1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Nov 22, 2013 10:46 AM by Toby Erkson

    Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!

    Shawn Wallwork

      It's been a long time since I've done a text table rant; and believe it or not I have totally changed my position -- complete surrender! (If anyone remembers my previous rallying cry).

       

      My original position was that Tableau Dev's shouldn't waste any time at all improving/tweaking text tables; they were good enough for checking data sources/padding/marks, etc. -- in fact text tables are quite useful when trying to analyze what's coming in and how Tableau is handling it. But I saw no need to go any farther. I don't consider text tables to be data visualizations per se, I have NOT changed my opinion on this, but...

       

      "For the love of all that is holy..."

       

      Tableau, please appease/fulfill all the myriad text table feature requests as soon as humanly possible! So at the very least these forums can finally move on to 'real' data visualization questions It seems we've degenerated into a text table **** where a majority (all?) questions boil down to: "I can easily do this in Excel, why is it so difficult in Tableau". My response use to be: "So do it in Excel." But obviously this has not, will not silence the demand. So please Tableau:


      Create (or license) an Excel duplicate that can be installed inside Tableau, that works exactly as Excel does with all the same functionality. Please, oh please give them back their Excel! (So we can finally get on with real data visualizations.)

       

      --Shawn

       

      PS: I know too many exclamation points.

       

      PPS: Since notifications are mostly broken, I'm pinging richard.leeke.0 Jonathan Drummey Joe Mako Dimitri Blyumin Alex Kerin Joshua Milligan Toby Erkson Andy Piper Michael CristianiBrad Llewellyn Allan Walker Mark Jackson Mark Holtz ... please forgive if I didn't ping you, no slight intended -- complete memory lapse on my part. (Or the whole @ notification is something I've not quite mastered.)

       

      PPPS: I didn't include Tableau folks in the ping, because you don't normally comment on these sorts of threads -- but you're welcome to do so  Russell Christopher or Tracy Rodgers or Robert Morton

        • 1. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
          Matt Lutton

          I understand where you're coming from.  I'm not sure if you mean a simple row/column sheet when you say "text table" so I may not be commenting on the right idea. But in my world, the end user almost always wants the relevant/linked data in a simple rows/columns format--I suspect because they are conditioned to seeing data in that way.  So, when an organization decides to implement Tableau, the end users still want to see data in that old row/column format.  With the work I am doing, the end user almost always wants to click on a chart area and see the linked data in an Excel-like format. In a Tableau Server environment, in particular, it is often desirable to have the visualizations and table data in one place, often on the same dashboard.

           

          But I certainly agree, a way to implement more Excel-like features would certainly cut down on the non-Viz-related questions on the forum.  +1 for the idea!

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
            Joe Mako

            I can understand your frustration in situation like these:

            > "I can easily do this in Excel, why is it so difficult in Tableau". My response use to be: "So do it in Excel."

            You are not alone Shawn, I have responded the same way before.

             

            What if we look at it from a Jobs-to-be-done perspective? Henry Ford said: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." I feel like you are asking for a faster horse when Tableau is working on creating what could become an automobile.

             

            This is a hard problem, some people say it has already been solved, but I do not think so, there is still great frustration. So while there are many good enough solutions, I think there are better solutions that require a change in perspective to see.

             

            Tableau provides us an interface to VizQL, a kind of grammar for graphics. Tableau is not spreadsheet software, Tableau and VizQL enable another way of thinking and interaction with data, a new medium. Have you seen Media for Thinking the Unthinkable on Vimeo ? For me Tableau and VizQL is a step in the direction of what Bret envisions as a way to think the unthinkable.

             

            To address short term needs, there are many things Tableau can do that many users are not aware of, they say it is not possible in Tableau. Granted there are things that really Tableau cannot do, it is limited by your data structure and contents, but if you are willing to take the time to understand VizQL, and work with it instead of fighting with it (eg, expecting Tableau to work like Excel), then there are some really amazing things we can do in Tableau with VizQL, and in some cases maybe easier than you thought.

             

            If you can link me to threads where something seems not easy in Tableau, I would be glad to take a look and see if there are other routes to the results needed.

             

            If anyone is interested in understanding more about VizQL, and the perspective that I have on Tableau that makes the tool such a joy for me to use, you are welcome to contact me, you can find my email in my profile. I am always glad to talk about Tableau.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
              Jonathan Drummey

              Shawn,

               

              What I take away from your post is that there's an opportunity for Tableau (or someone else) to document & train on how to move from Excel (and the philosophy and expectations that go with it) to Tableau. Tableau "thinks" about data and display of data very differently from Excel, and I don't think that's covered enough in the current documentation & training materials.

               

              Jonathan

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                Mark Jackson

                Perhaps there should be a way to write ad-hoc formulas when viewing data in a cross tab that processes as a final step. It could reduce the complexity of table calcs.  Maybe it could even figure out the table calc for you behind the scene. They could be written more like Excel formulas that reference a specific cell in the cross tab. I haven't really thought much about this though, but it is probably worth musing over. Maybe this is another way to think about giving the user more control of total rows/columns too.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                  Mark Jackson

                  By the way, I love the avatar.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                    Shawn Wallwork

                    My last one was probably a bit too oblique:

                    5-4.png

                    --Shawn

                    • 7. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                      Allan Walker

                      Joe's response mirrors my thoughts on this.

                       

                      FWIW I think Tableau/VizQL is a great data viewer/canvas with excellent IMPEX capabilities.  It doesn't have a steep learning curve until you want to visualize something really complex, and that's why I just love this software, and continue to support the development of its capabilities. 


                      Yes, there is scope for improvement, as the idea forum shows, there are some capabilities that users really want/need.  At least Tableau listens to its users and the communities and gleans requirements from that resource.


                      What if we look at it from a Jobs-to-be-done perspective? Henry Ford said: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."


                      So please, for the love of god, give us a Z axis to play with!


                      Best Regards,


                      Allan

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                        Toby Erkson

                        Allan Walker wrote:

                         

                        ...


                        So please, for the love of god, give us a Z axis to play with!


                        Best Regards,


                        Allan

                        Ooo, then I could view the custom fuel/timing maps on my vehicles more easily!

                        • 9. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                          Allan Walker

                          Toby,

                           

                          It's as if you read my mind.

                          • 10. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                            Dimitri.B

                            Shawn, the feature you are asking for has been available all along. Haven't you noticed it?

                             

                            export to Excel.png

                            • 11. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                              Shawn Wallwork

                              Yes my friend, today has been a day of discovery for me:

                               

                              1. Anchor date titles can be drilled (6.25 feature I'm just discovering)
                              2. I can have more than 1 avatar (thx Traci!)
                              3. I can direct Excel-wanters to export crosstabs (brilliant D!)
                              4. And Joe and Jonathan are working on changing how we think! (...about dataviz.)

                               

                              My world is complete. All is well!

                               

                              Dimitri, hope your winter isn't quite as bad as our summer, my car was 106 deg F (41.1 c) today.

                               

                              [Voice of Wicked Witch of West Voice]: "I'm melting, I'm melt ......"

                               

                              --Shawn

                              • 12. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                                Dimitri.B

                                Shawn Wallwork wrote:

                                ...

                                 

                                Dimitri, hope your winter isn't quite as bad as our summer, my car was 106 deg F (41.1 c) today.

                                 

                                [Voice of Wicked Witch of West Voice]: "I'm melting, I'm melt ......"

                                 

                                --Shawn

                                 

                                Forget the car, we get that in shade sometimes (in summer). Winters here are freezing +17°C (+63°F).

                                 

                                Do you want to push for an idea to make "Export to Excel" button more prominent? E.g. it appears on a shaking modal pop-up window in the centre every time someone attempts to format a table in Tableau?

                                • 13. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                                  Shawn Wallwork

                                  Do you want to push for an idea to make "Export to Excel" button more prominent? E.g. it appears on a shaking modal pop-up window in the centre every time someone attempts to format a table in Tableau?

                                  Please, please give us a demo! A shaking, earth-quaking Export to Excel button would be, well .... perfect.

                                   

                                  D you truly are a genius. I'm in awe.

                                   

                                  --Shawn

                                  • 14. Re: Text Tables Again -- Arrrgh!
                                    kettan

                                    This comment made me laugh-smile  

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