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Tableau Public for beginners

Oct. 1, 2021 | 1 year, 4 months ago

Author: Karina Diaz

Tableau Public for beginners

Now is the time to share with you what I learned during the visualization training at Tableau Public. This being, a reference to what the environment looks like from a beginner's perspective.

To begin, I will define for you what Tableau Public is as a workspace.

What is Tableau Public?

It is a desktop software specialized in visualizations, which makes presenting data in a certain way easier, due to the variety of integrated graphics that it has, since they are of quality and help the visualizers to be able to interact with them.

It allows incorporating the data source in simple Excel files or other sources, which is quite accessible.

The main objective of this tool is that you can answer questions with the data you have and that at the end of this it becomes a story that tells itself.

Calculated fields

On the other hand, if at any time your data source does not include all the fields that you would like to show in order to tell your story, tableau allows you to create them and is what is known as calculated fields, which consists of creating new fields from calculations with the software's own functions or basic mathematical functions, to later be saved as any other field in the data source.

For example:

You have a data source with the monthly income and expenses of a business, and this only includes the monthly gross profit and for you it is necessary to know what the monthly net profit they have is to demonstrate through graphs the growth they are having as a company . So, you need to create a calculated field where you get that value.

Therefore, the calculated field would look like this:

Net profit

[Gross Profit] - [Operating Expenses] - [Financial Costs] -1000 * (1000 = Tax)

Taking into account that the fields included in the data source are:

Month, Sales, Cost of Sales, Operating Expenses, Financial Costs, Gross Profit

So, Net Profit would be a new field of the source that you can use in any other sheet that you need.

And this is a great advantage that Tableau provides you when you need fields that are necessary in your data source to show your visualization with complete and truthful information.


There are different graphs that you can use according to the data you are presenting, at some point I came across a tableau recommendation that is to be able to choose very well the graphs that you will use to present the information, since the way they look varies. and the data is better understood.


Based on the previous example, it is not the same to show the growth of the company's net profit in a simple table with monthly values, to show them in a bar chart where the increase or decrease in profits is clearly seen.

table1table 3

This with practice has helped me a lot and I hope you take it into account to make your visualizations more understandable.

Another point that is quite noticeable is that tableau only enables you the possible graphics that you can use, and selects the one that best suits the representation of the relationship of the fields in an orange box.

Work space

It is quite accessible in terms of the management of the marks it provides, since it allows you to add a bit of design to your fields when you add them to the white space, it is quite useful to be able to make sense of your final graphic because you can play with shapes , colors, sizes or the labels you want to show as information. Apart from that many times they are necessary to understand your graph and I explain why with an example.


When you add a map graph, the “color” mark will help you to distinguish the greatest value from the sum of your data, you only have to pay attention to the colors you use to differentiate where the greatest value is concentrated. Besides that, if "marks" is on automatic, it means that it will recommend a graph that best suits your fields.


When I started to create my first visualization I thought that everything was going to be more complicated than I imagined, but like any other new knowledge, everything begins without knowing anything and the most effective way I found to start with this was to look for examples of visualizations in which I could be inspired.

I will leave you some of them so that you too will be inspired:

In addition to these, you can look for more inspirations in the Tableau gallery, there they provide you with many more and although not all of them can be done due to the limited graphics that Tablea Public has integrated, they will inspire you like me.

I hope I could have encouraged you to start creating short stories using these visualizations in Tableau Public. I recommend that you start by testing the #MakeOverMonday datasets.

by Karina Diaz

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