Select Page

The first time I had to present some analysis to a senior executive at my company, I was totally petrified.

I had no idea what made a “good” analysis and what made something “bad”.

While I know I included a chart or two in the presentation, I’m sure that I didn’t follow basic data visualization best practices.

You could say that I was completely winging it. Not good.

If I had a tool like Tableau back then I would have been set. 

I did the best I could with the skills, knowledge, and tools I had that that time.

But with the step by step guide below, you can avoid all of the embarrassing mistakes. (I actually put together a PDF checklist that you can download now for free)

Instead of feeling inadequate or like you’ve missed something obvious, you can be confident with the skill you’ll learn in this guide.

You won’t have to be worried (like I was) that your boss or manager will ask you to slice and dice some numbers and THEN not even be able to answer that basic question.

Tableau is great for working with data quickly and easily. This guide shows you the best way to get up to speed with Tableau…fast.

In this step by step Tableau tutorial for beginners you will learn:

  1. 5 super specific examples on what you can improve in your Tableau projects
  2. How to recreate a graph in Tableau to impress your coworkers and colleagues
  3. The best way to share your work with others so you can get feedback and avoid embarrassment

 

Here’s what you are going to be able to do by the end of this guide

Tableau Tutorial Before and After

Download the checklist version of this guide for free

Want to save some time or keep a copy of this guide for yourself? Download the PDF version of this guide for free right now.

  • One page PDF document
  • Link to companion Tableau workbook included
  • Keep as a reference to save time on your next Tableau project

Download Now

Part #1: Find a Few Things that can be Fixed Quickly

The first thing to do is identify a few problems with an existing chart. I’m going to show you the exact process I go through.

Thing #1 that needs to be fixed with the original chart in my example:

Country comparisons

Tableau Tutorial Before and After Examples

Trying to compare the countries here was very hard because the circles were so far away from each other.

Plus, circles are just harder to compare period.

You’ve gotta consider the area and all of that math stuff which I’m not great at…

For example, with a circle it’s pretty tough to see if something is 25% bigger or 35% bigger.

Much easier to compare the countries with a bar chart so that’s what I did

Thing #2 that needs to be fixed:

Not highlighting the most important metrics

Tableau Tutorial Before and After Examples

The entire point of the original chart is the percentage of local citizens to visitors in a particular country. Okay got it.
But the chart here from Intrepid Travel (I’m sure they are awesome people!) completely hides that key piece of data.

Here’s what I mean

In the before screenshot above, you can see that the number are super duper tiny. This is the MOST important metric in the whole thing. Not good.

But in the after screenshot, I actually went ahead and made the that index percentage front and center.

I used that index percentage number for the length of the bar chart and put the number in the label, too.

Again, this is the most important piece of information for this chart, so it’s worth hitting people over the head with it.

Thing #3 that needed to be fixed:

Using super-precise data when it’s not needed

This one might seem like I’m nit picking. But I’m not.

Most people want to glance at a graph or a chart and get the gist pretty quickly.

They do NOT want to burn calories on understanding your data.

Well, I’m telling you that getting down to “Census Beaurau” (I can never spell that word, btw) level accuracy just isn’t needed most of the time.

Even worse, it’s exhausting for your audience and distracts from the broader point.

So, I rounded all of the numbers in Tableau. Takes about 7 seconds and really makes the entire thing easier to read.

Thing #4 that needed to be fixed in this original chart:

Confusing color scheme

Tableau Tutorial Before and After ExamplesThis one is somewhat minor because there were really only two colors.

But I was honestly getting lost trying to keep which color (dark green or light green) belong to which type of person (visitor or local citizen)

Now, I’m not a big fan of separate color legends although some people are and that’s usually okay.

What I like to do is embed the colors into the visualization somehow.

Take a look at the after screenshot above to see what I mean.

Thing #5 that I fixed in this chart:

Mismatched countries and categories

Tableau Tutorial Before and After Examples

For this fix, I simply created two different Tableau worksheets (one for each tourism index category) so that they were grouped together.

The original chart seemed to have them mixed together, I’m not sure exactly why.

As you can see below, my updated chart created with Tableau makes it super easy to understand what the reader is actually looking at.

Final Before and After shot of my Tableau recreation
Tableau Tutorial Before and After

Okay, so that was step 1: identifying issues with any data visualization. Maybe it’s your chart from 6 months ago. Maybe it’s your  coworks. Heck, maybe it’s MINE! 🙂

So let’s get on to the fun part already. In Step #2, I’m going to show you the step by step method to fix this busted chart. Let’s roll!

Part #2: Make the Chart Look Awesome in Tableau

There are 7 steps to create the entire chart from scratch. 

STEP 1 Connect to the data

– The data is hosted on data.world so sign up if you need to.
– Connect to the data source in Tableau
https://tableau.data.world/?dataset_name=makeovermonday/2018w24-tourism-density-index
– Open the sheet when you are ready to get started!

View post on imgur.com

STEP 2 Create 3 calculated fields

– “Category Upper”: UPPER([Category])
– “Country Upper”: UPPER([Country])
– “Locals Outnumber % Round”: ROUND([Locals outnumbered by tourists by %],2)

View post on imgur.com

STEP 3: Set default properties for all fields

– “Locals” and “Tourists” fields: Number (Custom) > Decimal Places: 1 > Display Units: Millions (M)
– “Index % fields”: Number: Percentage > Decimal Places: 0

View post on imgur.com

STEP 4: Create the bar charts

– Columns card: Locals Outnumber % Round, Number of Tourists and Number of Locals measures
– Set dual axis for Number of Tourists and Number of Locals measures
– Rows card: Category and Country dimensions
– Set the chart types to bars and adjust the colors

View post on imgur.com

STEP 5: Add filters and adjust axis

– Filter by Category to show only Overtourism countries
– Sort country by Locals Outnumber % Round
– Expand the chart so it fills the whole screen

View post on imgur.com

STEP 6: Add and format labels and axis

– Adjust the bar chart sizing and positioning to make sure that everything is visible
– Labels shouldn’t overlap each other or the bar chart
– Make sure that the axis are synchronized

View post on imgur.com

STEP 7: Create the dashboard

– Add the chart titles and adjust formatting
– Add the Overtourism worksheet to the left side of te
– Add the Undertourism worksheet
– Remove any legend boxes that are added automatically
– Remove grid lines and borders
– Add annotations to marks (as needed)
– Add text section at top for chart title

View post on imgur.com

Part 3: Share What You’ve Made with Someone You Care About

Since this part is so quick, all of the steps are in one animated gif 🙂

If you want to share your work with the world (and build your Tablea portfolio at the same time). Follow these steps.

Step 1: Sign into your Tableau public account in Tableau. Create one for free if you don’t already have one.

Step 2: Publish your creation.

Step 3: Gather feedback and adjust your chart as needed. For example, you’ll notice that I forgot to clear out the tool tips in my video walkthrough so I did that AFTER publishing. Easy!

BONUS STEP: Shoot me a quick tweet about your creation. Include a screnshot of your chart and a link to the Tableau Public workbook. Connecting with other Tableau #DataPeeps is always great!

View post on imgur.com

Tableau Tutorial Youtube Walkthrough

Watch me work through all of the details to rebuild this chart from scratch in Tableau

Conclusion

Fixing a chart with Tableau is a great way to show off your skills and impress the people you work with.

Just be sure to follow these basic steps as a guide to help you avoid making mistakes or being afraid to present your work.

Here’s what you learned:

Part 1: Find a Few Things that can be Fixed Quickly

Part 2: Make the Chart Look Awesome in Tableau

Part 3: Share with Someone You Care About

I’ve put together a killer package of Tableau training materials as a companion to this guide. You can download them all for free by Tableau training materials to go along with this complete step-by-step guide. Everything here will kep you create awesome Tableau charts, graphs, and dashboards.

You will get

  1. PDF checklist version of this Tableau tutorial
  2. PowerPoint deck with the before and after screenshots
  3. My personal Tableau workbook for this project with all of my formatting tricks

Access all of the bonuses by entering your email here.

Download the checklist version of this guide for free

Want to save some time or keep a copy of this guide for yourself? Download the PDF version of this guide for free right now.

  • One page PDF document
  • Link to companion Tableau workbook included
  • Keep as a reference to save time on your next Tableau project

Download Now

Tableau & Google Sheets Checklist

This one-page checklist PDF will help you learn how to upload your data into Google Sheets and build an awesome Tableau dashboard without wasting time.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

4 Things For Every Tableau Dashboard Creator

This free 4-page eBook PDF will walk you through the 4 most important steps for creating a Tableau dashboard

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Massive List of Tableau Tools

Tableau is even more powerful with these 20 tools you might not know about. The 2-page PDF includes a description and helpful links for each tool to get you started.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Career Boosting Business Analytics Trends

Use this list as a road map to take you from boring data job to the GO-TO PERSON in your company that knows the answers to all the questions.

All set! Check your email :)

Massive List of Free Data Viz Books

Download the FULL listing of 10 free data visualization books covering dozens of topics across 100s of pages. All nice and neatly organized in an awesome Google Sheet for you to print or copy.

All set! Check your email :)

Tableau Dashboards: Beginner’s Guide (Free PDF)

Get the full 2-page PDF with the 5 steps outlined in this guide + 3 bonuses to help you along the way

BONUS #1: 5 Beginner mistakes to avoid

BONUS #2: Video walkthrough

BONUS #3: Links to the the Google Sheet and final Dashboard

All set! Check your email :)

How to Create 6 Different Tableau Bar Charts (Free Guide)

Get the step-by-step guide to create all 6 different types of Tableau Bar Charts (with copy-and-paste calculated fields included) for free.

 

All set! Check your email :)

Massive List of Tableau Web Data Connectors(Free List)

Download the list of 21 different Web Data Connectors for Tableau in this Google Sheet (save a copy for yourself, too!) 

All set! Check your email :)

Slope Graph Examples PDF + Dashboard Walkthrough Video

This 4-page example PDF lists 10 examples of slope graphs curated from around the web with author links for each one. You'll also see the 16-minute walkthrough video where I create an interactive Tableau Dashboard from scratch. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Download the Tableau Tutorial PDF Checklist & Workbook

The step-by-step checklist for fixing busted charts with Tableau PLUS the full workbook with all of my formatting and calculations for free.

Tableau Tutorial Chart Redesign

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Download the TableauHighlight Tables PDF Guide

The step-by-step guide for creating Tableau highlight tables
(plus direct links to the YouTube video walkthrough and link to final Tableau workbook)

You have Successfully Subscribed!