How to Create Dashboard in Tableau

Dashboard is the most effective tool in visualizing your data simply and easily. It allows you to see the real-time traffic or a stock ticker feed from your website; it helps you understand the marketing effectiveness by using tailored time series chart, seeing detailed web search reports, social media popularity and viewing bounce rate for each publishing channel. In this article, we are going to walk through some common scenario regarding dashboards in Tableau 8.0.

A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information possible. Because it covers a lot of data, people are able to grasp it quickly, and also share it with others. A dashboard will help you quickly answer fundamental questions at a glance. You can find more Tableau tutorials on Lynda.com

Set up your dashboard

You want to emphasize that certain items sold in certain places are doing poorly. Your bar graph view of profit and your map view demonstrate this point nicely.

  1. Click the New dashboard button.The New Dashboard icon
  2. In the Dashboard pane on the left, you’ll see the sheets that you created. Drag Sales in the South to your empty dashboard.
  3. Drag Profit Map to your dashboard, and drop it on top of the Sales in the South view.Your view will update to look like this:

But sadly, the bar chart is a bit squished, which isn’t helping your boss understand your data.

The tabular data will not give us as much information as it contains; the messy format and large numbers of entries make it difficult to do further analysis. So here comes the birth of different data visualisation tools and techniques. Data visualization is the art of presenting data in different graphical charts so that non-technical people can understand it easily. Using a perfect combination of elements like colors, dimensions, and labels can create a masterpiece of visual reports that can reveal surprising insights, making businesses more growth.

An increase in data analytics and data integration has made way for more specialized visual analytical tools. Typically files like excel spreadsheets are very good with analytics and visualization, but it has limitations like it can not handle big data, which is our main concern. On the other hand, specialised software leverages easy operation on both static and dynamic data, computational speed, self-service function, and interactive visualization facilitate users to pull up a report or dashboard or storyline and freely deep dive to granular levels of information. 

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Tableau is one of the most used data visualization tools used in all industries, which helps o create interactive graphs and charts in the form of worksheets and dashboards to gain hidden insights easily. All this is made simple with gestures like drag and drop. Today, we mainly discuss creating an interactive dashboard and storyline for a given problem statement in this article. 

Problem Statement:

A superstore is a very large supermarket which often sells household goods, clothes, electrical goods, and office furniture. So we need to find weak areas and strong areas where we can increase the profit. The dataset is available in CSV format, and you can download it from here.    

To work with tableau, you need to install it first. There are three versions of tableau, namely Public, Desktop, and online, out of which the Public version is available for free and for this tutorial, we are using it. I recommend this article if you are new to tableau; here, you will get a clear idea for installing, loading the data and creating the charts.

Our dataset contains 13 attributes which contain information such as state, region, total sales done, total profit obtained, and so on. You can take a look at the spreadsheet and look at our dataset below;   

Load the worksheet:

As the format of the data file is CSV, we need to load it as a text file from the home page of the tableau interface and later open a blank sheet from the bottom menu; you will get the interface like as below; 

Tableau categorizes the dataset’s attributes majorly in two types, i.e. Dimensions (inside the black box) and Measures(inside the brown box), which means categorical and numerical/continuous variables.

Carefully observe the above, specifically the highlighted part of the image, as we will spend most of our time on this interface. We will place those attributes at the columns tag that we want to place on the x-axis similarly to rows tag variables that we want to display on the y-axis. Fields insides the red box Marks and filters are used to apply color combination, display the count values at the top of the graph, filter out unwanted information from attributes.

From the show me tab (inside right-sided red box), you can control the type of plot that you want to apply; you don’t need to choose those plots as you drag and drop the attributes to the column and rows filed the plot will be automatically generated based on the type of attributes. 

You can navigate between sheets and create new sheets, dashboard and story sheets from the orange bottom box.             

We will now create four plots, i.e. map view of the US, the quantity being sold per category and sub-category, profit per category, and total price per sub-category. Lastly, I will create a dashboard and storyline.

Arrange your dashboard

It’s not easy to see details for each item under Sub-Category from your Sales in the South bar chart. Also, because we have the map in view, we probably don’t need the South region column in Sales in the South, either.

Resolving these issues will give you more room to communicate the information you need.

  1. On Sales in the South, right-click in the column area under the Region column header, and clear Show header.A menu that has Show Header selected
  2. Repeat this process for the Category row header.A menu that has Show Header selectedYou’ve now hidden unnecessary columns and rows from your dashboard while preserving the breakdown of your data. The extra space makes it easier to see data on your dashboard, but let’s freshen things up even more.
  3. Right-click the Profit Map title and select Hide Title.The title Profit Map is hidden from the dashboard and even more space is created.
  4. Repeat this step for the Sales in the South view title.
  5. Select the first Sub-Category filter card on the right side of your view, and at the top of the card, click the Remove icon The Remove From Dashboard icon.
  6. Repeat this step for the second Sub-Category filter card and one of the Year of Order Date filter cards.
  7. Click on the Profit color legend and drag it from the right to below Sales in the South.
  8. Finally, select the remaining Year of Order Date filter, click its drop-down arrow, and then select Floating. Move it to the white space in the map view. In this example, it is placed just off the East Coast, in the Atlantic Ocean.
  9. Click the drop-down arrow at the top of the Year of Order Date filter, and select Single Value (Slider).

Now your dashboard is looking really good! Now, you can easily compare profit and sales by year. But that’s not so different from a couple pictures in a presentation—and you’re using Tableau! Let’s make your dashboard more engaging.

Conclusion

I am so glad you found this course! There are tons of free trainings on YouTube but many are very technical and hard to understand. I draw out scenarios for learning; I like to teach in a visual way and focus on real examples. The dashboard is a powerful tool that helps us present data in a single view. We can have different types of visuals to tell different stories without cluttering the screen, and we can update our dashboard frequently based on new data with few clicks. I hope you enjoy this course as much as I do.

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