Wow! Tableau Tips Month is almost over and I almost missed it! (Or maybe I was just early with this tip: 1 Easy Tip to get Clustered Bar Charts )
So to make up for my tardiness, I’ll give 3 easy Tableau tips for the price of 1!
Imagine the following maps as components of a dashboard:
Which do you like better? Both are using the exact same data. Map #1 is a little shy, withdrawn, and looks like he hasn’t shaved in a couple of days. Map #2 is clean, confident, and ready for business. And here’s what you really wanted to know: it’s easy to get from Map #1 to Map #2. Just remember these 3 easy tips:
Tip #1: Give your map a shave
If you are using a filled map, then, unless it really is important that your audience knows the context (e.g. does your audience not know the 48 contiguous states are south of Canada and north of Mexico?), you can get rid of the background map and just keep the filled shapes.
How? It’s easy. From the menu select “Map” -> “Map Options”. Then turn the washout to 100%. Now you have a nice clean-shaven map.
Tip #2: Give your map confidence
This tip comes from my co-worker, Nathan Mackenroth. This tip alone is worth the price of admission. When I saw it for the first time I was amazed.
Notice that in the first map Texas and California have some variation of color but everything else just looks like the color of silly putty? The reason is that Texas and California have the most visitors by far and so any variations in other states are overshadowed. Prepare to be blown away at how simple it is to get from shy to bold:
Nathan took the measure Visits that was on color and created a calculated field which he then put on color instead:
Brilliant! Just like a logarithmic scale for an axis – but for color! Now I can still see that Texas and California have the most visits but I can also see which states have the least and I can see variations one state from another. And it isn’t just for geographic maps – try it with tree maps and heat maps too!
Tip #3: Give your map a chaperon
Don’t send your map into the world alone. For all the confidence you just gave him, he’s going to be just like that teenager who thinks he knows everything, but is about to make a fool of himself. Here’s the problem:
Really? I had 2.7 visits at the least to 9.7 visits at the most? No, that’s the natural log. So the truth is, we really do need shy Map #1!
And here’s the key: we don’t need to see Map #1, but we do need to see his color legend. So, on a dashboard containing Map #2, add Map #1 as a floating object. Use the pixel perfect controls in the lower left to make him 1 pixel by 1 pixel and put him out of sight. (He’s okay with that: he’s an introvert)
And now, we have a map that is ready to take on the world: