9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2016 9:58 AM by Tom W

    How to create custom text and related visuals layout

    Sunil Kachappilly

      Hi,

       

      Relatively new to Tableau Desktop, but have a lot of experience in other BI tools.

       

      I am trying to create what could be described as a custom / free text sort of a report layout with some related visualization.

      The data is very simple plain (predictive data) with absolutely no manipulation needed in Tableau, but only visualization.

       

      What I am not able to wrap my head around is how to create a custom layout.

      Sample shown in the image below/attached.

       

      There could be a simple prompt selection for instance for a set of POs (some data value) that decides what program data to display (basically what rows to display; the data is at program level).

      Depending on prompt selection, the list of programs displayed would change.

       

      The report basically needs to repeat the sample shown below for each program (data presented for each program is directly available as columns in the source).

      What I need help with is how to repeat the set of fields for each program, with the fields in a non-columnar, but a custom arrangement layout

        eg: Status below Initiation Date, Type below status etc... for each program in first column

              Data point visualizations for each data point one below the other etc for each program

       

      Need help, a little confused.

      If this were Cognos, I would be using something like a repeater table, if anyone is familar with it.

       

      PS: I understand that the thinking in Tableau is to NOT do reports like stuff, but this is a requirement and it has to be done, unfortunately.

        • 1. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
          Tom W

          You will never get a layout to match that exactly in Tableau.

           

          You could customize a dashboard a lot, but it won't be dynamic (i.e. you won't be able to switch PO's on and off).

          I think you are going to need to vastly realign your expectations in terms of the output unfortunately.

          • 2. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
            Sunil Kachappilly

            Tom W and anyone else reading this.

            Firstly, thanks for your time to go through this.

             

            I understand that the Dashboard layout will never be dynamic (once again, new to Tableau, so assuming, what Tom means is that there is no way to make Dashboard containers data driven).

             

            But if there is a way to somehow influence the desktop canvas itself, I may be able to do some of it.

            That is.... if there is a way to override the row and column approach (in a cross tab / list view), and be able to insert multiple data items under a single column.

            From the example attached to the original question, if there is a way to insert status, type and manager under initiation date field for instance

                      OR insert the 'expected go ahead' gauge below the 'expected win gauge' etc

             

            If the above is possible, I can use a 'data items (i.e. list / crosstab view) to get as close as possible to the requirement.

             

            Any help is appreciated.

            • 3. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
              Tom W

              Sunil,

              I think you need to start using Tableau and creating a report in order to learn the basic way things are structured. Once you get started, perhaps we can help you with some specific questions. Right now, it's quite hard to give you guidance because I don't know how your data is structured and I have nothing to play with in Tableau.

               

              The only way you can "override" the row and column approach is to create a dashboard with multiple sheets in a floating form. That is - you create one sheet per 'piece' of information you're trying to show. Arrange it as flexibly as you like. As I said, this isn't dynamic though, you can't then tell Tableau "repeat this for every row"

              • 4. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                AJAY KHATRII

                Hi,

                i think it will not be possible to create dynamic dashboards in tableau , but we can conditionally hide/show some worksheets using filters.

                Also we can get the above layout using images but that will be a static and non interactive dashboard. See if this matched your requirement.

                • 5. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                  Sunil Kachappilly

                  Tom W My data is a simple tabular one: a field for the program ID and its attributes (dates and numbers I have shown in my original sample image attached). Nothing needs to be calculated, as every single thing I want to present for the program is available directly as columns; More like a spreadsheet with everything available as columns. There is no aggregation to be performed to derive any of the measures shown.

                   

                  If this were a simple list report, I would have all the fields dropped as columns and I would be done i.e. there is no need to calculate anything.

                   

                  But here is my challenge.

                  When I drag and drop the fields, they all become individual columns.

                   

                  I do not want a regular columnar format (Well, I still need columnar output, but in a different way).

                  The requirement is to present the data in 3 columns per program i.e. individual program rows from the data source become rows, with each row having 3 columns.

                  (Please see the sample image attached in the original post that illustrates the output... on second thought I'm re-attaching it to this post.

                  What I am describing below is the sample)

                   

                  1. First output column (visually; not necessarily a column Tableau layout-wise) has to have 4 fields from the underlying data source one below the other.

                  2. a. The second column needs 2 dates shown (with some calendar image separated by arrows).

                           For the above, ignore the calendar image and the arrow, can I show dates a & b (both direct database fields or spreadsheet fields) under one column, or make it seem like a single column

                  2. b. Further, in the same column (visually), we need to represent a pie showing a percentage for the current program row in the output (below the 2 dates mentioned above).

                          The percentage is directly available as a column in the input data.

                  2. c. In this same output column (visually), we need a static text describing the next date field [Completion date] to be presented "Expected completion date:" + <data source date field>

                  3. a. The third column in the output (once again, what I mean by column is how it appears visually in the output) has to have a a progress bar from Red to Green with 2 lines on the progress bar showing a low to high % range of some kind for the program. Both low and high % numbers are directly available as columns in the source.

                  3. b. The third column also needs a very similar second progress bar below the first one with two different high low marks, also available directly as columns.

                  3. c. There are other such requirements for the same, but for simplicity sake, lets keep it to this (I guess I have already complicated it enough).

                   

                  In summary, the need is to simply present columns in the input source directly, without any need to aggregate etc, but

                  - arrange the data elements in a custom layout

                  - visually represent some of the numbers.

                   

                   

                  Cognos is a comparable tool I am very familiar with. Cognos allows you to create a list report with columns and then edit the report layout to add database field one below the other or the left or right or top or bottom or however you want it, and further, add visualizations for each row of the output etc i.e. customize the layout. But in Tableau, whenever I add a field (say as text in the crosstab), they all become individual columns. I can't seem to find a different way.

                  • 6. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                    Sunil Kachappilly

                    AJAY KHATRII, I assume what you meant is that I cannot make a dashboard container in Tableau data driven i.e. not repeat a graph or whatever, or any added containers with some graph etc repeat for a data value, correct?

                     

                    My thinking was to use the 'Program ID' (in the example) as a worksheet row (rows repeat in the output for each value).

                    Every row, if possible, could be customized to show these attributes of the corresponding program visually etc.

                     

                    But the challenge is to mimic the layout in the sample shown (i.e. first set of attributes of the program one below the other in the first column, second set of attributes one below the other in the second column etc; with some of the value attributes represented visually etc in each row, corresponding to each program).

                     

                    Data-wise, it is quite simple, as my input has every single value available as direct columns, with no need to calculate or aggregate.

                    The need is purely to visualize in the format in the sample.

                    • 7. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                      Tom W

                      Sunil,

                      Please re-read my two responses. As per my previous response - "The only way you can "override" the row and column approach is to create a dashboard with multiple sheets in a floating form. That is - you create one sheet per 'piece' of information you're trying to show. Arrange it as flexibly as you like. As I said, this isn't dynamic though, you can't then tell Tableau "repeat this for every row""

                       

                      Like I said, you will not be able to achieve the layout you're trying to achieve unless you create a dashboard and drop floating sheets onto your dashboard with one sheet per element.

                      • 8. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                        Sunil Kachappilly

                        Tom W

                        Makes sense.

                         

                        Appreciate your input.

                         

                        If I may pick your brains once more, one other question.

                        I understand that the complete layout in my sample is not possible.

                         

                        Would it be possible instead, to still achieve a columnar list output with some text columns (date values, status etc) and other columns showing

                        1. a partial pie or similar visualization (for a field % value from the source)

                        2. a line graph or some simple visualization component (that plots only one point each) for values from 3 or 4 other measure fields from the source?

                         

                        i.e. in my example, rows of program IDs with columns of text or simple visualization components.

                         

                        Sincerely appreciate your patience.

                         

                        Thanks

                        • 9. Re: How to create custom text and related visuals layout
                          Tom W

                          Sunil,

                          The closest you will get is to use sheets on a dashboard. In the attached example I've created a text table on the left utilizing Measure Names and Measure Values. I've created a pie chart on the right for one of those measures and set both sheets in the dashboard to take up the entire view so their 'rows' match.

                          You could use a similar approach to create the impression of 'charts within a column'