1 2 Previous Next 22 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2017 7:40 AM by Jose Suarez

    Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?

    Don Thompson

      Hi, we have a large text table that's two landscaped legal size pages wide with 50 columns of numbers.  I'm trying to visually group them into 4 or 5 groups of columns by adding a "divider" line between specific columns, e.g., column 14 which concludes some cost data & column 15 which begins some shipping data.  But I can't figure out how to get a line between two specific columns.  Everything I try seems to add lines between every column, or no columns, or just totals.

       

      I don't get it, this is so easy to do in Excel.  Tableau Help screens aren't very Helpful on this.

       

      Any suggestions are much appreciated.

       

      Thanks,

      - Don

        • 1. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
          Shawn Wallwork

          My first question is how are you getting a 50 column table? The maximum number of columns Tableau will display is 16, and you have to go into Analysis\Table Layout\Advanced to increase it from the default of 6. Once you exceed 16 the columns on the far left will be dropped. Also a lot of the column headers will get put together.

           

          Tableau really isn't a spreadsheet program (it's a data visualization program) so it doesn't do spreadsheets with the same ease of use Excel does.

           

          --Shawn

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          • 2. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
            Don Thompson

            Hi Shawn,

             

            We don't see all 50 columns on the screen at the same time, you'd have to scroll to the right to see them.  But that's not how the report is used.  We print to a PDF doc that's 2 legal size pages wide (prints across, then down).

             

            I understand that Tableau is not primarily a spreadsheet program, but there are some basic formatting options that I would have expected to see.  For example, setting the border between 2 specific columns, or column widths for a single column (vs. all columns).  Tableau doesn't seem to do any of this.

             

            Doesn't the Table Layout \ Advanced dialog box govern the maximum # of Column *headers*?  We only have 5 layers of categories stacked on the left side.

             

            Our company uses Tableau in multiple areas for different reports.  Our group uses it blending data from multiple sources to create a data heavy Vendor Report card.  It's a giant spreadsheet that we could not create in Excel as a single report.  We previously had a highly customized Access database, but that was not sustainable and could not reach our mainframe for data.

             

            Any idea how I can put in these individual column dividers?


            Thanks,

            - Don

            • 3. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
              Corey Turner

              You can visually separate them by creating a group then placing that new group in front of your pills on the columns shelf. Now use formatting to color or space the column divider lines.

              • 4. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                Don Thompson

                Hi Corey,


                Thanks for responding.  I've attached a pic showing how the table is laid out.

                 

                At the moment I have column lines turned on between every column.  I tried formatting individual columns to set their "fill" as a different color but that doesn't work.  Not sure how your group idea would apply unless color can be applied to an individual column?  What steps are you taking to do that?  And what is it that you're grouping?  I thought a group had to be of specific Dimensions.

                 

                Thanks,

                - Don

                ColumnDividerIssue.jpg

                Grouping.jpg

                • 5. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                  Shawn Wallwork

                  Don I better understand what you're trying to do.

                  For example, setting the border between 2 specific columns, or column widths for a single column (vs. all columns).  Tableau doesn't seem to do any of this.

                   

                  I believe you are correct on both these statements. You can set a "level" for rows and columns, but this too affects the entire table, so it won't help you set a border where you want it. You could divide your table into several sheets and line them up on a dashboard. Using level and border controls you can probably get fairly close to something you'll find acceptable.

                   

                  Have you tested printing this table to PDF in the two sheet landscape you described? Interested to hear whether it did the page break where you wanted it to.

                   

                  Good luck with all this.

                   

                  --Shawn

                  • 6. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                    Shawn Wallwork

                    Don looking at that first screenshot, you're simply not going to get 50 columns without building individual worksheets with 16 or fewer measures per worksheet. Good news is you'll have better control over the borders and breaks.

                     

                    I was completely wrong! Serves me right for not testing. Looking like you can have a lot more than 16 columns of measures. The limit must be on dimensions. Good to know.

                     

                    --Shawn

                    • 7. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                      Don Thompson

                      Hi Shawn,

                       

                      We've successfully printed and all 50 columns are included, that's not really a problem.  The page breaks wherever Tableau decides to break it, I can't control that and we can live with that.

                       

                      I've seen the dashboard idea floated on some other formatting problem posts, but that would mean creating 3 or 4 tabs for each Dashboard/Report.  Right now we have 40 tabs (each with 20 - 50 columns) as separate reports.  Using the Dashboard approach I'd have to create 40 x 4 tabs = 120 underlying tabs for each report and 40 Dashboards to lay those tabs out onto.

                       

                      That just isn't feasible.  I gather from what you're saying though, that our formatting options are very rudimentary and we'll have to do the best we can with what's available.

                       

                      Thanks for trying!

                      - Don

                      • 8. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                        Shawn Wallwork

                        Yeah, I biffed that one. So have you considered using column banding to help separate the measure. Again it will be uniform across the whole table, but it will make everything easier to read:

                         

                        Banding.png

                        The level controls how many columns are included.

                         

                        --Shawn

                        • 9. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                          Don Thompson

                          Hi Shawn,

                           

                          I guess if the sections we were splitting each report into were an equal number of columns that would work, but it's more like the first 12 columns are one group, then the next 15 are a new group, then a group of 5, etc.

                           

                          I think we just have to live with this.  I appreciate your valiant efforts to figure out a workaround though! 

                           

                          Thanks again,

                          - Don

                          • 10. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                            Shawn Wallwork

                            Don, actually thank you for schoolin' me. I learn a bit more about Tableau everyday.

                             

                            --Shawn

                            • 11. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                              Cristian Vasile

                              Don,

                               

                              try the following trick.

                               

                              a. define a calculated field Divider

                                  equation            IF 1=1 then "+" END

                               

                              b. Place divider on rows/columns shelf.

                              Regards,

                              Cristian.

                               

                              divider.png

                              • 12. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                                Don Thompson

                                Hi Cristian,

                                 

                                I'm afraid that because I have a table of numbers, not a chart, what that gives me is an extra "level" of categories on the left side named "+".  I would need this to be a table calculation that goes in-between specific columns.

                                 

                                I tried moving your calc to the Measures area and it converts to a Count Distinct calculation that results in the number "1" being put into every row of the column I tried to setup based on that measure.

                                 

                                That's "kind of" a divider but not really practical.  If I could somehow color that individual column black then I'd be all set.  But you can't color individual columns.

                                 

                                Thanks,

                                - Don

                                 

                                DIVIDER.jpg

                                • 13. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                                  Corey Turner

                                  Instead of

                                   

                                      IF 1=1 then "+" END

                                   

                                  Use

                                   

                                     SUM(NULL)    as the calculation of divider. The aggregate placed on the measure values will give you a blank column.

                                   

                                  Good luck!

                                   

                                  Capture.JPG

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                                  • 14. Re: Can I create a column divider between 2 specific columns?
                                    Don Thompson

                                    You guys are relentless!  ;-)

                                     

                                    If I could make that blank column into a skinny column that's a dark color, then we could do it.  But columns are all autosized to be the same width (and same color).  So I'd be going from 50 to 54 or 55 columns with this solution and that would squeeze my already tiny numbers into a smaller font.

                                     

                                    But I think this would be a good solution for smaller tables where the "visual break" between two columns could be useful.

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