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Is it possible to incorporate data reshaping into the Tableau Extract Engine?

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Has anyone at Tableau Software ever thought of incorporating the ability to reshape a table as part of the Tableau Extract Engine’s capabilities? I don't know if that is at all practical or possible but our Institutional Research office uses the Microsoft Excel Add-in quite often. This tool is invaluable but I don’t find it particularly convenient to move data to and from Excel every time you want to conduct a reshape of table data. We have not attempted to build our own custom reshaping queries for each of our survey databases but the temptation is growing strong especially because we want to have a more dynamic data collection and reporting cycle.

 

Reshaped tables are very efficient when reporting frequencies and cross-tabulations of, typically, survey data. The idea proposed is to create an integrated application that would offer Tableau Desktop users the option to create an extract of a reshaped table. This facility would allow users to have the flexibility to designate (and change) as many variables (columns) needed to behave both as a dimension (DIM) and answer for every respondent question-answer combination. Did I just confuse the issue?

 

Other references:

 

For example, this sample is from a 4800 row by 132 column table:

 

DIM_01 SurveyDIM_Q_004 Program choiceDIM_Q_003 Credential GoalDIM_Q_005R Age rangesDIM_Q_006 GenderDIM_Q_007 Married?DIM_Q_008 Single parent?DIM_Q_015 Employed while attending NAIT?DIM_Q_015 Employed.ES.matchingDIM_Q_017 High school diploma?DIM_02 REF. IDQ_004 Program choiceQ_003 Credential GoalQ_005 AgeQ_005R Age rangesQ_006 GenderQ_007 Married?Q_008 Single parent?
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Health and SafetyCertificate3835 to 39 yearsMaleYesNo
CEDBusiness and AdministrativeDiploma30 to 34 yearsFemaleNoYesYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes2Business and AdministrativeDiploma3330 to 34 yearsFemaleNoYes
CEDBusiness and AdministrativeDegree45 to 49 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes3Business and AdministrativeDegree4645 to 49 yearsMaleYesNo
CEDHealth and SafetyDiploma30 to 34 yearsMaleNoNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes4Health and SafetyDiploma3230 to 34 yearsMaleNoNo
CEDBusiness and AdministrativeDegree25 to 29 yearsMaleNoNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes5Business and AdministrativeDegree2925 to 29 yearsMaleNoNo
CEDBusiness and AdministrativeCertificate30 to 34 yearsFemaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekNo6Business and AdministrativeCertificate3330 to 34 yearsFemaleYesNo

 

... after reshaping, it becomes a table with 176,222 rows and 13 columns:

 

 

DIM_01 SurveyDIM_Q_004 Program choiceDIM_Q_003 Credential GoalDIM_Q_005R Age rangesDIM_Q_006 GenderDIM_Q_007 Married?DIM_Q_008 Single parent?DIM_Q_015 Employed while attending NAIT?DIM_Q_015 Employed.ES.matchingDIM_Q_017 High school diploma?DIM_02 REF. IDQuestion ShortAnswer
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_004 Program choiceHealth and Safety
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_003 Credential GoalCertificate
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_005 Age38
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_005R Age ranges35 to 39 years
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_006 GenderMale
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_007 Married?Yes
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_008 Single parent?No
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_009 Number of financial dependents0
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_010 CitizenshipBorn in Canada, both parents born in Canada
CEDHealth and SafetyCertificate35 to 39 yearsMaleYesNoYes, 30 or more hours per weekYes, 20 or more hours per weekYes1Q_011 Aboriginal descent?No

 

 

Reshaping a dataset like this (which is small by our expectations) daily with Excel is not practical.

 

All feedback related to this idea is appreciated.

 

j

 

John Mazur

Department of Institutional Research

P 780.378.5073

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