time for advanced analytics and value added projects.  To learn more about how we coach teams on the value of automation, contact us about Tessellation Analytics Management Program (AMP).

John: Tableau Prep Conductor

Using Tableau Prep to automate manual tasks (often done in Excel) is a major time saver. Now, with Prep Conductor, workflows can be automated to run through Tableau Server, which ultimately removes an additional manual step in the analytics process.

Candi: Ask Data

It is really hard to pick just one favorite feature from this release as I feel Tableau has answered a lot of previous ’requests’ but I find ‘Ask Data’ to be the most intriguing.  I think this could open Tableau up to a new group of users and help new users integrate more quickly to the platform. I look forward to seeing where this feature will lead!

Alex: Tableau Prep Conductor, Export to PPT

As someone who has made a career out of preparing data for Tableau, I am very excited to see Tableau Prep Conductor. Every experienced Tableau developer knows that data preparation is most of the work. This really makes it possible to do repeatable data preparation at the enterprise-scale within the Tableau toolset. Tableau is making data preparation so easy I might be out of a job soon. 

I am also excited to see export to PowerPoint. I have not be quiet about my disdain for reporting in PowerPoint. It’s awful and dumb. However, the reality is that directors and executives at my clients still loving seeing screenshots of cool visualizations from Tableau in their familiar PowerPoint decks. This functionality will literally save my clients hours of copying and pasting screenshots in the coming years. Now if only we can convince the C-Suite to just look at the dashboard in Tableau Server…

Shaun: Nested Sorting

I’ll just put it bluntly: Before this release nested sorting was a pain in the addressing. When I clicked the sort button with more than one dimension on a shelf, it would sort the dimensions based on the highest overall and didn’t address to within the individual dimensions. With 2019.1 you can now drag two dimensions to a shelf and click sort and Tableau will sort it the way you would expect; with the highest row at the lowest level of granularity. I know there were nuanced arguments for why Tableau did what it did, but at the end of the day it didn’t make sense. No more workarounds using combined fields, hidden fields or table calculations.

Alicia: Tableau Public Attribution

The Tableau Community asked for it and Tableau Public delivered. Many of us develop our skills by learning from others. Tableau Public had already enabled us to “Steal Like an Artist,” to be inspired and possibly build and expand upon what has already been created. Now with Tableau Public’s new attribution/”Inspired By” feature, we can provide direct links to the original Tableau Public workbook that we learned from. We can also link directly to the original author’s profile. These features make it easier for us to give credit where is credit is due and also help us to acknowledge and promote each other in the community.

Spencer: Export to PowerPoint

Although I like to steer people away from PowerPoint and towards using Tableau as their presentation, I like the ability to export dashboards as PPT. This will allow you to quickly share snapshots of your dashboards via email in an instantly shareable format.

Do you have more questions about Tableau? Talk to our expert consultants today and have all your questions answered!

Data Coach is our premium analytics training program with one-on-one coaching from renowned experts.

Accelerate and automate your data projects with the phData Toolkit