1999 = 6/21/1905... by the way.
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A real date is fully qualified - e.g. 1/4/1989. Most (all?) programming languages and operating systems represent dates as a number of days past an epoch date. For MS Excel for example, that epoch date (day 0) is 12/31/1899. The 1st of January 1900 is day 1, 2nd is day two, and so on up to present day (41,324). Dates are represented as decimals - 0.5 for example is midday.
So by changing your year to a date, you are getting 2000 days past the epoch (i.e. somewhere in 1905)
You could leave the year as a number. If for some reason you wanted to have it as a real date, you would need to convert it by creating a calculation something like:
Hello Alex, thanks for your response,
As I said, i'm new to Tableau. What I'm attempting to do is make a line graph that shows player performance over time, specifically by year 1999,2000,2001, etc. So, I don't have days or months for the entire season as it wouldn't really make sense to include a random day from the season. A different thread that I found suggested changing the data type in Excel to "text" which DID allow Tableau to read it correctly, however it was not changed to a Date type within Tableau automatically. When I did so, it created the new column, but all the values were null. Any ideas?
Sorry to bombard you with stuff. I think I found a workaround (that I believe you initially suggested, but to a newbie it's sometimes unclear until you try it.)
You don't need it as a real date - you can have it as a discrete pill (blue) and change the default mark from bars to lines, or you could have it as a green pill (continuous) if you have missing years. You can right click the pill to change these.