Can you create a waffle chart?

Kyle Yetter ended the #WOW2022 year with this challenge, to create a waffle chart. I haven’t built one for a while, so needed a quick google to refresh my memory.

You’ll need a ‘template’ data source which defines the grid pattern layout, and what each square represents. Every square represents a percentage point from 1% to 100%, and is positioned in a row numbered from 1 to 10 and a column numbered from 1 to 10. This information is stored in the ‘template’. You can build your own, or you can use the waffle_template.xlsx file I created that is stored here.

Connect to the Waffle_Template excel file and make Row and Column discrete dimensions (just drag them to above the line on the left hand data pane). Then add Row to Rows and Column to Columns and Percent to Text.

Building the waffle

Now connect to the Orders data from the SuperStoreSales data source. In that data source, create a new field

Consumer %

ROUND(SUM(IF [Segment]=’Consumer’ THEN [Sales] END) / SUM({FIXED:SUM([Sales])}),2)

If the Segment is Consumer, get the sum of Sales as a proportion of the total Sales. Round the result to 2 decimal places.

Create similar fields for the other segments

Corporate %

ROUND(SUM(IF [Segment]=’Corporate’ THEN [Sales] END) / SUM({FIXED:SUM([Sales])}),2)

Home Office %

ROUND(SUM(IF [Segment]=’Home Office’ THEN [Sales] END) / SUM({FIXED:SUM([Sales])}),2)

Then in the Waffle_Template datasource, create the following field

Colour : Consumer

[Orders (Sample – Superstore)].[Consumer %]>=SUM([Percent])

The above calculation will return true when the % Sales for Consumer is greater than or equal to the Percent value.

Repeat and create equivalent fields for the other segments

Colour : Corporate

[Orders (Sample – Superstore)].[Corporate %]>=SUM([Percent])

Colour : Home Office

[Orders (Sample – Superstore)].[Home Office %]>=SUM([Percent])

Add Colour : Consumer to the Colour shelf, and adjust colours. If you get any warning messages about blending, just acknowledge.

To make the blocks, double click in the Columns shelf and type in MIN(1). Change the mark type to bar. Edit the MIN(1) axis, and fix it from 0 to 1. Remove the Percent field from the Text shelf.

Set the row and column dividers to be thick white lines, and hide the column and row headings and axis (uncheck Show Header). Uncheck Show Tooltip on the Tooltip shelf.

Name this sheet Consumer.

Then duplicate this sheet, and replace the Colour : Consumer pill on the Colour shelf with the Colour : Corporate pill. Adjust colours to suit. Name the sheet Corporate.

Then duplicate again, and repeat the process for the Colour : Home Office pill, naming the sheet Home Office.

Building the KPIs

On a new sheet, using the Orders – SuperStoreSales data source add Segment to Columns.

Create a new field

Percent of Total

ROUND(SUM([Sales]) / TOTAL(SUM([Sales])),2)

format this to percent with 0 dp and add this to the Text shelf.

Create a new field

Segment UPPER


and add this to the Text shelf.

Format the text and align centrally

Remove the row dividers, the Segment column labels, and uncheck Show Tooltips from the Tooltip shelf. Name the sheet BANs.

Creating the dashboard

Use a horizontal container to position the three waffle charts in. Ensure each chart is set to fit entire view. Hide the titles, and from the context menu on the container, distribute the contents evenly. Use padding on the objects to create more white space.

Add the BANs object underneath, remove the title and set to fit entire view. Adjust the heights and widths as required to ensure the waffles are spaced evenly and are square, and the BANs line up underneath.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!



Let’s show quarterly sales with end-user flexibility

It was Sean’s final #WOW2022 challenge of the year, and he set this task to provide alternative options for visualising time series across dimensions with high cardinality.

I had a play with Sean’s viz before I started tackling the challenge and noticed the following behaviour in addition to the requirements listed, which may or may not have been intentional.

When the cardinality of the dimension to display was more than 1 higher than the top n parameter, and the Show Others? option was set to Group By, the sales value to display was based on average sales rather than sum (as indicated in the requirements), and all the values not in the top n, were grouped under an ‘Other (Avg)’ label. But if the cardinality of the dimension was only 1 more than the top n parameter (so there was essentially only 1 value within ‘other’), then this value would display as itself (ie not labelled ‘other’) and the sales values would be summed rather than averaged (eg if the lines were to be split based on Ship Mode, and the top n was set to top 3 and Show Others? set to Group By, all four ship modes would display with the sum of sales rather than average).

This observation meant some of the calculations were slightly more complex than what I thought they would need to be initially, as I had to build in logic based on the number of values within a dimension.

So with that understood, let’s build the calcs…

Defining the calculations

Firstly we need some parameters


String parameter defaulted to Subcategory, with the list of possible dimensions to split the chart by


integer parameter defaulted to 5


I used an integer parameter with values 0 and 1 which I ‘aliased’ to the relevant values, defaulted to ‘Group Others’

I then needed to determine which dimension to be used based on the selected from the pDimensionToDisplay parameter.


CASE [pDimensionToDisplay]
WHEN ‘Subcategory’ THEN [Sub-Category]
WHEN ‘State’ THEN [State/Province]
WHEN ‘Ship Mode’ THEN [Ship Mode]
WHEN ‘Segment’ THEN [Segment]
ELSE ‘All’

From this, I could then use a Set to determine which of the values would be in the top n. Create a set of off DimensionSelected (right click -> Create -> Set)

Dimension Selected Set

select the Top tab, and create set based on the pTop parameter of Sales

To check this is working as expected, on a sheet, add DimensionSelected and Dimension Selected Set to Rows, add Sales to Text and sort by Sales descending. Show the pTop and pDimensionToDisplay parameters. Change the parameters and observe the results behave as expected.

Now we need to determine how many values are not in the set, ie, how many of the DimensionSelected values display as ‘Out’ in the above image.

Count Non-Set Items

{FIXED:COUNTD(IF NOT([Dimension Selected Set]) THEN [DimensionSelected] END)}

If the entry is not in the set, then return the entry, and the count the number of distinct entries we have. Using the FIXED level of detail calculation, wraps the value across every row.

Now this is understood, we need to work out whether we want to group the ‘non-set’ values under ‘other’

Dimension To Display

IF [pShowOthers]=0 AND NOT([Dimension Selected Set]) AND [Count Non-Set Items]>1 THEN ‘Other (Avg)’
ELSE [DimensionSelected]

If we’re opting to ‘group’ the values, and the entry isn’t in the set, and we’ve got more than 1 entry that isn’t in the set, then we can label as ‘Other (Avg)’, otherwise, we just want the dimension value.

We use similar logic to determine whether to display the SUM or AVG Sales.

Sales to Display

IF [pShowOthers]=0 AND SUM([Count Non-Set Items]) > 1 THEN AVG([Sales])

Format this to $ with 0 dp.

We can then remove the DimensionSelected from our view, and test the behaviour, switching the pShowOthers parameter

Building the core viz

On a new sheet, add Order Date set to continuous quarters (green pill) to Columns and Sales To Display to Rows and Dimension To Display to Label. Show all the parameters.

Create a new field


[pShowOthers]=0 AND NOT([Dimension Selected Set]) AND [Count Non-Set Items]>1

add add to Colour shelf, and set colours accordingly.

Add Sub-Category, Ship Mode, State and Segment to the Filter shelf. Show them all, and then test the behaviour is as expected.

Extending the date axis

The date axis in the solution goes beyond 2022 Q4, and means the labels have a bit more ‘breathing space’. To extend the axis, click on Order Date pill in the Columns, and select Extend Date Range -> 6 months.

Then double click into the space next to the Sales To Display pill on the Rows and type MIN(0). This will create a second axis, and the date axis should now display to 2023 Q2

On the MIN(0) marks card, remove the Colour and Dimension To Display pills. Reduce the Size to as small as possible, and set the Colour opacity to 0%. Set the chart to dual axis, and synchronise the axis.

Finally tidy up the chart – hide the right hand axis, remove the title from the date axis, change the title on the left axis. Remove all row and column divider lines, but ensure the axis rulers are displayed. Title the viz referencing the pDimensionToDisplay parameter.

Building the dashboard

When putting the dashboard together, you need to ensure that the filters, parameters and main viz are all contained within a vertical container to ensure the viz ‘fills up’ the space when the controls section is collapsed.

The controls section itself is also a vertical container, which consists of 2 horizontal containers, one of which contains all the filters, and one which contains the parameters.

The layout tab shows how I managed this (I also like to rename the objects to keep better control).

The green Base vertical container is the first container. This essentially contains 3 ‘rows’ – the title, the User Controls vertical container and the viz itself.

The User Controls vertical container, then contains 2 rows itself – the Filters horizontal container (which has a pale grey background colour) and the Fine Tune horizontal container (which has a slightly darker grey background colour).

The User Controls vertical container is then set to ‘hide/show’ by selecting the whole container (click on the object in the item hierarchy on the left), and then selecting Add Show/Hide Button from the context menu. Adjust the button settings as required (I just altered the text displayed on hover) and then position accordingly.

It can take a bit of trial and error to get this right, and to get your containers working as expected. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


What is the lifetime value of customers?

Luke Stanke set the #WOW2022 challenge this week (see here) asking us to visualise the lifetime value of customers. I have to admit, I did struggle to really understand what was being requested, and to get the numbers to match Luke’s. I ended up referring to my own blog post on a similar challenge Ann Jackson set in week 2 of 2021 to get the calculations I needed πŸ™‚

We first need to define the quarter that each customer made their first purchase.

Customer First Order Quarter

DATE(DATETRUNC(‘quarter’, {FIXED [Customer ID]:MIN([Order Date])}))

The {FIXED LOD} calculation returns the minimum order date per customer, then truncates this to the first day of the quarter that date falls in.

We then need to determine the difference in quarters between the Customer First Order Quarter and the quarter associated to the Order Date of each order in the data set. The requirement indicated we needed to add 1 to the result. I split this into multiple calculated fields. Firstly,

Order Date Quarter

DATE(DATETRUNC(‘quarter’, [Order Date]))

gets me the quarter of each Order Date, then

Quarters Since First Purchase

DATEDIFF(‘quarter’, [Customer First Order Quarter], [Order Date Quarter])+1

Let’s pop these fields out into a table to check things are behaving as expected.

Add Customer First Order Quarter and Order Date Quarter to Rows as discrete exact dates (blue pills), and add Quarters Since First Purchase to the Text field, but set it to be a dimension, so it is disaggregated.

Now we need to count the number of distinct customers that made a purchase in each Customer First Order Quarter (the cohort)

Count Customers Per Cohort

{FIXED [Customer First Order Quarter]: COUNTD([Customer ID])}

Add this to to the sheet, along with Sales (I moved Quarters Since First Purchase to rows too)

As expected, we can see the same customer count for each Customer First Order Quarter cohort.

We’ve now got all the building blocks to move on the the next requirement, but I’m going to rearrange the table a bit, to start to reflect the data actually needed for the output.

The x-axis of the chart is going to be based on the Quarters Since First Purchase field, so move that to be the first column of data (1st entry in Rows). Then remove Customer First Order Quarter and Order Date Quarter, as we don’t need this level of information in the final viz.

We now have the sum of all the customers and the total sales, so we can now create the division reqiurement

Sales / Customer

SUM([Sales])/SUM([Count Customers Per Cohort])

I set this to currency $ with 0 dp.

Add this to the table

Then to make this a running total, create a Running Total quick table calculation off of this field (right click on field -> Quick Table Calculation -> Running Total). Add back in Sales/ Customer.

We’ve now got all the components needed to build the viz, but do require an additional calculation to be displayed in the tooltip, which is the difference between each row.

Right click the existing running total Sales / Customer pill (the one with the triangle) and choose to Edit Table Calculation. Tick the Add secondary calculation checkbox and choose the Difference From table calc to run down the table, making the calc relative to the previous row.

Re-add a Running Total quick table calc to the other Sales / Customer pill, and then add Sales / Customer back into the view (it’s annoying that Tableau won’t let you add multiple pills of the same measure name unless they have a different calculation against them).

The snag with this is that we need a value to display for the first row. We need to create a new field that can reference the data in the second table calculation. Click and drag the ‘difference’ table calculation field into the Data pane, and name the field Difference. It should look like below, but you shouldn’t have needed to type any of that.


ZN(RUNNING_SUM([Sales / Customers])) – LOOKUP(ZN(RUNNING_SUM([Sales / Customers])), -1)

Now create a new calculated field


IF FIRST()=0 THEN [Sales / Customers] ELSE [Difference] END

Set this to a customer number format of 1dp, prefixed by + (the data is always cumulative so is never going to have a -ve value, so this works).

Now we can build the viz.

On a new sheet add Quarters Since First Purchase to Columns as a continuous dimension (green pill), then add Sales / Customers to Rows and set to be a Running Total quick table calc. Change the mark type to be a Gantt Bar.

Create a new field



and add this to the Size shelf.

Add a second instance of the Sales / Customer running total calc (press ctrl and click and drag the existing pill in rows to create another next to it). Change the mark type of this to be bar. Remove the Size pill, and then click the Size shelf button, and set the Size to be fixed, aligned left.

Now make the charts dual axis and synchronise the axis. Set the colour of each mark type to the relevant palette, and set the mark borders to None. Hide the right hand axis.

On the All marks card, add the Tooltip:Difference and Count Customers Per Cohort fields to the Tooltip shelf, and amend the tooltip to match.

On the bar marks card, click the Label shelf button and tick the show mark labels checkbox. Align these left.

Remove the left hand axis, remove all gridlines and row/column dividers. Add column axis ruler and dark tick marks

Edit the x-axis and rename the title to Quarter of Order.

If you find you have the x-axis going from 0 to 18, then change the datatype of Quarters Since First Purchase from a whole number to decimal. (right click pill in data pane -> change data type -> Number(decimal).

Add the chart to a dashboard and boom! you’re done. My public viz is here. (note, I did notice some vertical dividers displaying in the area chart on public, but think this is a Tableau Public ‘bug’ as I’ve switched off all the lines I can think of, and Desktop displays fine….

Happy vizzin’!


Selected Sub-Category Influence

Ann Jackson made a special guest appearance this week, setting this challenge to introduce the newly released 2022.3 feature of dynamic zone visibility. As a consequence, a pre-requisite to completing this challenge is to install v2022.3 πŸ™‚

I used 6 sheets to build my solution, and I’ll step through each one, and then what’s required to put it all together.

  • Building the Sub-Category Picker
  • Building the Sub-Category Counter
  • Building the Bar Chart
  • Building the Line Chart
  • Building the Viz in Tooltip
  • Building the Dot Plot
  • Hiding & Showing the Charts
  • Adding & Removing Sub-Categories

Building the Sub-Category Picker

On a new sheet, add Sub-Category to Rows and change the mark type to circle. Right click on the Sub-Category field in the Data pane, and Create -> Set. Select the entries from Accessories down to Copiers. This will create a new field in the data pane called Sub-Category Set. Add this field to the Colour shelf, and adjust colours according to whether the values are In or Out of the set.

Add a grey border around the circles (via the Colour shelf) and increase the size a bit. Format the text of the sub-categories so its larger and right aligned. Remove all row/column dividers and hide field labels for rows to remove the Sub-Category column title (right-click on the column title). Adjust the Tooltip. Add a title to the sheet and then name the sheet Sub Cat Picker or similar.

Building the Sub-Category Counter

Create a new calculated field

Count Sub Cats Selected

COUNTD(IF [Sub-Category Set] THEN [Sub-Category] END)

If the Sub-Category is in the set, the return the Sub-Category and count the number of distinct entries.

Then create

Count Total Sub Cats


This just counts them all.

On a new sheet, add both fields to the Text shelf, and adjust the text accordingly.

Remove the tooltip so it doesn’t display. Name the sheet Set Count Label or similar.

Building the Bar Chart

Create a new field

Profit Ratio


and format to a % with 0 dp.

On a new sheet, add Profit Ratio to Rows and Sub-Category Set to Columns and also to Colour.

Right click on the text ‘In’ either on the colour legend or at the bottom of the bar, and Edit Alias. Change the text to SELECTED. Do the same thing for the text ‘Out’ and change to OTHER.

Add a row grand total (Analysis menu -> Totals -> Show Row Grand Totals). Adjust the colour of the grand total bar. Right click on the text ‘Grand Total’ and select Format. In the pane on the left hand side, change the Grand Total Label to read ALL PRODUCTS.

Create a calculated field

Overall PR


The { } make this a FIXED Level of Detail (LoD) calculation, so calculates over the complete data set.

Then create

PR Difference from Overall

[Profit Ratio]-SUM([Overall PR])

and format this to a custom number format of +0.0%;-0.0%;

Adding the second semi-colon implies there is a format for +ve numbers, -ve numbers and zero. In this instance we want zero difference to be displayed as blank.

Add both these fields the the Label shelf and adjust the font/layout accordingly, and match mark colour. Adjust the tooltip too.

Remove the profit ratio axis, remove all gridlines and row/column dividers. Add an axis ruler to the columns. Adjust the colour/size of the column labels. Hide the In/Out of Sub-Category Set column label (hide field label for columns). Add a title to the sheet and name the sheet Bar Chart or similar.

Building the Line Chart

On a new sheet, and Order Date to Columns and set to be a continuous (green) pill at the Quarter-Year level. Add Profit Ratio to Rows and Sub-Category Set to Colour.

Create a new calculated field

PR Per Quarter

{FIXED DATETRUNC(‘quarter’, [Order Date]):SUM([Profit])} /
{FIXED DATETRUNC(‘quarter’, [Order Date]):SUM([Sales])}

and format this to % with 0dp.

Add this to Rows next to Profit Ratio.

Make the chart dual axis and synchronise the axis. Remove Measure Names from the All marks card, and remove the In/Out Sub-Category Set pill from the colour shelf of the PR Per Quarter marks card. Manually adjust the colour of this line to the appropriate shade.

On the All marks card, click the Label shelf, and check the Show mark labels option and select line ends. Adjust the font of the labels to be smaller, bold and to match mark colour.

Right click on the PR Per Quarter axis on the right hand side and select move marks to back, the right click again and uncheck Show Header to hide that axis.

Right click on the bottom axis, and Edit Axis and remove the axis title. Edit the left hand axis and amend the title so its capitalised.

Format the font of both axis, so the text is smaller, and then remove all row/column dividers, and all gridlines and zero lines. Add axis rulers for both the rows and columns.

Then add a sheet title and subtitle and name the sheet Line Chart or similar. I use this site to get the circular symbols used in the subtitle.

Building the Viz in Tooltip

The line chart shows another chart on hover.

On a new sheet, add Order Date as a blue discrete pill set to the Quarter-Year level, to Rows then add Sub-Category Set to Rows too. On the Columns shelf, double click and manually type in MIN(1). Add Sub-Category Set to Colour, then edit the MIN(1) axis to fix it from 0 to 1.

Add subtotals (Analysis menu -> Totals -> Add all subtotals). This will add a Total row to each section. Manually adjust the colour of the Total bar if need be via the colour legend.

Right click on the text ‘Total’ in the chart, and format. Amend the Total label to read ‘ALL PRODUCTS’ instead.

Add Profit Ratio to the Label and ensure the font matches mark colour. You may need to adjust the font size and boldness, and expand the row height a bit to see the text.

Hide the Order Date column, adjust the font of the Sub-Category Set column to be darker/bolder and right aligned, and adjust the column width so all the text is displayed.

Hide the MIN(1) axis, remove all row/column dividers and hide the Sub-Category Set column label. Then set the sheet to Entire View, and name the sheet VIT or similar.

Return the Line Chart sheet, and on the Tooltip shelf of the All marks card, adjust the tooltip to display the Order Date and insert a reference to the VIT sheet via the Insert -> Sheets -> VIT option

Adjust the height and width to suit.

Building the Dot Plot

On a new sheet, add Sub-Category Set to Rows and Profit Ratio to Columns. Change the mark type to circle. Then add Product ID to the Detail shelf and Sub-Category Set to Colour. Add column grand totals and adjust the colour of the grand total if need be. Format the ‘Grand Total’ text so it reads ALL PRODUCTS.

To get a clearer idea of how many products there are, we are going to randomly spread the dots across a vertical y-axis. For this we create



This just returns a number between 0 and 1.

Add this field to Rows and change it to be a Dimension. Adjust the opacity of the Colour to 50%.

Hide the Jitter axis. Make the header column wider, so the text doesn’t wrap, and adjust the text to b bigger and bolder and right aligned. Hide the Sub-Category Set column heading. Adjust the size and title of the Profit Ratio axis. Remove all gridlines and column dividers.

Right click on the Profit Ratio axis and add a reference line, which is set per pane to the the Total of the Profit Ratio. Use the Value as label and set the line to be a dotted black line at 100% opacity.

Add Product Name to the Tooltip and adjust accordingly. Add a title and name the sheet Dot Plot or similar.

Hiding & Showing the Charts

We’re going to control which sheet displays by use of a parameter, so I created


an integer list from 1-3 which are mapped to the 3 display values

Then create a dashboard sheet and using layout containers build out the dashboard. I used a horizontal container in the centre of my dashboard. Within that I used a vertical container to house the Sub-Category Picker and the Sub-Category Counter. Then the 3 charts (bar, line and dot plot) were arranged next to that. I fixed the width of the vertical container with the picker and counter. The pChartSelector parameter is then added at the top right. I made use of both inner and outer padding and background colours of pale grey and white to get the look as reqiured.

To make the hide/show functionality, I created the following fields

Show bar


Show line


Show dot plot


I added Show bar to the Detail shelf of the bar chart sheet, Show line to the Detail shelf of the line chart sheet and Show dot plot to the Detail shelf of the dot plot sheet.

Then back on the dashboard, I selected the bar chart sheet (so it’s surrounded by a dark grey border), and on the Layout tab on the left hand side, I checked the Control visibility using value checkbox and selected the Show bar field

I then repeated this process, this time selecting the line chart sheet, and when I checked the Control visibility checkbox, I selected the show line field instead. this made the line chart disappear, since my parameter was set to ‘Compared to the Total’ which was equivalent to the parameter = 1 and not 2. Changing the parameter to ‘Over Time’ and my line chart showed and the bar disappeared.

Repeat the process again for the dot plot, selecting the show dot plot field instead. Now only 1 chart should display at a time.

Adding & Removing Sub-Categories

The final step is to add the interactivity to allow selection and removal of a sub-category when clicking on the circles of the Sub-Category Picker sheet.

First, you need to add a dashboard action which changes set values

Add Sub-Categories

Uses the Sub Cat Picker sheet as source and on Select targets the Sub-Category Set by Adding values to the set. The values are retained when the selection is cleared.

Then add another dashboard action to change set values. This one is called


Uses the Sub Cat Picker sheet as source and via the Menu targets the Sub-Category Set by Removing values from the set. The values are retained when the selection is cleared.

The title of REMOVE is what is then displayed in the text of the tooltip when a circle that has been added is the clicked again.


Quite a lengthy post this week, but there’s a lot going on. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Can you create a common starting point?

Kyle set the challenge this week, revisiting his favourite topic – baseball. The aim was to build what I’ve often referred to as a ‘rocket chart’, as it charts progress from a single ‘launch’ date/point. However having had a quick google, I can’t see any other reference to this being used for this type of chart….no idea where it came from <shrug>.

Anyway, the requirement was to compare the profiles of when home runs (HRs) had been accumulated over the course of a player’s career, restricting to just the players who are in the all-time top 10. These players hadn’t necessarily played during the same years or even decades, so there was a need to baseline the information according to the days since they started. Kyle also threw in the requirement that this was to be an LoD based challenge only, with no use of table calculations.

Build the basic chart

As mentioned above, we first need to ascertain how many days have passed between when the player hit their first home run, and the subsequent dates. We use a FIXED LoD to work out the minimum date per player

Min Date Per Player

DATE({FIXED [Player] : MIN([Date])})

And with that we can the work out the number of days that have passed

Days Since Min Date

DATEDIFF(‘day’,[Min Date Per Player], [Date])

And with this, we can quickly build out the main crux of the chart. Add Days Since in Date to Columns, and change to be a continuous dimension. Add Career HR to Rows and amend the aggregation to use AVG rather than SUM, as I found there looked to be duplicate records for some dates for the same player. Add Player to Detail.

Colouring the lines

Kyle provided a custom colour palette to use based on the team colours of the player. I updated by preferences.tps file with this data, and closed and reopened Tableau Desktop to ensure it picked it up. For more information on working with custom colour palettes see this Tableau help article.

Along with the player colours, we also need to identify which player has been selected.

For that we need a parameter to define who the selected player is


string parameter using a List where the values are added from the Player dimension. this causes the default to be set to Albert Pujols.

Show the parameter on the display.

We can now create

Is Selected Player?

[Player] = [pPlayer]

which will return a boolen true/false.

Kyle stated that we should be able to set the colours without having to manually click against every Player|T or F combination.

Now I managed this when I first built my solution, but in writing this blog and trying to replicate the steps, I’m not getting the same behaviour. So I have managed to come up with another way. The gif below hopefully demonstrates, but I’ll list the steps too.

Move the Player pill from Detail onto Colour

Edit the Is Selected Player field to just return True (use // to just comment out the original calculation)

Add Is Selected Player to the Detail shelf, then click the detail icon to the left of the pill and change it to Colour. This is a way to get multiple pills on the Colour shelf. Dragging will just replace the field being used for colour.

The colour legend dialog box should display a list of <Player>, True entries (if the legend isn’t displaying go to Worksheet > Show Cards > Reset Cards – you may then have to add the parameter to the display again).

Edit the colour legend, select the MLB HR Top 10 colour palette and click Assign Palette. This will automatically assign the relevant colour to each entry, since they were added based on alphabetical order.

Re-edit the Is Selected Player field, so it is back to [Player] = [pPlayer].

The entries in the colour legend will now only list one <Player>, True entry and the rest all false.

Edit the colour legend, and multi-select (ctrl-click) all the False entries, and then select the lightest shade of grey from the Seattle Grays palette. This should give you the desired display.

Select Alan Rodriguez from the parameter control. Both Albert, False & Alan, True should now be coloured. Edit the colour legend again and manually set the Albert Pujols, False entry to the same grey shade.

Now if you select any other player, only 1 line should be coloured, and it should be coloured to the corresponding player’s colour.

Setting the Tooltip

Add Season HR to Tooltip and change the aggregation to AVG. Add Date to Tooltip too and set it to be an Attribute. Amend the tooltip accordingly.

Adding the highest season HR indicator

Firstly we need to determine what the maximum Season HR value is per player

Max Season HR Per Player

{FIXED [Player]: MAX([Season HR])}

With this, we then want to get the corresponding Career HR value for that same time.

Career HR | Max Season HR

IF [Season HR] = [Max Season HR Per Player] THEN [Career HR] END

Add this field to Rows and change the aggregation to Avg.

Set to Dual Axis, Synchronise Axis and then set the mark type to Circle. Adjust the size of the circle mark slightly if need be.

Labelling the lines

On the Line marks card, add Player and Career HR to the Label shelf. Adjust the aggregation of Career HR to Avg. Edit the label, so only line ends are labelled. Adjust the font size to something quite small, and set the colour to Match Mark Colour.

Finally remove all gridlines, row & column dividers, and hide the axis. Title the chart.

When added to a dashboard, I then used a floating text object for the introductory text and positioned the parameter as a floating object underneath the text.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Let’s build a Marrimeko Chart!

Sean set the challenge this week and went retro, revisiting a challenge from 2017 originally set by Emma Whyte to build a Marrimeko chart.

Hang on… a what chart? Marrimeko…???

A good place to understand what a Marrimeko chart actually is, is this blog post by Tableau Visionary & Ambassador, Jonathan Drummey. This leads onto this post which explains the steps to help build.

The main concept of this type of chart is to show part-to-whole relationships across two variables at once.Β  In the above for each job title, we have a split vertically based on proportion by gender; but the proportion of people with each job title is also being represented horizontally by the width of the β€˜bars’. Both the x and the y axis are up to 100%.

I was actually around when the original challenge was set, so have my solution from then already on my Tableau Public profile. But it was a long time ago, with an older version of Tableau, so I built this from scratch (using the referenced blogs as a quick refresher). This blog will take you through the steps I took (which actually didn’t end up that different from the last time).

The data

The data set isn’t very large and contains all the information we will need, but not quite in the structure we might expect

The Sub-Type = Total field contains the % we will need to define how the width of the bars should be split (all the Total values add up to 100% or just about).

Whereas the combination of the Sub Types of Male and Female define how the height of the bars should be split (Male + Female = 100% for each Job Type).

So when we come to build, we ideally want to ‘filter out’ the Sub-Type = Total field, but we still need to retain this information to build the viz.

We need to get the % values associated to each Total row to be reflected against the Male/Female rows.

We’ll create an LoD for this

Job Type Percentage

{FIXED [Job Type]: SUM(IF [Sub-Type] = ‘Total’ THEN [Percentage]END )}

format this to % with 0 dp

If we pop the data out into a tabular format as below and add Sub-Type to the Filter shelf so it excludes the Total row, we can see we have essentially transposed the values which were stored against the Total row into it’s own column.

Building the Marrimeko chart

As stated above, the Job Type Percentage field defines the width of the bars we’ll be displaying. But before we can get to the point, we also need to define where on the x-axis each mark should be positioned. This too is based on Job Type Percentage, but is the cumulative value.

On a new sheet add Job Type to Rows, Filter by Sub-Type to exclude Total, and add Job Type Percentage to text. Sort by Job Type Percentage descending.

Now add a Running Total Quick Table Calculation to the Job Type Percentage field, and the cumulative values will display.

It is these values we need to plot on the x-axis.

Duplicate the sheet.

Edit the table calculation against the Job Type Percentage field, so that it is explicitly set to compute using Job Type. This is important to ensure the calculation is retained regardless as to where we put the pill on the canvas.

Now move this pill from the Text shelf to Columns, and change the mark type to Gantt Bar. Move Job Type from Rows to the Detail shelf. Reapply the Sort to the Job Type field so its sorting by Job Type Percentage descending

The markers for the Gantt should all be positioned at the correct position.

Now add Percentage to Rows and change the mark type to Bar.

Add Job Type Percentage to the Size shelf, then click on the shelf, and change to be Fixed and aligned Right.

Now add Sub-Type to Colour. Manually drag the values in the COlour legend to re-order (so Male is listed first) and adjust colours to suit.

Ta dah! The crux of the chart.

Now to add the ‘bells and whistles’.

The chart is labelled, but only for the Entry Job Type. We need a calculated field to manage this.

Label: Sub Type

IF [Job Type] = ‘Entry’ THEN [Sub-Type] END

Add this to the Label shelf, and set to Show Mark labels. If it doesn’t show (like it didn’t on mine), change the field to be an attribute (I need to do a dig on why this is required… I think it’s something to do with the table calcs….).

I tried to use the alignment setting of the label to set to ‘top left’, but while they would left align they wouldn’t move to the top. I manually moved them instead – simply click on the label and when the cursor changes to a cross, drag the label to the desired position.

Do this for both labels, and adjust the formatting of the label too (I set it to 12pt bold).

Remove all gridlines, axis lines, zero lines etc.

Add a 50% reference line on the y-axis. Right click on the Percentage axis ->Add Reference Line. Add a table level constant of 0.5 which is a thin dotted grey line that is almost invisible (due to the colour selected).

Hide the axes (uncheck show header).

The tooltip has a minor nuance in that it refers to ‘Women’ & Men rather than Male & Female, so we need a field for this


CASE [Sub-Type]
WHEN ‘Female’ THEN ‘Women’
WHEN ‘Male’ THEN ‘Men’

Add this to the Tooltip shelf and adjust the tooltip accordingly.

Labelling the axes

The final viz has labels on both the x and y axis, but these are all managed by text/image objects positioned ‘cleverly’ on the dashboard. It’s a bit of trial and error to get everything aligned as required.

To label the Job Type, I used a horizontal container, positioned beneath the chart, with several text objects, some of which had the text rotated.

The Equal Proportions and Less Equality text are both floating text objects. I saved an ‘arrow’ image from the internet and added a floating image object too.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Can you compare the latest month to the prior X months average?

Lorna set this challenge this week to test some LoD fundamentals. My solution has a mix of LoDs and table calculations – there weren’t any ‘no table calcs’ allowed instructions, so I assumed they weren’t off limits and in my opinion, were the quickest method to achieve the line graph.

Note – For this challenge, I downloaded and installed the latest version of Tableau Desktop v2022.2.0 since Lorna was using the version of Superstore that came with it. The Region field in that dataset was set to a geographic role type. I built everything I describe below using the field fine, but when I extracted the data source at the end and ‘hid all unused fields’ before publishing, the Region field reported an error (pill went red, viz wouldn’t display). To resolve, I ended up removing the geographic role from the field and setting it just to be a string datatype. At this point I’m not sure if this an ‘unexpected feature’ in the new release…

Ok, let’s get on with the build.

Building the basic viz

I started by building out the basic bar & line chart. Add Region to Rows, Order Date as continuous month (green pill) to Columns and Sales to Rows. Change the mark type to bar, change the Size to manual and adjust.

Drag another copy of the Sales pill to Rows, so its next the other one. Click on the context menu of that 2nd pill, and select Quick Table Calculation -> Moving Average

Change the mark type of the 2nd Sales pill to line.

Now click on the context menu of the 2nd Sales pill again and Edit Table Calculation. Select the arrow next to the ‘Average, prev 2, next 0’ statement, and in the resulting dialog box, change the Previous values to 3 and uncheck the Current Value box

At this point you can verify whether the values match Lorna’s solution when set to 3 previous months.

But, we need to be able to alter the number of months the moving average is computing over. For that we need a parameter


integer parameter, default to 3, that ranges from 2 to 12 in steps of 1.

Then click on the 2nd Sales pill and hold down Shift, and drag the pill into the field pane on the left hand side. This will create a new field for you, based on the moving average table calculation. Edit the field. Rename it and amend it so it references the pPriorMonths parameter as below

Moving Avg Sales

WINDOW_AVG(SUM([Sales]), -1*[pPriorMonths], -1)

Adjust the tooltip for both the line and the bar (they do differ). Ignore the additional statement on the final bar for now.

Colour the line black and adjust size. Then make the chart dual axis and synchronise axis. Hide the right hand axis. Remove Measure Names from the Colour shelf of both marks cards.

Colouring the last bar

In order to colour the last bar in each row, we need 3 pieces of information – the value of Sales for the last month, the moving average value for the last month, and an indicator of whether one is bigger than the other. This is where the LoDs come in.

First up, lets work out the latest month in the dataset.

Latest Month

DATE(DATETRUNC(‘month’,{FIXED : MAX([Order Date])}))

finds the latest date in the whole dataset and truncates to the 1st of the month. Note, this works as there’s sales in the last month for all Regions, if there hadn’t been, the calculation would have needed to be amended to be FIXED by Region.

From this, we can get the Sales for that month for each Region

Latest Sales Per Region

{FIXED [Region] :SUM( IF DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]) = [Latest Month] THEN [Sales] END)}

To work out the value of the moving average sales in that last month, we want to sum the Sales for the relevant number of months prior to the last month, and divide by the number of months, so we have an average.

First let’s work out the month we’re going to be averaging from

Prior n Month

DATE(DATEADD(‘month’, (-1 * [pPriorMonths]),[Latest Month]))

This subtracts the relevant number of months from our Latest Month, so if the Latest Month is 01 Dec 2022 and we want to go back 3 months, we get 01 Sept 2022.

Avg Sales Last n Months

{FIXED [Region]:SUM( IF DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]) >= [Prior n Month] AND
[Order Date] < [Latest Month] THEN [Sales] END)} / [pPriorMonths]

So assuming we’re looking at prior 3 months, for each Region, if the Order Date is greater than or equal to 01 Sept 2022 and the Order Date is less than 1st Dec 2022, get me the Sales value, then Sum it all up and divide by 3.

And now we determine whether the sales is above or below the average

Latest Sales Above Avg

SUM([Latest Sales Per Region]) > SUM([Avg Sales Last n Months])

If you want to sense check the figures, and play with the previous months, then pop the data into a table as below

So now we’re happy with the core calculations, we just need a couple more to finalise the visualisation.

If we just dropped the Latest Sales Above Avg pill onto the Colour shelf of the bar chart, all the bars for every month would be coloured, since the calculation is FIXED at the Region level, and so the value is the same for all rows associated to the the Region. We don’t want that, so we need

Colour Bar

IF DATETRUNC(‘month’, MIN([Order Date])) = MIN([Latest Month]) THEN
[Latest Sales Above Avg]

If it’s latest month, then determine if we’re above or below. Note the MIN() is required as the Latest Sales Above Avg is an aggregated field so the other values need to be aggregated. MAX() or ATTR() would have worked just as well.

Add this field to the Colour shelf of the bar marks card and adjust accordingly.

Sorting the Tooltip for the last bar

The final bar has an additional piece of text on the tooltip indicating whether it was above or below the average. This is managed within it’s own calculated field.

Tooltip: above|below

IF DATETRUNC(‘month’ ,MIN([Order Date])) = MIN([Latest Month]) THEN
IF [Latest Sales Above Avg] THEN ‘The latest month was above the prior ‘ + STR([pPriorMonths]) + ‘ month sales average’
ELSE ‘The latest month was below the prior ‘ + STR([pPriorMonths]) + ‘ month sales average’

If it’s the latest month, then if the sales is above average, then output the string “The latest month was above the prior x month sales average” otherwise output the string “The latest month was below the prior x month sales average”.

Add this field onto the Tooltip shelf of the bar marks card, and amend the tooltip text to reference the field.

Finalise the chart by removing column banding, hiding field labels for rows, and hiding the ‘4 nulls’ indicator displayed bottom right.

Creating an Info icon

On a new sheet, double click into the space within the marks card that is beneath the Detail, Tooltip, Shape shelves, and type in any random string (”, or ‘info’ or ‘dummy’). Change the mark type to shape and select an appropriate shape. I happened to have some ? custom shapes, so used that rather than create a new one. For information on how to create custom shapes, see here. Amend the tooltip to the relevant text. When adding to the dashboard, this sheet was just ‘floated’ into the position I was afte. I removed the title and fit to entire view.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Prep that and build this!

It’s a double whammy this week – a #PreppinData & #WOW2022 combo! And I’m going to attempt to blog a solution guide to both! Wish me luck… it may take some time!

The #PreppinData & #WOW2022 crew combined with the requirement to prep some Salesforce data with Tableau Prep as per the challenge here, and to then use the output to visualise in Tableau Desktop as per the challenge here.

Prepping the Data

Two files were provided for the input: Opportunity provided 1 row per opportunity, and Opportunity History providing multiple rows per Opportunity, where each row indicated the stage in the lifecycle the opportunity goes through.

The first requirement was to pivot the Opportunity data, to get 2 rows per Opportunity; 1 indicating the date opened, and the other indicating the date closed (or expected to be closed).

After connecting to the Opportunity date and adding a Clean step to view the contents, add a Pivot step to transform Columns to Rows, adding the CloseDate and CreatedDate fields to the pivot.

Before adding any further steps, rename Pivot1 Names to Stage and rename Pivot1 Values to Date.

Add a Clean Step.

Change the CloseDate value in the Stage field to be renamed to ExpectedCloseDate, and the change the CreatedDate value in the Stage field to be renamed to Opened. To do this, simply double click on the value and type in.

We then need to further update this field, based on whether the Opportunity record is closed or not. The requirement said to refer to the StageName field for this, even though there is an IsClosed field. I chose to stick with the requirements.

Create a calculated field


IF CONTAINS([StageName], ‘Closed’) AND [Stage]=’ExpectedCloseDate’ THEN [StageName] ELSE [Stage] END

Having applied this logic, your Stage field should now contain 4 values rather than 2.

Then remove all fields except for Date, Stage, Id and StageName, and rename the step Opportunity.

We now need to combine with the OpportunityHistory data. This data contains a row for each stage the Oppotrunity goes through. What we’re looking to do is to supplement this with a Stage = Opened record, and, in the event the opportunity hasn’t been closed, a Stage = ExpectedCloseDate record.

For this we’ll need a Union step.

Add in the OpportunityHistory data, and add a Clean step. Rename this step to History. To help with the union step, rename the CreatedDate field to Date. In the Opportunity step above, rename Id to OppID.

Add a Union step to the Opportunity path. Then drag History and add it to the Union. Add a Clean step and view the data. If the renaming worked ok, you should have 6 fields.

Update the SortOrder field by creating a new calculated field


If [Stage]=’Opened’ THEN 0
ELSEIF [Stage]=’ExpectedCloseDate’ THEN 11
ELSE [SortOrder] END

Update the Stage fields for those which have null records.


IF ISNULL([Stage]) THEN [StageName] ELSE [Stage] END

All the records with SortOrder = null are actually duplicates now, as we have them captured as part of the pivoting step we did initially. All these records can therefore be excluded (click on the null value in the SortOrder field, right click and Exclude).

Now remove the redundant fields of Table Naems, Stage Name, and you should be left with 4 columns and 876 rows of data, which you can output to csv or similar.

Building the Viz

Now we’ve got the data sorted, we can build the viz. If you haven’t done the PreppinData challenge, you will need to download the Opportunity.csv input file and the provided Output.csv files from the website.

Modelling the data

In Tableau Desktop, connect to the file generated in the above process (or download the output file from the PreppinData site if you haven’t built your own). My file was called 2022_06_08_SalesOpps.csv.

Then add an additional connection to the Opportunity.csv file you used in the Prep challenge (or again download from the PreppinData site).

Add a relationship from Opp ID to Id

Building the Open Opportunities chart

We need to work out what Lorna has used to identify an ‘open’ opportunity. After a bit of trial and error, I discovered it was any opportunity that had an ExpectedCloseDate stage. To identify these, create a new calculated field

Has Expected Close Date Stage

{FIXED [Opp ID]: SUM(IF [Stage]= ‘ExpectedCloseDate’ THEN 1 ELSE 0 END)}

This will return the value 1 against all the rows for an Opp ID which have an ExpectedCloseDate Stage, and 0 for those that don’t.

As you can see below, all the rows for the 1st two Opp IDs listed are flagged with 1 as they have at least 1 stage which is ExpectedCloseDate. For the other Opp IDs listed, they are all 0.

Right click this field and drag to the Filter shelf. When you release the mouse, choose the All values option from the dialog displayed, then Next

Then select 1 to filter the sheet just to the the Opportunity records we care about.

Add Opp ID and Name to Rows. Add Date to Columns as a continuous exact date (green pill).

Change the mark type to Circle and add the Stage field to Colour, and adjust accordingly using the relevant colour palette.

To add the grey lozenge marks, add another instance of Date next to itself. This will create a second marks card called Date2. Remove the Stage field from the Colour.

Change the mark type of the Date2 card to line, and adjust the colour to a light grey and the size to be a bit larger.

Make this chart dual axis and synchronise the axis. Move the lozenge marks ‘to the back’ (right click on the top axis and move marks to back.

We need to identify those with a Close Date in the past. For the purposes of this exercise, I hardcoded ‘today’ into a parameter pToday and set it to 8th June 2022. Otherwise in a ‘live’ situation I would refer to the TODAY() function rather than the parameter.

Past Close Date?

IF [Close Date]<[pToday] THEN ‘●’ ELSE ” END

I use this site to get the circle mark.

Add this field to the Rows before the Opp ID field. You won’t get the symbol against every row, but don’t worry about that just yet. Format this circle to be right aligned and red font.

Now we need to mange the sorting. Firstly create a new parameter


an integer containing values 1 and 2, defaulted to 2 where the values displayed are aliased as below

To determine how long an opportunity has been open we need

Days Open

DATEDIFF(‘day’, [Created Date], [Close Date])

We then need a field to utilise this parameter and determine the measure we can use to sort

Sort By

CASE [pSortby]
WHEN 1 THEN SUM([Days Open]) * -1
ELSE INT(MIN([Close Date]))

If we’re sorting based on the Longest Open we’ll use the number of days the opportunity has been open. By default the data will ascend from smallest to largest value but we want the opposite, so we multiple by -1.

If we’re sorting based on the Close Date. then we can just use the Close Date field itself, converted into a integer.

Add Sort By to Rows , change it to be discrete (blue) and then move it to be the first pill on the Rows shelf. The data should now be reordered, and you’ll now get a red circle per row.

Add the pSortBy parameter to the sheet and test the sorting. Once happy, hide the Sort By field (right click and uncheck Show Header), then Hide Field Labels for Rows. Remove row & column dividers and make the first column narrow. You should now have your chart.

Building the legend

Lorna’s decided the legend should be circles rather than the ‘out of the box’ squares, so a custom sheet is required.

On a new sheet, add Sort Order discrete dimension (blue pill) and Stage to Rows. Add Stage to Filter and exclude Closed Lost and Closed Won. We’re going to need to organise these Stages into 2 rows and 3 columns, so we need some fields to help.

Row Index

IF [Sort Order] ❀ THEN 1 ELSE 2 END

Column Index

IF [Sort Order] = 0 OR [Sort Order] = 4 THEN 1
ELSEIF [Sort Order]=2 OR [Sort Order]= 8 THEN 2

Note I’m very much ‘hardcoding’ this as this is acceptable for this view I believe.

Add Row Index as discrete dimension to Rows and Column Index as discrete dimension to Columns, and move Stage to Label.

Type in FLOAT(MIN(0)) into Columns to create a fake axis. Change mark type to circle, and add Stage to Colour. Increase the width of each row if all your text isn’t showing.

Edit the axis so it is fixed to start at -0.1 and end at 0.5 – this will shift the circles to the left.

Uncheck Show Header against the Row Index, Column Index and the MIN(0) axis. Then remove all gridlines and row/column dividers. Turn off tooltips.

The Summary View

Now we need to work on the summary values at the top of the screen. We’re focussing on ‘open’ opportunities in the current month, which is June 2022 (based on the pToday parameter). We need Has Expected Close Date Stage = 1 on Filter, and to identify the current month we use

Is This Month?

DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Close Date]) = DATETRUNC(‘month’, [pToday])

Add this to Filter and set to True

Now let’s have closer look at the rows of data we’re got so far.

Add Opp ID, Sort Order (discrete dimension) and Stage to Rows and Amount to Text.

What we’re looking for is to aggregate the Amount by Stage, but if we remove the Opp ID and Sort Order fields, we don’t get the right values

This is because we’ve got multiple rows per Opp ID, so the value is counting in multiple Stages. We want to just limit the rows to the latest Stage before the ExpectedCloseDate stage.

First lets work out the maximum Sort Order value for each Opp ID that isn’t the Expected Close Date row (which has a Sort Order = 11).

Max Stage Sort Order

{FIXED [Opp ID]: MAX(IF [Sort Order]<=10 THEN [Sort Order] END)}

Add this to the tabular view as a discrete dimesion. Hopefully you can see from the image below that we’re getting the value we want.

Now let’s identify the matching row

Stage To Keep

[Sort Order] = [Max Stage Sort Order]

Add this to the Filter shelf and set to True.

Now if we remove Sort Order, Max Stage Sort Order and Stage from Rows, we get the correct summarised values.

Move Stage to Columns and add Stage to Text and Colour. Set to Fit Entire View. Align Text centred and remove all row/column dividers. Uncheck Show Header against the Stage field on Rows. Use the Colour Legend to manually sort the values into the correct order.

Update the sheet title.

Past Close Date

This is a bit simpler… add Past Close Date? to Filter and select ●. Add Stage to Filter and select ExpectedCloseDate. Add Amount to Text and the auto generated field Opportunity.csv (Count) to Text.

Format the text and add a title, and you’re all done You just need to add everything to the dashboard now.

My published version is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Filter Challenge : How well do you know Tableau’s Order of Operations?

It was Erica Hughes’ turn to set the #WOW challenge this week. This ended up being a bit of a journey for me, because of one requirement – to use the max date of the dataset.

I typically use a FIXED LOD to determine the max date, which I did initially in this case, and after building a solution, tripped up when it came to adding some of the filters ‘to context’. The context filter meant my Max Date was changing depending on the filter and subsequently I wasn’t getting the right results for the ‘days since last purchase’.

So I ended up having to put my thinking cap back on, and after a lot of trial and error and reading on the internet (including this article by the Flerlage Twins) , I finally managed to get a solution that involved both LOD calculations (including a rarely used INCLUDE LOD) and Table calculations, and no context filters at all. This was a pretty complex solution. The table of data had to include the Order Date on the Detail shelf, resulting in multiple rows per customer showing, which meant I had to then use an INDEX()=1 filter to only show 1 row for each customer. I then used an additional INDEX() against each customer, so I could filter to show only the customers in position 1-10. My solution to this is published here.

After publishing, I checked Erica’s solution and found how she’d handled the max date requirement. It used a concept I haven’t had to use so far, so I decided to rebuild a less complex solution, which is what I will now blog about.

Capturing the max date of data set which isn’t affected by context filters

The usual way to define the maximum date in the data set is to create a FIXED LOD calculation, and this is still required

Max Date

{FIXED :MAX([Order Date])}

This returns 30 Dec 2021.

The problem is, once a context filter is applied to a sheet, the value of this field can change. For example, if Region is applied as a context filter and set to ‘South’, then what Tableau will do, based on the ‘order of operations’, is first filter all the data to just those records where Region=South. It will then work out the max date of these filtered records, and if there are no orders on 30 Dec 2021 for the South Region, then the value of the Max Date field will differ. This is because context filters get applied before FIXED LOD calculations. We need a way to ensure we can retain the 30 Dec 2021 without hardcoding it.

The solution is to use a parameter.


A date parameter which is set to use the value of the Max Date field when the workbook is opened.

This is quite a sneaky but clever way to retain this, which is why I’m reworking my solution to use it, so I have something for future reference myself. When the workbook opens, the pMaxDate parameter will get set to 30 Dec 2021 and won’t ever change, whereas the Max Date field will change if context filters are used.

Building the Table

It may seem a bit odd, but I’m going to start with the table of data that’s displayed, as this requires the most calculations, and the most validation.

On a new sheet, add Customer Name, Customer ID to Rows and Sales onto Text. Order by Sales desc. Format Sales to $ with 0dp.

We need to determine the latest order date for each customer in order to work out other information.

Latest Order Date

{FIXED [Customer ID] : MAX([Order Date])}

This finds the maximum Order Date for each Customer.

And with this, we can now work out

Days Since Last Purchase

DATEDIFF(‘day’, [Latest Order Date], [pMaxDate]

Note this is comparing the Latest Order Date to the pMaxDate parameter instead of Max Date.

Format this to custom number, with 0 dp and a suffix of ‘ days’.

Add Latest Order Date to Rows (exact date, discrete) and Days Since Last Purchase into the table.

Now we need to work out

Latest Order Amount

{FIXED [Customer ID]: SUM(IF [Order Date]=[Latest Order Date] THEN [Sales] END)}

For each customer, if the Order Date is the same as the Latest Order Date, then retrieve the Sales value.

Format this to $ with 0 dp and add to the view.

Now add Customer ID to the Filter shelf and set to filter by the Top 10 based on Sales.

To validate the behaviour of the calculations add Region to the Filter shelf and select ‘South’. You’ll notice only 8 rows are shown, and not 10.

This is because the data has been filtered based on the top 10 customers with the most sales first, and then restricted those top 10, to those with sales in the South. Only 8 of the top 10 customers have sales in the South, hence the 8 rows.

To resolve this, we need to add Region to Context (right click on the filter and Add to Context . This has the effect of filtering all the data by Region = South first, and then displaying the top 10 customers by Sales. We now have 10 rows displayed.

Add State to the Filters shelf, and add that to context too. Test the table of results by selecting different combinations of regions and/or states and comparing to the results on Erica’s solution to verify all the calculations are behaving as expected.

Now we’re happy the table is displaying the data as expected, we can format it and make it ready for the dashboard :

  • Remove Latest Order Date & Customer ID
  • Set the Row Banding
  • Set the Row Dividers to Level 0, so only row lines appear at top and bottom
  • Remove Column Dividers
  • Format all text (row/column headings & text data) to be 8pt.
  • Alias Sales to be Total Sales (right click on the Sales title in the columns and Edit Alias)
  • Remove Region & State from the Filter shelf. These will get re-added later.

Building the Map

On a new sheet, double click State to load a map (you may need to set your location to United States : Map menu -> Edit Locations).

Change mark type to a Filled Map, add Region to Colour and adjust colours.

Remove all map layers (Map menu -> Map Layers and uncheck all options listed on left hand side). Change border on Colour shelf to white.

Remove row & column dividers, and remove all map options (Map menu -> Map Options and uncheck all options).

Drag a new instance of State onto the canvas and Add a Marks Layer. This will create a 2nd marks card on the left. Change the colour of the circles to black. Add Sales to the Size shelf and adjust. Adjust the tooltip of both marks card (you’ll need to add Sales to the Tooltip on the map marks card).

Building the Legend

On a new sheet add Region to Columns and type in MIN(1) into the Columns shelf too. Add Region to the Label shelf, and the Colour shelf. Adjust the height of the rows, so you can see the text.

Edit the axis so it is fixed from 0 to 1. Then format the Label so the font is larger and centred.

Hide the axis and the Region (uncheck show header). Remove row & column dividers and any gridlines. Adjust the border on the Colour shelf to be white. Set the tooltip not to show.

Building the Bar Chart

On a new sheet, add Sub-Category to Rows and Sales to Columns. Order by Sales desc. Add Sub-Category to the Filter shelf and set to show Top 10 by Sales. Reduce the Size of the bars, and align the row labels to be left aligned, and the font to be 8.

Format the axis, so the values are displayed in $K.

Hide the row label, and adjust Tooltip. You may need to create an additional calculated field based on Sales to add to the Tooltip which you can then format to $ with 0dp.

Adding the interactivity & context filters

Add the sheets onto a dashboard. You’ll need to use a mixture of vertical & horizontal layout containers, inner and outer padding and background colours to get the required layout.

Add a dashboard filter action which runs on Select when the Legend sheet is selected, which affects all other sheets and shows all values when unselected.

Add another filter dashboard action, which this time runs on Select when the Map sheet is selected, which affects all sheets except the Legend sheet, and also shows all values when unselected.

Now click on one of the regions in the legend, then click on a state in the map. This has the effect of adding filters to the shelves on the other sheets. Navigate to the Table sheet, and add the 2 ‘Action’ filters to context

Do the same for the Bar char sheet.

And you should now have a completed viz. My published version based on this solution is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Adding more detail & context

This week it was Kyle’s turn to add a 3rd piece to the dashboard (see challenge here).

I chose to build on my previous week’s solution, which you can download from here, so all fields referenced etc will be based on that (ie I may reference fields that don’t exist in the solution published by the #WOW crew, and that have not been created as part of this stage of the solution).

For this part of the challenge, we’re looking to add a trend line, which displays a line for each row in the bar chart above, which means we need to display the median values of the Sales and Proft Ratio measures, since the ‘Other’ bar represents a group of multiple states.

We also need to colour and size the lines according to whether the bar chart has been clicked on or not.

First up, to build the line chart, we need to create some new LoD fields, as the ones we have so far have been FIXED at a State level, and now we need to consider the month of each order. I’m essentially going to repeat the steps I used when building the bar chart, but this time as the month of the Order Date into the calculation

Sales by State & Date

{FIXED [State], DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]): SUM([Sales])}

PR by State & Date

{FIXED [State], DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]): SUM([Profit])/SUM([Sales])}

From these, I can then create the measures I need for the display

Sales by Display State & Date

{FIXED [State To Display], DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]): MEDIAN([Sales by State & Date])}

format this to $ with 0 dp

PR by Display State & Date

{FIXED [State To Display], DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date]): MEDIAN([PR by State & Date])}

format this to % with 0 dp

I can then build the initial line chart, with Order Date on Columns, set to the continuous month level (eg May 2020) and Sales by Display State & Date and PR by Display State & Date on Rows. Add State To Display to Detail.

Now we need to colour and size the lines based on a combination of whether the State is the one selected in the scatter plot, or whether the user has clicked on one of the bars.

I decided that I would capture the ‘state’ the user selected on the bar into a new parameter. So I created


A string parameter defaulted to ‘blank’

With this, I can the create

Size – Line

[State To Display] = [pSelectedStateFromBar]
[Selected State]

This returns true if the State To Display field matches the value captured in the parameter, or the (existing) Selected State field is true.

Add this to the Size shelf on the All Marks card and adjust so the True option is slightly thicker that the False option. You may need also need to adjust the slider against the Size shelf to get the thickness just right.

We also use these 2 parameters to determine what the colour of the line needs to be

Colour – Line

IF [Selected State] AND ([pSelectedStateFromBar]=” OR [pSelectedStateFromBar]=[State]) THEN ‘dark’
ELSEIF [State To Display]=[pSelectedStateFromBar] THEN ‘mid’
ELSE ‘light’

Add this onto the Colour shelf. You’ll never have all 3 options displayed at the same time, so you’ll need to set the pSelectedSateFromBar to empty and to a value in order to adjust the colours. You’ll also need to ensure ‘dark’ is listed above ‘light’ and then ‘mid’ is listed above ‘light’ so these lines appear ‘on top’.

The chart just needs tidying up now – edit/remove the axis titles, reduce the size of the text on the axis, remove gridlines and set the tooltips.

Once done, you’re ready to add to the dashboard.

I rearranged my dashboard to have a horizontal layout container to with the scatter plot in the left hand column, and a vertical container in the right hand column. The vertical container then had the bar chart above the line chart.

The final step was to the then add a parameter action that on ‘select’ of the bar chart, it passed the State to Display value into the pSelectedStateFromBar parameter.

And that should be it. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!