6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2014 8:21 AM by Cheryl Scott

    When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"

    Cheryl Scott


      I am not a Tableau developer, and our office is a new user of this software, so forgive me if my question isn't very sophisticated.  We have created some simple dashboards showing enrollment data for our college and we use Tableau Public to publish them.  We had hoped to get to the point where there was no manual intervention required to update the dashboard, except to point to a new data source (Data \ Replace Data Source).  But there is one glitch.  We have formated the dashboard numbers to display as integers, but whenever we refresh our data, decimals appear.  We thought the decimals were coming from the input files, but have made sure they are not (they are zeros of course).  Tableau seems to be reverting to a 4.2 default display or something.  Is there a way to get number formatting to "stick"?

        • 1. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
          Dana Withers

          Could I back up a little step? Why are you replacing the data source? Why not let the data source refresh or refresh/edit the connection of the data source? Probably the easier way of changing the data source would be to edit the data source, point to the new source (which I assume has exactly the same format) and update it that way. When you edit and update a data source which has the same (type of) fields as the existing one, Tableau tends to keep your settings as per the existing one.

          Alternatively, if you really have to keep replacing the data source from scratch, it may be worth setting the default number format of your field to not have a 4.2 format. To set default number format, right-click your field, and choose default properties => data format. Once that is set, then replace the data source and see if it sticks better this time.

           

          Hope this helps,

           

          Dana

          • 2. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
            Cheryl Scott

            Dana - Thanks so much for your reply!  I am such a dork, I can't even

            figure out how to post a response to you on the Forum thread, so am sending

            a private email instead.  I don't know enough about Tableau yet to answer

            your question about refreshing the data source.

             

            Basically, we create a set of enrollment files (spss into excel) that

            become the TDE files that feed our dashboard every week.  The files are

            exactly the same in layout from week to week.  The difference is just in

            the file name of the TDE which includes the curren date.  I think what you

            are saying is that if we create TDE files with the same name, in the same

            location, that when we open the dashboard, the numbers will refresh

            automatically?  I will try that this morning and keep my fingers crossed.

            Again thanks so much for your time!  and if you can tell me how to respond

            on the Forum page, I would appreciate it

             

            cheers,

            Cheryl

             

             

            On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 1:58 AM, Dana Withers <

            • 3. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
              Dana Withers

              Hi Cheryl,

               

              Hope you had a nice Christmas .

              When replying to the email update you receive, I think it automatically goes onto the forum as well because... that's where it is now. I was just wondering how to send a private email... don't know. It may be that the reply button was not visible because you were not logged into the forum? It tends to log out quite regularly. If you are logged in, the reply button is at the bottom of each post. (and if an answer is helpful or solves the issue, you can mark that as well to help future visitors to the conversation quickly identify if there is an answer to the question)

               

              I'm curious to see if you've managed to get the dashboard to pick up new data from a file with the same name. I think if the file is the same name and same formatting, Tableau will never know and just pick up the new data when you refresh. I'm not a big user of Tableau Public, but I think it is the same in that regard.

               

              Basically refreshing works as follows if you have an extract (tde):

              1. You can refresh the extract by right-clicking on your data source, hover to "Extract" from the sub-menu and clicking "Refresh". This will take the data from the source you have set up and refresh it. If the source is a file and the file is still in the same location as when you set it up, it will pick up new information automatically without changing anything else. I strongly suspect that if the file is completely new, but has the exact same format and name, Tableau doesn't notice.

               

              2. You can change the data source while keeping as much as possible in tact by right-clicking on your data source and choosing "Edit Connection" on the menu. Then you can specify a new file (if you edit your data source, you can pick something new as long as it is the same type of source, like change one excel file for another). Usually, Tableau will keep as much as it thinks is the same in tact. So if your data format (fields and field order) is the same in both old and new files, Tableau may keep settings such as defaults and formats in tact.

               

              3. You can replace one data source with another - which is what I think you're doing. To do that, you need to connect to new data, set up everything you want (including defaults) and then choose "Replace Data Source" from your Data menu. Tableau will then replace every similarly named field with the field from the new data source, but may use new defaults for formatting.

               

              By defaults, what I mean is that if you right-click on a field in your list of fields, you can hover to "Default Properties" in the pop-up menu and from there to "Number Format". If you set your formatting there, Tableau will try and use that unless you set more specific formatting at table level.

               

              Wow... sorry about the long ramble. Hope it helps !

               

              Dana

              • 4. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
                Cheryl Scott

                Dana -

                 

                Thanks so much for your detailed response!  I want to let you know that

                with your help, we now have things working perfectly.  All we had to do was

                what you suggested, create TDE files from our new data, then simply

                overwrite the old TDE files and open the dashboard.  When you do that, it

                will automatically display the new numbers, even without doing a refresh or

                anything.  And best of all, the formatting never changes

                 

                I see on the forum page that it says "this question has not been answered",

                and I can't figure out how to indicate that "yes, it has!".  Anyway, thanks

                for your help and for your time.  much appreciated!

                 

                Cheryl

                 

                 

                 

                 

                On Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM, Dana Withers <

                • 5. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
                  Dana Withers

                  Hi Cheryl,

                   

                  Thanks for letting me know this.

                  It would still be handy to mark the question as having been answered for anyone else who might be looking at the same problem. If you go to the forum to this discussion - you can follow the link in the email you get about this or just go to the forum direct and look it up from there - you can mark an answer as correct. You will need to log in to the forum - check the top right hand corner of the screen and you should see a log in link or your name if you have been logged in already. Once you are logged in, you can see two buttons at the bottom of each reply to your question - one for helpful answer and one for "this answered my question".

                  Could you please try this and see if it works?

                   

                  Thanks !

                   

                  Dana

                  • 6. Re: When I refresh my dashboard data, integers display as decimals.  How can I get number formatting to "stick"
                    Cheryl Scott

                    Done!  I'm sure I wasn't logged in before when I tried to mark it

                    answered.  Thanks again for your help!

                     

                     

                    On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 1:05 AM, Dana Withers <