Data viz · Tableau

Tableau 9.1.0

The company i work for stopped our Tableau maintenance last year. Maintenance expired on Sept 2015, so the latest version i could get is Tableau 9.1.0.

After almost 12 months using it, i encounter a few uncomfortable things, well whatever you called it, error? bug? problem? limitation?

When i “meet” new problem/error, i tend to look for what cause them, sometimes i find the cause, mostly i don’t. Sometimes error occurred out of nowhere, which is very much making me wanted to flip my desk.

So i make my own Tableau-Error-101 list to remind myself at work :

  • To Synchronize axis (chart with dual axis) : Measures must have the same data type (right click on your Measure >> change data type).
  • Trend line can’t be used for Discrete, change it to Continuous.
  • Tooltips’ Decimal Places depends on Axis’ decimal places which is quite annoying (can’t do anything about that).
  • I have a problem with my data type, a few times. Lets say i have a Measure called “A”, (in excel) it’s a number decimal. But in Tableau it’s Number (whole) instead of Number (decimal), at that time i thought “well i can just change it into Number (decimal), problem solved!“, turns out that’s NOT solving my problem. I can’t use Number (whole), because the Total would be completely different. So in the end i have to copy and paste “A” to another column. One thing i noticed is that, if your data is a number decimal, then your Measure’s “Describe..” should be “double precision” instead of “single precision”.
  • Save workbook failed……” If this happens, I suggest you to read this thread >>

In my case, this famous error occurs a lot (data > 1 million records), what i do to solve this:

  1. Do not close your file, try to open the same file, maybe it’s already saved (happened once).
  2. Delete temporary data (C:\Users\…\AppData\Local\Temp\TableauTemp), and save your work.
  3. Export your important sheets/dashboards to .twb/ .twbx, close file, re-open, import your sheets/dashboard.
  4. If 3 alternatives above are not working, then there is only one way, DO IT OVER! Mostly 1 or 2 sheets, that’s not a lot of work right? Besides, if you wasted 10 minutes over ONE sheet, then you might want to consider changing your design, 10 minutes for one sheet is just too much. Wait, are you sure only 1 or 2 sheets? Well my habit is that after i’ve done with one sheet, i save my work, so that when this error occurred, i know that the latest sheet i touch is the one causing this error, delete, save! (it works every time).

I recommend you to read a blog post about How to auto save your tableau workbook.

One sign this error would likely to happen : Type-in formula in column/row/measure value shelf is not working.

Probably caused by:

  1. Out of nowhere
  2. Abusing undo-redo
  3. Abusing Quick table calculation button
  4. Abusing rename button
  • Highlight dashboard actions is not working, both Highlight and Highlight (generated), look at the pictures below : Highlight and Highlight (generated)

You see, when i highlight “2022”, not all related bar get highlighted. So why is it not working? After re-doing my work, turns out problem occurs because i place “Measure Names” dimension in Marks All card.

1.4 highlight_dashboard actions not working cause

Why do i place it there? In one sheet, different axis, i have 3 different measure values; a, b, and c. By placing “Measure Names” dimension in Marks All card, i can simplify my tooltips :

Alright, that’s all for now, gonna keep updating this list if i encounter more error messages and find more causes. Until then, 뿅!

Data viz · Tableau

Generating high resolution images of Tableau views

The Last Data Bender

[This is one of those posts where I am going to show you something cool and useful, and then advise you that this is something you shouldn’t do. The URL in this post is undocumented and unsupported (by Tableau and by me) so if you are not comfortable with that, go no further. Here, there be dragons…]

Below is a conversation I have semi-regularly with customers:

Customer:  Hey Alan! We love our dashboards and we’d like to use them in some printed materials we produce. Can we do that?

Alan:   Of course you can. You just copy or export an image file and you have a nice PNG, JPG or BMP to work with. Whack that in there and away you go!

Customer:  Yeah, we tried that. But the image file formats are produced at screen resolution and become fuzzy when printed as part of a document. Can we get something…

View original post 582 more words

Data viz · Tableau

Tableau Web Data Connector

First of all, please pardon my English. English is not my first language.
Second of all, i post this as a reminder for myself, if you find it helpful then good for you 😀

Tableau brings data visualization to a whole new level. You can extract data from any website using Web Data Connector (Tableau 9.1).
Alex Ross in his blog Tableau Junkie posted some examples of his web data connector (facebook, twitter, open weather map) check out his Github to download the code HERE.

After reading Alex Ross blog post, i start wondering, what is the very first step to make a connector? i’m not a programmer, i never use javascript, where do i write this whole code? How do i run the code?
Turns out that the answer is available on Tableau’s online help HERE.

Easy huh? But NOT FOR ME. I don’t even understand how to do the first part, it took me three days to work on it. So here it is.
## Obviously you’re gonna need Tableau Web Data Connector SDK (WDC SDK), download HERE and then I extract the file in C:\WDC SDK (for the rest of this post i assumed you also use the same location)
## To work with WDC SDK you need web server running in your computer (source: Tableau Online Help)
Or you can just install Python ( *i use Pyhton 2* and follow the instruction how to use Python for WDC HERE

BUT if you’re as doomed as i am in programming world, then follow my steps below:

1. Download and Install python (example location C:\Pyhton27) >> finish
2. Go to Computer properties >> Advanced system settings >> Environment Variables.. >> Edit Path (Path is in System variables box) >> type ;C:\Python27\ at the end of variable value (do not delete variable value that already exist, just type ;C:\Python27\ at the end of it) >> ok >> ok >> ok
3. Open your command prompt (type cmd in Start search for windows user)
4. Next step, Tableau online help said “Change folders to the location where you extracted the Web Data Connector SDK.”
>> In your command prompt type cd c:\WDC SDK (change c:\WDC SDK to the location where you extracted WDC SDK file) >> enter
5. Still in command prompt (which now show c:\WDC SDK>)
for Python 2.x type python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8888
for Python 3.x type python -m http.server 8888
(if you are already using port 8888 for another purpose, specify a different port – i quoted this from tableau onlinehelp)
6. Done. Congratulation!!! now you can move on to the next instruction a.k.a Part 2

The -supposed to be- easiest part is done.
Good luck in creating the code.

Agent Nia is signing off.

Data viz · Tableau


Data visualization is delicious. Just like 3 pieces of my Doughnut (this doughnut is killing me, it’s 9.24 pm and i want it!!!).

This post is planned to be published a week ago, but due to unexpected laziness of writing down the narration, so…

Well here we go. This post is about my sudden obsession about Data visualization and Tableau. Here is some blog and post from data viz guru and Tableau Zen Master that i found insightful and helpful. Add it to your bookmarks or whatever, it’s up to you.

Data visualization.

Communicating ideas and information. Visually. -Ryan Robitaille- See his post HERE and his blog

Based on my need, data viz is not about pretty graph or colorful chart, but it’s about presenting information in un-misleading simplicity (is my grammar okay?).

Anyway, there are pros and contras about using one of the most loving chart (since excel still has it so i guess people still loves it, like really loves it) which known as Pie Chart. Who hates Pie right? It’s an amazing dessert, i love chocolate pie. I called this pro and contra as PIE WARRR.

Let the war begin.

Timo Elliot post THIS in his blog, he said that there is a research about how our brain shows no difference in pie chart and bar chart perception (read the comment section too).
And then data viz guru Stephen Few also post an article in his blog in reply to Timo Elliot HERE.
Oh my god this is sooo FUN hihihihihi.
There are so much hate on Pie chart. Below is some example of it:






But, you might want to read this too >>

So, is it okay to use Pie chart or not? It depends. Depends on your situation, but if you can use other charts to tell your data better, then why bother?


Enough about the Pie. I have a list of blog you might want to read.

3. (i love Kelly Martin :D)
9. Mike Bostock awesome visualization >>> If you are brave enough, learn how to make it here >>>
10. Must read blog post >>

Tableau is Love, Tableau is Life
3. list of dataviz blog >>>
4. list of Tableau Zen Master blog >>>

Tableau knowledge :
But i make bullet chart using this one (change line chart to gantt bar) >>>
5. Data blending >>
6. (No more losing your hours of work)

There. Done. Finally post this one. Goodnight!!