Orange Belt Classes:

1. Calculated Fields

Creating a Calculated Field

Let’s create Avg Unit Sales = Sales divided by Qty Sold:

  • On the left pane, click the arrow down by the Search box → Create Calculated Field.

  • On the pop up, type in the field name: Avg Unit Sales.

  • Enter in the expression area: SUM([Sales])/SUM([Qty Sold]).

    • What is the formula SUM()? Click the > icon on the far right of the window, find and click the formula name to learn details.

    • Resizing the expression area: drag the bottom-right corner of the pop up.

  • Click Ok.

  • To format the number, click the arrow down on the green pill in the Measures Value shelf → Format Number. Select the format as desired.

Measure Calculated Expressions

The following are insightful examples of measure expressions:

  • Sales before Discount = Sales plus Discount.

    • SUM([Sales]) + SUM([Discount])

  • Avg Price = Sales divided by Qty Sold.

    • SUM([Sales]) / SUM([Qty Sold])

  • Avg Sale per Invoice = Sales divided by the number of invoices.

    • SUM([Sales]) / COUNTD([Inv No])

  • Avg Sale per Transaction = Sales divided by number or transaction lines:

    • SUM([Sales]) / COUNT([_Sales_Invoice])

    • Alternatively, drag Sales to a report, right-click the Sales green pill on the center panel → Measure → Average.

  • Max Individual Sale Price.

    • MAX([Sales])

    • Alternatively, drag Sales to a report, right-click the Sales green pill on the center panel → Measure → Maximum.

  • What’s the difference between [Sales] / [Qty Sold] and Sum([Sales]) / Sum ([Qty Sold])?

    • Without the Sum aggregation Tableau will do the division for each transaction line then display the sum of the transaction level results. The measure function will show SUM then the calculation by default.

    • With the Sum aggregation before each field Tableau will do the division with the sum amounts, not individual transaction records. The measure function will show AGG then the calculation, indicating the aggregation is built into the calculation.

The Special Case of Averages

  • One way to do averages is to change the measure's aggregation type by right clicking on the measure in the Measure Values shelf then selecting Measures and Average. This built in Average calculates the Sum divided by number of transaction records. That’s not always what you want, which is why we show how to do your own average calculations.

Conditional Measure Expressions

The following are insightful examples of conditional expressions:

  • Sales in ShipTo State = CA or NY.

    • Expression 1 with NULLs for other states: (Tableau’s built in ELSE = NULL)

      • if [ShipTo State] = 'CA' or [ShipTo State] = 'NY' then [Sales] end

    • Expression 2 with zero for other states:

      • if [ShipTo State] = 'CA' or [ShipTo State] = 'NY' then [Sales] else 0 end

    • Doing if / then conditions with case / when / then syntax offers more flexibility

  • Division by Zero

    • If the denominator is zero, then return a given value (99.9 in the example below).
      (Tableau default division by zero result is NULL)

      • IF SUM([Cost Of Sales])=0 then 99.9 else SUM([Sales])/SUM([Cost Of Sales]) END

  • Handling NULLs

    • Formula ZN returns expression if not NULL, otherwise returns zero:
      Important because you can’t do math with NULL values

      • ZN([Cost Of Sales])

    • Formula IFNULL returns expression if not NULL, otherwise returns the 2nd parameter:

      • IFNULL([Cost Of Sales],1)

  • Sales in a Given Period

    • Fixed year = 2021:

      • IF YEAR([Inv Date])=2021 THEN [Sales] END

    • Fixed fiscal year FY 2021:

      • IF [FYear No]=2021 THEN [Sales] END

      • IF [FYear]='FY 2021' THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative year = This Year:

      • IF YEAR([Inv Date])=YEAR(TODAY()) THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative fiscal year = This FYear:

      • IF [FYr 0 = This FYr]=0 THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative year = Last Year:

      • IF YEAR([Inv Date])=YEAR(TODAY())-1 THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative fiscal year = Last FYear:

      • IF [FYr 0 = This FYr]=-1 THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative fiscal YTD = Last Fiscal YTD

      • IF [FYr 0 = This FYr]=-1 AND [YTD Fiscal]='YTD' THEN [Sales] END

    • Relative month = Same Month Last Year

      • IF YEAR([Inv Date])=YEAR(TODAY())-1 AND MONTH([Inv Date])=MONTH(TODAY()) THEN [Sales] END

      • IF [FMo 0 = This FMo]=-12 THEN [Sales] END

  • Growth (using ZN())

    • Sales in FY 2021 minus FY 2020

      • ZN(IF [FYear No]=2021 THEN [Sales] END) - ZN(IF [FYear No]=2020 THEN [Sales] END)

      • Important: Tableau returns NULL if a value in an expression is NULL. For instance, if a customer had no transactions last year (NULL value) and $100 sales this year, Tableau returns sales growth of $100 - NULL = NULL. Use formula ZN to process ZN($100)-ZN(NULL)=$100.

  • Growth %

    • (Sales in FY 2021 minus FY 2020) / (Sales in FY 2020), returning NULL if FY 2020 Sales is NULL or zero.

      • if ZN(IF [FYear No]=2020 THEN [Sales] END) = 0 then NULL else (ZN(IF [FYear No]=2021 THEN [Sales] END) - ZN(IF [FYear No]=2020 THEN [Sales] END)) / ZN(IF [FYear No]=2020 THEN [Sales] END).

Help topics for aggregated vs non-aggregated measure errors:

Dimension Calculated Expressions

The following are insightful examples of dimension expressions:

  • Combining character fields: Inv Type ID + Inv No.

    • [Inv Type ID]+' - '+[Inv No]

  • The left part of a string:

    • LEFT([Inv No],2)

    • Examples:

      • The main section of Item IDs comprised of the first 4 digits: LEFT([Item ID],4)

      • The 1st segment of a GL account comprised of the first 5 digits: LEFT([GL Account],5)

  • A subset of a string:

    • MID([Inv No],3,2)

    • Examples:

      • The 2nd segment of Item IDs, starting at digit 5, 3 digits long: MID([Item ID],5,3)

      • The 2nd segment of a GL account, starting at digit 6, 2 digits long: MID([GL Account],6,2)

  • The right part of a string:

    • RIGHT([Inv No],2)

  • Converting an expression to a string:

    • ‘FY ’+STR([FYear No])

Filter Calculated Expressions

You can create calculated fields to filter data. The following are some popular concepts. Drag and drop the calculated filed in the Filters shelf and set it for TRUE (or FALSE).

  • Filtering for some members of a dimension:

    • [ShipTo State]='NY'

  • Filtering for members that contain a certain string:

    • CONTAINS([Customer],'Starbuckets')

  • Filtering for members that meet a certain measure criteria:

    • SUM([Sales]) > 1000 AND SUM([Qty Sold])>100

Calculated Fields for Filters

You can create calculated fields to filter data. The following are some popular concepts. Drag and drop the calculated field in the Filters shelf and set it for TRUE (or FALSE).

  • Filtering for some members of a dimension:

    • [ShipTo State]='NY'

  • Filtering for members that contain a certain string:

    • CONTAINS([Customer],'Starbuckets')

  • Filtering for members that meet a certain measure criteria:

    • SUM([Sales]) > 1000 AND SUM([Qty Sold])>100

Hands-on Exercise

  • Create the following report with its calculated fields.

  • Optional: Create a report showing customer sales prior month, prior month last year, prior month YoY variance %, this YTD, prior YTD, YTD variance %.

2. Quick Table Calculations

Quick table calculations allow to quickly apply a common table calculations to your visualization using the most typical settings for that calculation type.

Creating Quick Table Calculations

  • Right-click the green pill of a report measure → Quick Table Calculation → select an option.

  • Some options might be disabled depending on the report (ex.: some of them require a date field).

  • Build the report below to explore the options.

  • Report measures using Table Calculations show a triangle on their green pills. See below.

  • In many cases, step 3 works right off the bat. When it doesn’t, explore steps 4, 5 and 6.

    • For instance, you might want to use a Quick Table Calculation working Table (across) but step 3 created one working Tableau (down). In this case, go to step 4 → Compute Using → Table (down).

Quick Table Calculations: Generic Types

  • Running Total: The accumulated total by rows or columns. Ex.: cell 1 = 100, cell 2 = 50 value, cell 3 = 150, the Running Total: cell 1 = 100, cell 2 = 150, cell 3 = 300.

  • Difference: The difference between two cells by rows or columns. Ex.: same example as above, the Difference will have cell 1 = NULL, cell 2 = 50, cell 3 = 100.

  • Percent Difference: The % difference between two cells by rows or columns. Ex.: same example as above, the % Difference will have cell 1 = NULL, cell 2 = 50%, cell 3 = 200%.

  • Percent of Total: The % total of all cells by rows or columns. Ex.: same example as above, the % of Total will have cell 1 = 33.3%, cell 2 = 16.6%, cell 3 = 50%.

  • Rank: The rank of a cell based on rows or columns. Ex.: same example as above, the Rank will have cell 1 = 2, cell 2 = 3, cell 3 = 1.

  • Percentile: For each mark in the view, a Percentile table calculation computes a percentile rank for each value in a partition. Ex.: same example as above, the Percentile will have cell 1 = 50%, cell 2 = 0, cell 3 = 100%.

  • Moving Average: For each mark in the view, it calculates the value by performing the average across a specified number of values before and/or after the current value. Ex.: same example as above, the 2 cell Moving Avg will have cell 1 = 100, cell 2 = 75, cell 3 = 100.

Hands-on Exercise

Build the report below using Quick Tableau Calculations. The first measure is plain Sales.

Quick Table Calculations: Date Dependent

  • YTD Total: The same as Running Total, requires a date field and resets the running total every year.

  • Compound Growth Rate: Accumulates the growth rate by period divided by (number of cells minus 1).

  • Year Over Year Growth: Calculates the growth from the same period in prior year.

  • YTD Growth: Calculates the YTD growth from the prior year.

Hands-on Exercise

Build the report below using Quick Tableau Calculations. The first measure is plain Sales.

Tableau Help:

3. Parameters

User-defined parameters can be used in calculated fields, filters and other report structures. They provide users with the ability to change values in an user-friendly way.

Here’s how to create and show parameters in reports:

  • Click the arrow down by the Search box on the data panel → Create Parameter → select the parameter options → Ok.

  • Parameters are listed at the bottom of the Data panel.

  • To show Parameters on reports, right-click on a parameter name → Show Parameter. The parameter will be posted on the right panel of a report.

Hands-on Exercises

The following are insightful hands-on exercises using parameters and calculated fields:

  • FYTD Calculation Using Parameter for the Month Number:

    • Create a parameter named FMonth Value, with Type = Integer.

    • Create a calculated field: IF [FMonth No] <= [FMonth Value] THEN [Sales] END

    • Create a report with the new measure, show the parameter on the report, and play with filters to validate how it works.

    • Add the parameter to the report title (Insert → Parameter name).

      • Ex.: <Sheet Name>: FMo 1 to <Parameters.FMonth Value>

  • Filtering the Top N Members:

    • Create a parameter named Top N, with Type = Integer.

    • Create a Sales by Customer report.

    • Create a calculated field: RANK(SUM([Sales]))<=[Top N]

    • Add the parameter to the report title (Insert → Parameter name).

      • Ex.: Top <Parameters.Top N> <Sheet Name> by Sales

  • Parameter Controlling the Measure of a Report

    • Create a parameter named Select Measure, with Type = String, Allow values = List, create two values = Sales, GP. See below.

    • Create a calculated field and name it Measure:

      • CASE [Select Measure]
        WHEN 'Sales' THEN [Sales]
        WHEN 'GP' THEN [GP]
        END

    • Create a report showing Measure, Sales and GP by Customer (see below).

    • Add the parameter to the report title (Insert → Parameter name).

      • Ex.: <Parameters.Select Measure> by <Sheet Name>

    • Change the parameter drop down to see that the new calculated field changes accordingly.

      • To change the Parameter to a radio button selector like below, go to the top right of the Parameter on the right panel, click the arrow down → Single Value (list).

4. Level of Detail (LOD)

One common use of LOD is the need to work with data that has been aggregated to different levels of detail.

LODs can be complex to understand and use, but they are powerful for many reporting needs. We’re going to cover one example here and provide documentation for further learning.

An Example of LOD

Build a report for Sales by Customer, % of total sales by Customer, and % of total sales by Cust Cat.

See the image below showing this report:

  • “% of Total Sales along Table (down)” = Quick Tableau Calculation (seen in the prior section).

  • Sales = regular Sales measure.

  • LOD expression = Cust Cat Total = {FIXED [Cust Cat]: SUM([Sales])}

    • Note that the sales aggregation is constant for each Cust Cat. This column is showing here to illustrate the concept.

    • Quick LOD:

      • Control-click the measure you want to aggregate and drag it to the dimension you want to aggregate on. A new field will appear with a new FIXED LOD calculation.

      • As a second option, select the measure you want to aggregate and then Control-click (or Command-click on a Mac) to select the dimension you want to aggregate on.

      • Right-click on the selected fields and select Create > LOD Calculation.

  • % Cust Cat Sales = SUM([Sales]) / MAX([Cust Cat Total])

    • In a real report, this calculated field can also incorporate the LOD expression and thus removing the need to show the Cust Cat Total column:

      • SUM([Sales]) / MAX({FIXED [Cust Cat]: SUM([Sales])})

Tableau Help:

LODs and Filters:

FIXED LODs ignore report filters unless they are set to “Add to Context”

5. Dashboard Hands On Exercise

(self service only, not part of online training)

Using the techniques covered so far, let’s build a dashboard with the following specs:

  • Last 3 fiscal years

  • A user-entry parameter to set sales through a given fiscal month

  • A grid report showing Sales, YoY Monthly Var % and YTD

  • A chart for each of the measures

Click the following YouTube video to watch the dashboard creation: https://youtu.be/KRHYYX-MHh4

And here’s a screenshot of the desired dashboard:

Grid Report

See text and video above for instructions:

  • Step 1: Sales by Year and Month.

    • Drag Inv Date to Columns.

    • Drag Inv Date to Rows → blue pill arrow down → Month May.

    • Drag Sales into report abc area.

  • Step 2: Set filter for the last 3 FYears

    • Drag Inv Date Options > FYr 0 = This Year into the Filters shelf. Select 0, -1 and -2 values.

    • Another way to do the same filter: drag Inv Date into the Filters shelf → click the arrow down on the top-right of the filter card on the right panel → Relative Date → click the filter Today value → Years → Last 3 years.

  • Step 3: Create parameter Set Max FMonth

    • Click arrow down by the Search box on the Data panel → Create Parameter.

    • Name it Set Max FMo → Integer type → Current value = 5 → Ok.

  • Step 4: Create calculated field for FMonth filtering.

    • Click arrow down by the Search box on the Data panel → Create Calculated Field.

    • Name it Filter FMo → enter expression [FMonth No]<=[Set Max FMo] → Ok.

  • Step 5: Create a filter with the new calculated field.

    • Drag Filter FMo to the Filters shelf → set it to True on the right panel.

  • Step 6: Quick Table Calculations for YTD and YoY Mo Var %.

    • Click arrow down on the Sales green pill → Quick Table Calculation → YTD.

    • Drag Sales onto the report numbers (this will add monthly Sales to YTD Sales report).

    • Turning the new monthly Sales into Percentage Difference: Click arrow down on the Sales green pill (the one without the triangle icon; triangle icon = table calculation) → Quick Table Calculation → Percent Difference.

    • Drag Sales onto the report numbers. This add monthly Sales onto the report.

    • On the green pills shelf, using drag-and-drop the green pills, order top to bottom: Sales, % Difference in Sales, Running Sum of Sales.

  • Step 7: More informative report title:

    • Right-click the tab on the bottom left → Rename to Monthly Sales.

    • Click the arrow down on the report title → Edit Title → enter the following:

      • <Sheet Name> through FMo = <Parameters.Set Max FMo> (1st FMo=Feb)

      • Ok.

Sales by Month with Bars

  • Drag Inv Date to Rows. Expand Year → Quarter → Month. Remove Quarter.

  • Drag Sales to Columns.

  • On the Marks shelf, change the dropdown from Automatic to Bars.

  • To apply the filters created in the prior report to this whole workbook, go back to the prior report tab, click the arrow down on each filter on the Filters shelf → Apply to Worksheets → All Using This Data Source. Go back to the tab where you’re building the cart report.

  • On Rows, drag Year to the right of Month.

  • Drag Inv Date onto the Color mark.

  • Rename the tab: right-click its tab → Rename = Monthly Sales Chart.

YTD Trend Lines

  • Drag Inv Date to Columns → click its blue pill’s arrow down → Month (May).

  • Drag Sales to Rows.

  • Drag Inv Date onto the Color mark.

  • Turning Sales into YTD: click the Sales green pill’s arrow down → Quick Table Calculation → YTD Total.

  • Rename the tab: right-click its tab → Rename = YTD.

YoY Monthly Variance %

  • Drag Inv Date to Columns → expand to Month, remove Quarter.

  • Drag Sales to Rows.

  • Drag Year to the right of Months in Columns.

  • Change Marks dropdown to Bars.

  • Turning Sales into YoY Monthly Var %:

    • Click the Sales green pill’s arrow down → Quick Table Calculation → Percent Difference. This calculation isn’t doing YoY Monthly Var % yet. Let’s edit it calculation.

    • Click the Sales green pill’s arrow down → Edit Table Calculation.

    • Set Percent Difference From → Specific Dimension → uncheck Month of the Inv Date.

    • Close the pop up.

  • Change Marks dropdown to Circles.

  • Drag Inv Date onto the Colors mark.

  • Rename the tab: right-click its tab → Rename = YoY Monthly Var %.

Dashboard Design

  • Click the Dashboard icon on the bottom row.

  • Click Size and change Fixed Size → Automatic.

  • Drag Monthly Sales sheet on the left panel onto the dashboard area.

  • Drag Monthly Sales Chart sheet at the bottom of the dashboard area.

  • Drag YTD sheet on the top right of the dashboard area.

  • Drag YoY Monthly Var % sheet on the bottom right of the dashboard area.

  • Click File → Save As to save your work.

Click the following YouTube video to watch the dashboard creation: https://youtu.be/KRHYYX-MHh4

Next: Orange Belt: Report Design Part 4. WIP