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Yesterday I started to reverse engineer a viz by James Smith as a learning exercise, and decided to focus on learning how to drill down to more detail by using tool tips. 


From James Smith's viz, I learned that I could put a reference to another sheet in the tool tip to pull in maps or graphs.  As I played with it, however, I learned that one small space in the tool tip dialog box adds a lot of white space around whatever I'm pulling in to the tool tip. 


Anyway, I decided that I wanted to use this new-found knowledge to drill down from state to county in my Premature Death by State viz.  The first problem I encountered was the state and county color scales didn't line up.  I corrected this by manually setting the start, end and middle for the color scale.


The next problem I encountered was that the states were tiny in the tool tip.  I did a search and found Andy Cotgreave's tip about making sure the map being shown in the tool tip is not fixed on it's sheet - there should be no little "X" next to the thumb tack in the upper left.


Sean Ramsdale

More Dashboard Misery

Posted by Sean Ramsdale Jan 26, 2018

I recently started participating in Makeover Monday, and this week's data involved a map.  My dashboard had two maps, and it looked ok until I published to my profile - it kept shrinking one of my maps.  The problem was fixed once I stopped using Automatic Sizing.  Thanks Eva Murray.

Today I learned that when making a map longitude has to be in columns and latitude has to be in rows.  The map doesn't work if they're reversed.

Sean Ramsdale

Keeping Leading Zeros

Posted by Sean Ramsdale Jan 19, 2018

When I was first learning Tableau, I found how to add leading zeros to a FIPS code.  Unfortunately, it was before I started the blog, so this time I'm writing it down the solution posted by Brett Chaney....


- Right click FIPS in the measures pane

- Go to Default Properties then Number Format

- Choose Custom, then type the number of zeros that is equal to the field length,  For example, a FIPS code is five digits long, so I typed in five zeros.  What was 1000 is now 01000.


Thanks Brett for this elegant solution!

I've decided to deconstruct other people's vizzes in an effort to learn how to put together dashboards and storyboards (my efforts thus far have been fraught with frustration).  Plus, I thought it would be a good way to pick up little tricks.  I picked a few of Tableau Public's featured authors to follow and picked a viz by Klaus Schulte to go through. 


I noticed that Klaus' dashboard just used a tiled layout with no containers, so the charts display in a straight forward manner.  I liked how he used floating text boxes and a floating image for added information and polish to the graphic.  I also liked how he hid the supporting sheets from view.


I was curious about the gender symbols in the charts, so went to the worksheet to check it out.  Klaus used an annotation and I'm assuming a symbol from a text set for the gender symbols.  I never knew about annotations until today.  Thanks Klaus!


Had trouble finding Create Parameter, so noting it here...right click in Measures pane to get to Create Parameter.

I created a dashboard in my Gasoline Components v2 file containing two worksheets.  However, the worksheets were shrunk when added to the dashboard instead of having scroll bars as on the worksheets.  I fixed this by selecting the worksheet in the dashboard.  I then went to the little grey box on the upper corner of the sheet and selected More Options (the bottom icon).  Next, I selected Fit and then Standard - then my scroll bars reappeared.

Sean Ramsdale

Pivoting Data

Posted by Sean Ramsdale Jan 11, 2018

In my Gasoline Component data I had data that was structured like this:




I wanted to create relative standard deviations for groups of data by category and sample (ex: relative standard deviation for all values Category 1, Sample 1).  The solution that worked was to pivot the data in the Data Source area.  I highlighted all of the Sample columns, the clicked on the little triangle in one of the columns and selected pivot.  The resulting data structure is this:



I was then able to calculated the RSD as I wanted.

In my Football Retention file, I decided to duplicate the GradYrSchoolYr worksheet, intending to substitute Grade for school year.  The new sheet is called GradYrGrade. 


The problems began when I added Grade to Columns and removed School Year.  Grade is a discrete dimension (School Year is continuous), and making the change to Grade shrunk my chart horizontally and made the data markers in the line chart giant.  I then changed Grade to a continuous dimension.  That corrected the chart size and got rid of the giant data markers, but created other problems: I could no longer use the aliases for Grade (7th Grade, 8th Grade, etc.) and limiting the axis to 7th Grade through 12th Grade left no room for the labels at the beginning and end of the lines.


I decided to work with the shrunken chart and giant labels.  First, I dragged to right edge of the chart to get it sized correctly, which made my giant data markers even bigger.  Next, I went to the sum(players) area of the markers tab (the axis for my data markers) and clicked on the Size square.  That brought up a little slide bar that I could use to properly size my data markers. 


I also discovered that by single clicking on my line labels, I could move the labels so they weren't overlapping.  It's a little daunting because it also brings up a dialog box.  Just ignore that and focus on the moving symbol to move the label to the right spot.

In my Football Player Retention graph, I added rows to the Excel named range that the viz uses as the data source.  The named range includes the extra rows.  The data updated in the original 29 rows where the data changed, but I couldn't get the graph to show the additional ten rows of data added to the range. 


I used data interpreter for a different viz that links to an Excel spreadsheet and decided to give it a try here.  I turned on data interpreter but still no impact on the range.  However, I could use the sheet as the data source instead of the named range and finally, my extra rows appeared.

My husband Mark gave me some data on gasoline components in an Excel spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet has several sheets each with multiple tables.  I opened a connection to the spreadsheet then clicked on the box to use Data Interpreter. 


The Data Interpreter did a pretty good job of finding the various tables.  The tables are named using the sheet name and range and now appear in the left side pane under the Excel file name.  The only problem is that Data Interpreter splits tables where a column is given a different color cell fill.  Once I dragged a table into the right hand side data canvas, I could edit the data range to include all the columns in the table, but wish I could just do this in the left hand data pane.  I had five tables to include, so dragged them all into the data canvas.  Tableau automatically creates joins, which in this case is not helpful.  I made changes to cell ranges where needed, and could now see the correct ranges in the left had pane.  I then converted one of the tables to a union and selected Edit Union from that table's drop down menu.  I then dragged the remaining four tables from the left hand pane to the box containing the first table name.  Lastly, I removed all of the joined tables.


The final result is a single table with Sample numbers across the top (as appears in all of the tables) and the components down the side.  Additionally, Tableau adds columns for the sheet name and table name (sheet name + range).


Next step is the analysis.

Sean Ramsdale

Getting to my own blog

Posted by Sean Ramsdale Jan 2, 2018

I always have a hard time remembering exactly how I get here to write a post....


After logging in, my first move is to go to "My Content" from the pull down menu under my logo (avatar).  I can see my blog posts, but not where to add new ones.  I actually need to go to My Profile, then Content.  I'll then see my blog on the bottom right hand side - clicking on it gives me the option to write a post.