Can you use set actions to create a reference date range?

There’s a lot packed into the challenge this week, which was “set” by Lorna Brown and Erica Hughes to test our Set Action skills. How detailed this blog will go, I have yet to decide… I’ve got a couple of hours to get this nailed, so it could get quite brief as we get towards the end 🙂

I’ve got 6 sheets/charts making up this dashboard, so my intention is to summarise each one, and I’ll define the various calculations that are going to be needed as we go.

  • The overall summary table
  • The selected months summary table
  • The trend line
  • The donut chart
  • The top 3 states table
  • The map
  • Adding the interactivity

The overall summary table

This challenge is focused on understanding the Sales per month. Whilst its possible to use the built in aggregation features of a date field, I often prefer to create explicit date fields at the level I require, so it’s easier to reference. Therefore, the first field I created for this challenge was

Order Date To Plot

DATETRUNC(‘month’, [Order Date])

This essentially ‘groups’ every order placed in a month to be tagged with the 1st of the month. I custom formatted this field to MMM yyyy (ie Oct 21).

For the overall summary table, I need to capture the total sales of the whole data set, and I use a Fixed LoD calculation for this.

Total Sales

{FIXED: SUM([Sales])}

This field is formatted to $0.00M

NOTE – I actually named this field <space>Total Sales<space> as I want to display the name of the field (the measure name) in the summary table, but the ‘selected months’ summary table also has a Total Sales measure which is a different calculation (see later). Adding the <spaces> is a sneaky way to get two fields with what appears to be the same name. As this field when displayed will be centred, the <spaces> aren’t noticeable.

We also need to get the monthly average sales for the whole data set

Average Sales by Month

AVG({FIXED [Order Date To Plot]: SUM([Sales])})

Format this to to $0.0K

We can now build the summary table by adding Measure Names to the Filter shelf and selecting these 2 fields. The placing Measure Names on Rows and Measure Names and Measure Values on Text. Reorder the measures as required, hide Measure Names on Rows and format the Text as required.

Change the title of the sheet to Superstore Sales, ensure the tooltip doesn’t display and remove all gridlines / row banding etc.

The selected months summary table

The core requirement of this challenge is to make use of set actions, so we’re obviously going to need a set which will contain the dates (months) the user will select on the chart. This set will be based off of Order Date To Plot. Right click on the field > Create > Set. Name it Order Dates To Plot Set and by default, select all the months between Oct 20 to Jun 21 inclusive.

Later I’ll describe how the values of this set will get updated, but for now, we need to get some information relating to the sales in these selected months.

Firstly, we want the total sales for the months in this set.

Total Sales

IF [Order Date To Plot Set] THEN [Sales] END

The default format for this field is set to $ with 0 dp.

Note – this is the other ‘total sales’ field mentioned earlier. This field name has no leading/trailing spaces.

To get the average, I needed a field just to store each member of the set (ie each selected month)

Selected Dates

IF [Order Date To Plot Set] THEN [Order Date To Plot] END

and with this I can then work out

Average Sales

AVG({FIXED [Selected Dates]: SUM([Total Sales])})

The final measure required for this section is the change within the date range, which is basically comparing the value of sales at the first month in the selection with the sales in the final month selected. We need a few fields to get to this.

Firstly, we want to identify the first and last months

Min Selected Date

{FIXED:MIN(IF [Order Date To Plot Set] THEN [Order Date To Plot] END)}

If the date is in the set, then return the date and then take the minimum of all the dates, and store against all the rows in the data. Similarly we have

Max Selected Date

{FIXED:MAX(IF [Order Date To Plot Set] THEN [Order Date To Plot] END)}

Putting this info into a table, you can see how the calculations are working. The values for the Min & Max dates are the same across every row.

Next we need to get the Sales at the min & max points, and spread that value across all rows

Sales at Min Date

{FIXED: SUM(IF [Order Date To Plot]=[Min Selected Date] THEN [Sales] END)}

Sales at Max Date

{FIXED: SUM(IF [Order Date To Plot]=[Max Selected Date] THEN [Sales] END)}

Now we can work out the difference

Change within Date Range

([Sales at Max Date]-[Sales at Min Date])/[Sales at Min Date]

format this to a percentage set to 1 dp

Finally, we need to know the number of months in the set, which is displayed in the title of the monthly summary sheet.

Months in Set

{FIXED: COUNTD(IF [Order Date To Plot Set] THEN [Order Date To Plot] END)}

If the date is within the set, then capture the date, and the count the distinct set of dates captured.

Make this a discrete field (move from the measures section at the bottom of the data pane to the dimensions section at the top (above the line), and add to the tabular view

Now we can build the summary sheet.

Add Measure Names to the Filter shelf and this time filter by Total Sales, Average Sales and Change within Date Range. Add Measure Names to Rows and Measure Values to Text. Reorder the measures.

Format the Total Sales to be in $K, by selecting the Format option from the context menu of the Total Sales pill on the Measure Values shelf (hover on the pill and click the carrot/down arrow that appears – by formatting this way, we’re changing the display of this field for this sheet only).

Add Min Selected Date and Max Selected Date to the Detail shelf and set to be Exact Date. Format both these fields via the pill context menu to be the ‘March 2001’ format

Also add Months in Set to the Detail shelf.

Adjust the title of the sheet as below

Finally you need to set the background of the worksheet to the relevant purple (I used #8074a8), adjust the colours of all the fonts to white and adjust the size/style of the fonts in the table. Remove all gridlines/row banding etc, and you should have something like below

The Trend Line

By this point we’ve built all the calculated fields we need for this chart. This is a dual axis line chart, as we want the colour of the line for the selected dates to be different from the non selected ones, and we want to display a label for the highest sales in the selected timeframe.

  • Add Order Date to Plot to Columns, and set as a Continuous (green) pill set to Exact Date
  • Add Sales to Rows
  • Add Total Sales to Rows
  • Make the chart dual axis, and synchronise axis.
  • Adjust the colours of the Measure Names colour legend
  • On the Label shelf of the Total Sales marks card, set to label the maximum value only
  • On the All Marks Card, add Min Selected Date and Max Selected Date to the Detail shelf and set to Exact Date.
  • Right click on the Order Date To Plot axis and Add Reference Line
  • Create a reference band that starts at the constant Min Selected Date, ends at the constant Max Selected Date, is bounded by dotted lines and shaded between
  • Hide the Sales and Total Sales axis, format tooltips and adjust the row & column dividers.
  • Change the title and you should get to

The donut chart

Donut charts are 2 different sized pie charts on top of each other, created using a dual axis chart. On the Rows shelf type in MIN(0). Then type the same next to it. This gives you two axis and two marks cards.

We only care about information related to the selected dates for this chart, so we can add Order Date To Plot Set to the Filter shelf, which by default will just restrict the information to the data ‘in’ the set.

Change the mark type of the 1st MIN(0) marks card to Circle and add Sales to the Tooltip shelf. Adjust the size of the charts/mark.

Change the mark type of the 2nd MIN(0) marks card to Pie and add Sales to the Angle shelf. Add State to the Detail shelf. Sort the State field by Sales descending.

Note – the circles might look the same at this point, but if you hover over the bottom one, you should see that it’s segmented by State.

We need some new fields now to help us identify the top ranking states.

Sales Rank


This is a table calculation, so it’s best to see how this field will work in a table view – build one out as below, and set the table calculation on the Sales Rank field as shown

We’re now going to ‘group’ the ranks into the top 3 and everything else

Sales Rank Group

IF [Sales Rank]<=3 THEN [Sales Rank] ELSE 10 END

We can now use this Sales Rank Group field to colour the pie chart. On the 2nd MIN(0) marks card, add Sales Rank Group to the Colour shelf. Adjust the table calculation to compute using State as above, then change the field to be Discrete (blue). Adjust the colours to suit.

Now make the chart dual axis, and synchronise the axis. Adjust the size of the 1st MIN(0) circle to be smaller than the pie. If it’s not showing, right click on the right hand axis and move marks to back. Colour the circle white. Adjust tooltips to suit and hide axis, column/row dividers etc. Update the title. You should have

The top 3 states table

  • Add Order Date To Plot Set to Filter
  • Add State to Rows and Sales to Text and sort descending.
  • Add Sales Rank to Filter and set to At Most is 3. This will just show the top 3 states.
  • Add State to Text
  • Add a Percent of Total Quick Table Calculation to the existing Sales field that’s on the Text shelf (via the context menu of the pill)
  • Add another instance of Sales back onto the Text shelf
  • Adjust / format the font size and layout of the fields on the Text shelf
  • Add Sales Rank to the Size shelf and set to be discrete (blue) and set the mark type to be Text. Adjust the size of the marks – it’s likely it’ll need to be reversed and the range adjusted.
  • Hide the State field on Rows, adjust the font colours, remove row banding and row/column dividers. You should end up with…

The map

  • Add Order Date To Plot Set to the Filter shelf
  • Add State to Detail – this should create a map (edit locations to be US if need be – Map -> Edit Locations menu)
  • Add Sales to the Colour shelf
  • Edit the colour range to a suitable purple range ( I set the darkest colour of the range to #6c638f)
  • Adjust the map layers (Map -> Map Layers) so only the option highlighted below is selected.

Adding the interactivity

Add all the sheets to the dashboard, using vertical and horizontal containers to arrange the relevant layout. Then add a Set Action (Dashboard > Actions > Add Action > Change Set Values). The Set Action should be configured as below :

And fingers crossed, you should now be able to select marks on the trend line and see all the other charts, except the initial summary table, all update. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


How much do top sub-categories contribute to sales?

A colourful #WorkoutWednesday challenge this week, courtesy of Ann Jackson incorporating pie charts, top N functionality and interactivity and a highlight table. Pie charts can cause much debate amongst the data viz community and if this one was just representing the multitude of sub-categories, it certainly wouldn’t be ideal. But when the core aim is to simply present 2 key measures (those in the top N against the rest), the pie is a familiar and effective visual. In this instance, the outer ring segmenting all the sub-categories provides additional context without detracting from the main purpose of the viz.

So lets build…

  • Creating the core calculations
  • Building the Pie Chart
  • Building the Highlight Table
  • Adding the Interactivity

Creating the core calculations

First up, we’re going to need a parameter to define the ‘Top N’. Create an integer parameter with a range from 1 to 17, that steps every 1 interval, and is defaulted to 5.


Next we’re going to use a Set to capture the Sub-Categories that are in the Top N Sales. Right click on Sub-Category -> Create ->Set. Use the Top tab to define a set captures the Sum of Sales that is based on the pTopN parameter.

Now, we want to create a grouping of those in and out of the set, which will be used as part of the highlight table

Sub-Cat Group

IF [Sub-Category Set] THEN ‘IN TOP ‘ + STR([pTopN])

Pop all these fields out into a table so you can see what’s going on as you change the pTopN parameter. Sort the Sub-Category by Sales descending.

Now we need to identify the % value of Sales for the Sub-Categories that are in the Top N (this is the label on the darker segment of the central pie chart), so for that we need

Total Sales


Top N Sales (in hindsight, this should have been named Sales per Group or similar)

{FIXED [Sub-Category Set] : SUM([Sales])}

Top N Sales %

IF ATTR([Sub-Category Set]) THEN
SUM([Top N Sales])/SUM([Total Sales])

Format this to percentage with 0 dp.

Adding to the table, we can see the values

The final field we need in order to build the pie, is an additional one to store the label text


IF [Sub-Category Set] THEN ‘TOP ‘ + STR([pTopN]) END

Building the Pie Chart

To achieve this we’re going to build a dual axis pie chart, where one pie is used to define the In/Out of Top N segmentation in the centre, and the other pie is used to create the outer ring.

Create an axis by typing in MIN(0) onto the Rows shelf, and then adding another instance of MIN(0) next to it. This will generate 2 marks cards, which is where the fields to build the pie charts will be placed.

In the first MIN(0) marks card, change the mark type to Pie, then add Top N Sales to the Angle shelf and Sub-Category Set to the Colour shelf. Adjust colours to suit. Then add Top N Sales % and Label:SubText to the Label shelf. Adjust size of the view and the chart to suit. Also remove all text from the Tooltip.

Positioning the text is a bit fiddly. If you click on the text so the cursor changes to a cross symbol, you can then drag it to a better location. However, when you change the Top N parameter, the text will move. You can go through each parameter value and reposition the text each time (which I did.. it wasn’t too onerous for 17 values), however I found when published to Tableau Public, the positioning wasn’t honoured. Ann’s solution was the same, so I didn’t get too hung up on this, although if anyone resolved it, I’d love to know!

Now on the 2nd MIN(0) marks card, again change the mark type to Pie, and this time add Sales to the Angle shelf and Sub-Category to Colour. Sort the Sub-Category field by Sales descending. Additionally add Sub-Category Set to the Detail shelf (this will be needed later on to make the interactivity work). Edit the colour palette to use the Hue Circle options. Adjust the size of the pie chart. Adjust the tooltip too.

Now make the chart dual axis and synchronize the axis. If the colourful chart is displayed ‘on top’, then right click on the right hand axis and select move marks to back. Adjust the sizes of both pies, so the colour wheel is slightly larger than the other one.

Now hide the axis, and remove all borders and gridlines.

Building the Highlight Table

I’ve built the highlight table as a bar chart. Start off by adding Sub-Category Set, Sub-Cat Group and Sub-Category to Rows. Sort Sub-Category by Sales descending. Then type in MIN(1) into the Columns shelf.

Now add subtotals via the Analysis > Totals > Add all Subtotals menu. This adds 2 additional rows to each section

But we don’t want the ‘grand total’, so click on the Sub-Category Set context menu, and uncheck Subtotals

To position the totals at the top, go to Analysis > Totals > Column Totals To Top

Then add Sub-Category to the Colour shelf, and adjust the colour of the Total bar to white

We now need to get some text onto those bars, but we need some additional calculations to help up with this. Firstly, we want to get the rank of the Sub-Category. We’ll use a table calculation for this

Sales Rank


We also need a way to identify the Total rows differently from the main Sub-Categories. I referred to this Tableau KB for help here, and subsequently created



To see what this is doing, add Size to the Label shelf, and adjust the table calculation setting to compute by all fields except the Sub-Category Set. The size of the total rows is 1.

Based on this logic, we can then create


ELSE ‘#’+STR([Sales Rank]) + ‘ ‘ + ATTR([Sub-Category])

Add this to the Label shelf instead of the Size field and adjust the table calc settings as above. Align left. Then add Sales to the Label shelf too and adjust so its on the same row. Adjust the tooltip too.

Now hide the Sub-Category Set and the Sub-Category fields. Right click on the ‘IN TOP x’ text and Rotate Label, then click on Sub-Cat Group text and Hide Field Labels for Rows. Format the header text to suit.

Hide the MIN(1) axis, and set columns and gridlines to None. Adjust the Row dividers to be darker

Adding the Interactivity

Add the 2 sheets onto a dashboard, and add a Highlight Dashboard Action, that on Hover of either of the charts, it highlights the other chart based on the Sub-Category Set only.

I think that’s covered everything. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Visualise Our Survey Data

This week, Ann Jackson set a table calculations based challenge, using the responses from a recent survey on #WorkoutWednesday, as the most requested topic was for table calcs!

There’s a lot of visuals going on in this challenge, and I’m shortly off on my holibobs (so will be playing catch up in a couple of weeks), so I’m going to try to pare down this write up and attempt just to focus on key points for each chart.

Donut Chart

By default when you connect, Respondent is likely to be listed in the ‘Measures’ part of the data pane – towards the bottom. This needs to be dragged into the top half to turn it into a dimension. You can then create

# of Respondents


which is the key field measures are based on throughout this dashboard.

When building donuts, we need to get a handle on the % of total respondents for each track, along with the inverse – the % of total non-respondents for each track. To do this I created fields

Total # of Respondents


and then

Track – % of Total

[# of Respondents]/([Total # of Respondents])

along with the ‘inverse’ of

Non Track – % of Total

1-[Track – % of Total]

To then build the donut, we ultimately need to create a dual axis chart, with Which track do you participate in? on Columns and a MIN(1) field on Rows. Manually reorder the entries so the tracks are listed in the relevant order.

On the first MIN(1) axis/marks card, build a pie chart. Add Measure Names to the filter shelf and filter to the Track & Non Track % of Total fields. Set Mark Type to Pie Chart and add Measure Values to the angle shelf. Add both Which track do you participate in? and Measure Names to the Colour shelf. Set a white border on the Colour shelf. Reorder the entries in the colour legend, and set the colours appropriately.

The create another MIN(1) field next to the existing one on the Rows shelf

Set this marks type to circle, and remove all the fields from the colour & detail shelves. Set the colour to white. Add Which track do you participate in? and Track – % of Total to the Label shelf and format. Reduce the Size. Make dual axis, and synchronise. Further adjust sizes to suit.

Participation Bar Chart

Plot How often do you participate? against # of Respondents, and then add a Quick Table Calculation to the measure using Percent of Total. Manually re-sort the order of the entries, show mark labels and Colour the bars light grey. Apply relevant formatting.

Diverging Bar Chart

In this bar chart, the percentage of ‘agree’ responses are plotted to the right on the +ve scale and the percentage of the ‘disagree’ responses are plotted to the left on the -ve scale. The percentage of the ‘inbetweeners’ (neither agree nor disagree) is halved, and displayed on both sides. To address this, I created the following:

# of Respondents – Diverging +ve

CASE ATTR([Answer])
WHEN ‘Agree’ THEN [# of Respondents]
WHEN ‘Strongly Agree’ THEN [# of Respondents]
WHEN ‘Neither Agree nor Disagree’ THEN [# of Respondents]/2
END / [Total # of Respondents]

This is the % of total respondents for the ‘agree’ responses and half of the ‘inbetweeners’.

Similarly I then have

# of Respondents – Diverging -ve

(CASE ATTR([Answer])
WHEN ‘Disagree’ THEN -1*[# of Respondents]
WHEN ‘Strongly Disagree’ THEN -1 *[# of Respondents]
WHEN ‘Neither Agree nor Disagree’ THEN ([# of Respondents]/2) * -1
END) / [Total # of Respondents]

which is doing similar for the ‘disagree’ responses, except all results are multiple by -1 to make it negative.

The Question field is added to the Filter shelf and the relevant 5 questions are selected. Answer is also on the Filter shelf with the N/A answer excluded.

Add Question to Rows (and manually sort the entries), then add # of Respondents – Diverging -ve and # of Respondents – Diverging +ve to Columns and add Answer to the Colour shelf. Manually resort the entries in the colour legend and adjust the colours accordingly.

Make the chart dual axis, and synchronise the axis. Change the mark type back to bar and remove Measure Names from the colour shelf if it was added. Edit the bottom axis to fix the range from -0.99 to 0.99 and amend the title. Format the axis to display as percentage to 0 dp. Hide the top axis.

Additionally format both the measures to be percentage 0dp, but for the # of Respondents – Diverging -ve custom format, so the negative value is displayed as positive on the tooltip.

Adjust formatting to set row banding, remove gridlines etc and set tooltips.

Vertical bar chart

The best way to start building this chart is to duplicate the diverging one. Then remove both measures from the Columns shelf and add Answer to Columns. Manually re-sort the answers. Add # of Respondents to Rows and add a Quick Table Calculation of percent of total.

Show the marks label, and align bottom centre, and match mark colour. Hide the axis from displaying, and also hide the Question field (uncheck show header). Update the Tooltip.


Right click on the Question field > Aliases and set the alias for the relevant questions

Also add Question to Filter and select relevant values. Add Answer to Filter too and exclude NULL.

Add Question to Columns and add Answer to the Text shelf. Add # of Respondents to the Text shelf, and set to Percent of Total quick table calculation. Edit the table calculation to compute using the Answer field only

We need to get each of these columns ‘sorted’ from high to low – we want to rank them. To do this, add # of Respondents to Rows, then change it to be a blue discrete pill. Add a Rank quick table calculation and once again set to compute by Answer only. Also set the rank to be Unique

Now change the mark type to square, and then add the # of Respondents percent of total field onto Colour as well as Text (the easiest way to do this to retain all the table calc settings, is to hold down Ctrl then click and drag the pill from the Text shelf onto Colour. This should duplicate the pill.

Format the % of total displayed to be 0dp, and adjust the label. Change the Colour to use the purple range and set a white border too. Hide the ‘rank’ field from displaying and hide field labels for columns too.

The dashboard

I used a vertical container then added the objects as required, using nested horizontal containers to organise the side by side charts.

To make the diverging bar and vertical bar charts look like they are one chart, adjust the padding of diverging bar chart object to have 0 to the right, and similarly, adjust the padding of the vertical bar to have 0 padding to the left.

I found it a bit fiddly to get the charts to line up exactly. Both charts were set to fit entire view. The diverging bar chart displays it’s title. I also displayed a title on the vertical bar chart, but made the text white so it’s invisible.

Dashboard filter actions are set against the donut and the participation bar charts.

The filter uses selected fields, which for the donut chart references the Which track do you partcipate in? field. A similar dashboard action needs creating for the participation chart as the source and references the How often do you partcipate? field.

A highlight dashboard action is required for the diverging and vertical bar charts. They only impact each other and should be set up as below on hover.

Hopefully I’ve covered everything… my published version is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Generation Population

For week 17 of #WOW2021, Sean Miller decided to challenge us with recreating a chart by Nathan Yau (see here for the original). The aim was to recreate within 1 sheet, which I managed to do. So how did I do it? Read on 🙂

  • The groundwork
  • Colouring the bars
  • Adding the year labels
  • Final formatting

The groundwork

The chart itself follows a straight forward structure of multiple blue dimension fields on Columns with a green measure on Rows similar to this view below based on Superstore Sales data – it’s just formatted a bit more creatively!

The data provided just contains 3 fields : SEX, AGE and 2019 Population. We want to present the 2019 Population measure for the Total SEX only by Year. We need to create the Year field, which is simply



I dragged this into the ‘dimensions’ section of the data pane (above the line).

This allows us to create the basic bar chart required

We now need to define the various fields that we will need to add as additional dimensions on the Columns shelf to create the ‘generation’ data panes.


IF [Year]<= 1927 THEN ‘Greatest
ELSEIF [Year]<= 1945 THEN ‘Silent Generation’
ELSEIF [Year]<=1964 THEN ‘Baby Boomer’
ELSEIF [Year] <= 1980 THEN ‘Generation X’
ELSEIF [Year]<=1996 THEN ‘Millennials’
ELSEIF [Year]<=2012 THEN ‘Generation Z’

NOTE – there is a deliberate carriage return in the condition for ‘Greatest Generation’ and ‘Gen Alpha’ which will force the field to ‘wrap’ when displayed.

Having defined the above, we need to determine

Total Population Per Generation

{FIXED [Generation], [SEX]: SUM([2019 Population])}

and then

% of Total Population

SUM([Total Population Per Generation]) / TOTAL(SUM([Total Population Per Generation]))

NOTE – to create this field, I originally created a ‘quick table calculation’ against the Total Population Per Generation field which I’d displayed on a view, and then dragged the resulting pill into the measures pane to create the new field with the desired calc.

Let’s put these in a table, so we can then check the values, and see that the 2nd and 3rd columns are the same value for each row associated to a particular generation, which is what we need.

Right, so now we need to determine the rank based on the Total Population Per Generation


RANK_DENSE(SUM([Total Population Per Generation]))

Format this to a custom number with 0 decimal places, but prefixed with #

When added to the table we get

The intention, is that Rank will be displayed as discrete ‘header’ pill rather than a measure, so let’s move Rank to be the 1st pill on the Rows shelf and change to be discrete.

But we need the Total Population Per Generation and % of Total Population fields to be combined into a single pill. So we need to do a bit of string manipulation/ number formatting for this

Total | Percent

STR(ROUND(SUM([Total Population Per Generation])/1000000,1)) + ‘M’ + ‘ | ‘ + STR(ROUND([% of Total Population] * 100,1)) +’%’

This looks complicated, but its because even though you may have applied the relevant display number formatting against the individual numeric measures of Total Population Per Generation and % of Total Population, the formatting is not preserved, when converted into a string field, which this field needs to be. So the relevant calculations need to be applied within the field itself.

This outputs the below

Now we need a way to sort the data so the ‘Greatest Generation’ associated to the earliest years is listed first. I did this by determining the minimum date within each Generation.

Min Year Per Generation

{FIXED [Generation], [SEX]: MIN([Year])}

Add this into the view as the first pill in Rows, and the data should automatically sort from lowest to highest

We can now build the viz – duplicate the table sheet, remove Total Population Per Generation and % of Total Population from the Measure Values section. Drag 2019 Population to Columns, then click the swap rows & columns button :

Colouring the bars

The bars are coloured based on each ‘Generation’ pane. You could hardcode this along the lines of ‘Generation = x OR Generation = y or Generation = z etc’ where x, y and z etc are generations of the same colour. This would return true or false, which you can then add to the colour shelf and adjust accordingly.

I decided to be a bit more dynamic, deciding I wanted to set the colour based on whether it was an odd or even pane.

For this I created another ‘rank’ field based on the field I’d used to ‘sort’ the data, the Min Year Per Generation field.

Sort Position

RANK_DENSE(MIN([Min Year per Generation]),’asc’)

If you add this into the data table, you’ll see each section is numbered 1 -7

From this, we can then determine if the number is even (or not)

Sort Position is even number

[Sort Position]%2=0

Add this onto the Colour shelf which will return True or False and colour accordingly.

Adding the year labels

The year labels are achieved by using a dual axis chart, to plot a point for each specific year (based on the Min Year Per Generation field) at some arbitrary value.

Point to Plot Year Label

IF [Year]=[Min Year per Generation] AND [Year]<>1919 THEN 4700000 END

For each ‘min year’ that isn’t 1919, plot a value at 4.7M.

Add this field to the Rows shelf, change mark type to circle, reduce size to as small as it can, and set the colour transparency to 0.

Add Min Year Per Generation to the Label shelf, then change the alignment to vertical.

Now you make the chart dual axis and synchronise the axis. Some of the colours/marks may change, so reset by removing Measure Names from the Colour shelf and changing the mark types bar to bar & circle.

Final formatting

So at this point all the main components are there. It’s now a case of formatting – removing right and bottom axes, removing gridlines. The vertical dashed lines, are column dividers, set at the pane level only.

The solid left hand axis is set via

The text is formatted using the fonts advised in the requirements and sizes adjusted to suit.

Add on a tooltip, and set the background colour of the worksheet and you should be done.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you create a reference line for each dimension?

Ann Jackson returned this week with a challenge primarily focussed on formatting.

The core requirement this week was to be able to present different measures on a chart, based on a user selection, but where the values displayed were of differing numerical formats

  • Sales per order in $ to 0 decimal places, formatted to show a ‘,’ every 1,000.
  • Profit Ratio as a % to 1 decimal place
  • Items per order as a numerical value to 2 decimal places

My focus points this week are

  • Measure swapping
  • Adding the line labels
  • Labelling the y-axis
  • Adding the reference lines
  • Building the blocks

Measure Swapping

This is technique that should be in everyone’s arsenal, as it’s a great way to present multiple views of the data without the need for multiple instances of the chart – it saves space and clutter but continues to allow flexibility.

The 3 measures required needed to be defined through calculated fields

Profit Ratio


Sales per Order

SUM([Sales])/COUNTD([Order ID])

Items per Order

SUM([Quantity])/COUNTD([Order ID])

A parameter is also required to allow the user selection. I chose to use a string parameter with the various measures displayed as below


Then to pull this altogether, I needed to build a calculated field to store the relevant value based on the parameter value selected

Display Measure

WHEN ‘Profit Ratio’ THEN ROUND([Profit Ratio]*100,1)
WHEN ‘Sales Per Order’ THEN ROUND([Sales Per Order],0)
WHEN ‘Items Per Order’ THEN ROUND([Items Per Order],2)

It’s within this field I chose to define the number formatting I wanted to display, and by then setting the number format of the field to Number Standard, it seemed to show what I intended on hover. Add Display Measure to Rows and plot against QUARTER(Order Date) coloured by Category to get the display below.

Adding the line labels

However while the numeric format is what’s required, I haven’t got the $ or % symbol, and I can’t apply that as part of the default formatting.

Instead I created explicit prefix & suffix fields

$ Label Prefix

IF [SELECT A MEASURE] = ‘Sales Per Order’ THEN ‘$’ END

% Label Suffix

IF [SELECT A MEASURE] = ‘Profit Ratio’ THEN ‘%’ END

Adding these 2 fields to the Detail shelf, they can then be referenced in both the Tooltip and the Label as follows

<$ Label Prefix><AGG(Display Measure)><% Label Suffix>

Based on the logic, either both fields will be NULL/blank else, only one will be populated, so you’ll never get $1,000% displayed!

Labelling the y-axis

Amend the y-axis to delete the Display Measure title, then add the SELECT A MEASURE parameter to the Rows shelf. Rotate and format accordingly.

Adding the Reference Lines

Adding a reference line – simples, surely! But why would Ann be making a challenge if it was that easy….hmmmmm! So what were the challenges posed here

  1. If you add an ‘Average’ reference line, you don’t get a value per line (even if you select the ‘per cell’ option) – you just get one average line. If the chart was split so there was a row per category, you’d be able to get this.

2.The lines displayed can’t be created via a ‘dual’ axis chart where the 2nd axis is showing the average, because the line format is a finely dotted line, and we can’t format a line mark this way. Proper reference lines can be formatted though, so I concluded the lines had to be true reference lines.

3. However, the labelling of a reference line is quite limited, and while I can show the value, I can’t use other calculated fields (ie the Prefix/Suffix fields) on the reference line label…

I came up with the following solution : create separate fields to store the AVG values for each Category, so that I could add 3 separate reference lines to the main chart; then create a dual axis line chart which also showed the average per category, label the line accordingly, and reduce the opacity of the line to 0%.

Ref Line Per Category

WINDOW_AVG([Display Measure])

Stores the average of the data displayed, and can be varied based on the table calc settings.

Ref Line – Tech

IF MIN([Category]) = ‘Technology’ THEN [Ref Line per Category] END

Only stores the average for the Technology data. I created equivalent ones of these for Ref Line – Office and Ref Line – Furniture

All 3 fields were added to the Detail shelf, then added as 3 different reference lines, coloured and formatted as a dotted line accordingly

To make the labels, I added Ref Line per Category to the Rows shelf to create a secondary axis. The table calculation was set as below

This produces a straight line for each category on a second chart, which I duly labelled by choosing to label the start of line, and aligning top left

I then set the opacity of the line colour to 0%, which makes the line disappear

I then set the chart to be dual axis, and synchronised the axis.

Building the blocks

For the block chart, I started by building a Tree Map (using Show Me) based on Category and the Ref Line Per Category fields.

I created a Rank field as

RANK([Ref Line per Category])

which I added to the Tooltip. I also then filtered the chart to Rank=1 to give me the main block. I then duplicated this sheet, and changed the rank filter to Rank=2, and repeated again for Rank=3. This gave me 3 sheets I could then organise onto the dashboard, as just using the tree map view directly, I couldn’t control how the different sections would display.

This was a fun challenge this week, slightly less taking than the previous weeks! My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you show the top 10 rank over time for each Olympic country?

The #WOW2020 week 31 challenge was combined with a #PreppinData challenge and launched at a virtual live event. I was fortunate enough to be able to join this event for the first hour and had the pleasure of meeting up with some #WOW regulars Sean Miller, Kyle Yetter & Tim Beard, along with #WOW challenge setter Lorna Brown, and #PreppinData setters, Jenny Martin and Tom Prowse. I was gutted I couldn’t stay on for the whole session, but work commitments got in the way – bah!

I did complete the #PreppinData challenge first, and the last time the team ran a combined event, I did blog on how I built both challenges, but I’m struggling for time, and the #WOW has got a fair bit going on, so I’m afraid the Prep challenge won’t make the cut this time – sorry #Preppers!

So onto the #WOW challenge. Part of this challenge was to utilise the new Relationships feature in 2020.2, so you need to be on this version to follow along.

Creating the data source

If you’d completed the #PreppinData challenge, you could use your own outputs as the inputs for #WOW challenge. I did that initially, but as I was building I had a few minor discrepancies from the solution, so chose to replace my data sources with the hyper files that are referenced in the Prep challenge, these being

  • Host Countries – 1 row per Olympic Host City (and Country) per Year since 1896 to 2016
  • Country Medals – 1 row per Country attending the Olympics per Year, summarising the number of Bronze, Silver and Gold medals won by that country.
  • Medalists – For every Country, for every Year, there is 1 row per Athlete who won a Medal including the type of Medal (Bronze, Silver, Gold).

In Tableau Desktop, connect to the Host Countries hyper file and drag the ‘table’ named Extract into the data source pane. If you right click on the table, you can the rename it – I chose Host.

Then Add a connection to the Country Medals hyper file, and again drag the ‘table’ named Extract into the data source pane so it connects to the Host table. Set the relationship to be on Year. I renamed the ‘table’ again to be Medals.

Now add another connection to the Medalists hyper file, and drag the ‘table’ named Extract to connect to the Medals table, this time setting the relationship both on Country and Year. I renamed the ‘table’ again to be Medalists.

Building the Bump Chart

As with many challenges, if I can, I build the data I need into a table to start with, so I can check my calculations, so lets get the basics

Note – depending on the order you connected your tables in the data source, some field names that exist in multiple tables will be suffixed with fieldname (Extract x). I won’t refer to the Extract part, but will reference fields I use in this blog by prefixing with the table name instead.

Drag out Host.Year, Host.Host Country, Medals.Country to Rows. Lets show the number of medals of each type each country won, so we can use this to sense check some calculations later : put Medals.Gold, Medals.Silver, Medals.Bronze into the table

The bump chart we need to build is ranked based on the score of each country which in turn is determined by giving 3 points for each gold medal, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze, so we need a calculated field


IFNULL(SUM([Bronze]),0) + (IFNULL(SUM([Silver]),0) * 2) + (IFNULL(SUM([Gold]),0) * 3)

We need to rank this score, and I’m going to have a calculated field to store this explicitly

Rank Score


Add these 2 fields to the table, and adjust the table calculation of Rank Score so all fields except Year are ticked

Now we could start building out the bump chart now, and I did when I was creating this and would then flit back and forth between doing something on the chart and checking new calcs. However, to keep the blog a bit easier, we’ll continue building out the table.

So first up, we need another rank field. When building out the bump chart initially, I was doing all sorts of things to show the Top 10 only, but whatever I did, I couldn’t stop the lines from joining up between countries when they didn’t exist in consecutive years eg Greece is 1st in 1896, but doesn’t appear in the Top 10 again until 1904. As 1900 was missed, the lines shouldn’t join, but mine were. I was faffing over this for some time, so eventually caved and checked out Lorna’s solution. She’d resolved this simply with

Top 10 Rank Only

IF [Rank Score] < 11 THEN [Rank Score] ELSE NULL END

ie only show the rank if its in the Top 10. Simples really!

Add this onto the table and check the table calculation setting is as previously.

So for the bones of the bump chart we have the two fields we’re going to plot against – Year and Top 10 Rank Only, but before we do that, let’s get the fields we need that are displayed on the tooltip.

# Countries Per Year

{FIXED [Year] : COUNT([Medals])}

This will give us the number of countries that participated in each year. The COUNT([Medals]) comes from dragging the Medals(Count) that is automatically generated as part of the Medals table into the calculated field dialog- in the new Relationships model, this Count field against each table is essentially the equivalent of Number of Records.

# Medals

IFNULL(SUM([Bronze]),0) + IFNULL(SUM([Silver]),0) + IFNULL(SUM([Gold]),0)

A simple tally of the total number of medals won by each country.

Is Host?

[Host Country]=[Country (Extract2)]

where this is checking Host.Host Country against Medals.Country and returns true if they match.

Hosted | Participated

IF [Is Host?] THEN ‘hosted’ ELSE ‘participated’ END

The text on the tooltip differs slightly dependent on whether the country hosted or not.

COLOUR: Country

IF [Is Host?] THEN [Host Country] END

The stars on the bump chart need to be coloured based on country, but we don’t want the circles coloured too, so this field is necessary.

Let’s get all these into our table… you’ll notice (or you may not), but adding some of these fields causes the Rank Score & Top 10 Rank Only to change, so readjust the tableau calculation so only Year remains unchecked.

Now we have everything to build the core bump chart.

Add Host.Year to Columns, Medals.Country to Detail and then add Top 10 Rank Only on Rows. Change the Mark Type to a Line, and verify the table calculation on the Top 10 Rank Only is set to compute by Country only.

Edit the Top 10 Rank Only axis and set the scale to be reversed

Change the Colour to grey and make the Size smaller.

Then add another instance of Top 10 Rank Only to site alongside the existing one on the Rows.(I tend to click on the existing pill, hold down ctrl and then drag – this will create a duplicate instance and will retain the table calculation settings).

Now make the chart dual axis & synchronise the axis.

Change the mark type of the second axis to be a shape, and add Is Host? to the Shape shelf. Adjust so that false is a filled circle and true is a filled star.

Also add Is Host? to the Size shelf on this marks card, and adjust the sizes so true is bigger than false.

At this point you will need to adjust the table calculation of the 2nd Top 10 Rank Only pill, to compute by both Country and Is Host?.

Add COLOUR: Country to the Colour shelf, and adjust the colours to use the Hue Circle palette. Set the NULL value to the same shade of grey as the line.

You’ll need to adjust the table calculation again of the 2nd Top 10 Rank By County pill, so only Year is unselected.

All the following fields need to be added to the Tooltip of the All marks card.

  • Score
  • # Countries Per Year
  • Hosted | Participated
  • Top 10 Rank Only (setting the table calc to compute by everything except Year)
  • # Medals

Adjust the Tooltip accordingly, then tidy up the formatting of the chart

  • Hide the Top 10 Rank Only axis
  • Rotate the labels of the Year
  • Hide the Year field label
  • Remove all row & column lines and gridlines/zero lines

Medals Viz in Tooltip

The Bump chart has 2 Viz in Tooltips, one showing the count of the different medals won and the other showing the top 10 athletes. Build the Medals chart by

  • Host.Year to Rows
  • Medals.Country to Rows
  • Medals.Bronze to Columns
  • Then drag the Medals.Silver pill to the bottom of the chart where the Bronze axis is, and when you see 2 green columns, drop the pill. This should have the effect of Measure Values automatically being added to Columns, and Measure Names being automatically added to Rows and the Filter shelf.
  • Then add Medals.Gold into the Measure Values pane
  • Reorgansie the pills in the Measure Values pane so they are listed Gold, Silver, Bronze
  • Add Measure Names to Colour and adjust accordingly
  • Show the mark Label

Now hide the Year and the Country columns, and the Value axis at the bottom. Remove all the formatting (the quickest way is to go to the bump chart sheet you should hopefully have formatted already, right click on the tab of the sheet at the bottom, and select Copy Formatting, then go back to the sheet you’re working on, and on the tab, right click & Paste Formatting

If this doesn’t clean everything up enough, just adjust formatting manually.

Finally, set the fit on this sheet to be Entire View. This will squash everything up, but when its referenced from the viz in tooltip, the view will be filtered to the Year and Country. Doing this will remove the ‘this view is too large’ message that may appear on the Viz in Tooltip.

Switch back to the Bump chart and add the sheet to the Tooltip by Insert -> Sheets -> <Select your sheet>. Adjust the maxwidth property to 500 and maxheight property to 100 to make the viz fit better

Top 10 Athletes Viz in Tooltip

Build the initial viz by

  • Host.Year to Rows
  • Medals.Country to Rows
  • Medalists.Athlete to Rows
  • Medalists,Medal to Columns and manually reorder the columns.
  • Medalists.Medalists(Count) to Columns
  • Medalists.Medal to Colour

To work out the Top 10, we need to first work out the score per medal

Medalist Score

CASE [Medal]
WHEN ‘Gold’ THEN 3
WHEN ‘Silver’ THEN 2
WHEN ‘Bronze’ THEN 1

then calculate the total score per athlete per games, since an athlete can win more than one medal and appear in multiple games

Total Score per Athlete

{FIXED [Year], [Country (Extract2)], [Athlete] : SUM([Medalist Score])}

where the Country is from the Medals table.

Use this field to sort the Athlete pill

We only want the Top 10 though, so add Athlete to the Filter shelf, and filter by the top 10 of Total Score per Athlete

At this point, things won’t look right, as the filter will be applying over all the data. To get this right, we now need to add the sheet to the Viz in Tooltip, so go back to the Bump chart, and on the tooltip add a reference to this sheet.

Adjust the width and explicitly filter by Host.Year, Medals.Country

If you now return to the Top 10 sheet, an additional filter will have been automatically added to the Filter shelf. Add this filter to context, so it will change to a grey pill.

Now return to the Bump chart and just test out that the chart is presenting correctly when hovering over various fields.

Now return to the Top 10 chart and tidy up all the formatting and hide various fields, and set to Entire View.

The bump chart should now be complete

Building the strip plot

The strip plot is showing a mark for each host with an indicator to show if they finished in the Top 10 or not. Additional information on the tooltip shows the host’s score and medals count. We’ll build this into a table first as below

We ultimately need to show 1 row per year, but the country level data is required to work out the rank. So we’re going to use some more table calculations.

We want to capture the host’s score and medals accrued against all the rows associated with each year.

Score for Host


Medals for Host

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Is Host?]) THEN [# Medals] END)

Add these to the table, setting the table calculation to compute over all fields except Year.

We also need to know if the host was in the top 10 or not

Is Host in Top 10?

WINDOW_MAX(IF ATTR([Is Host?]) AND [Rank Score]<=10 THEN 1 ELSE 0 END)

Add this onto the table, and again, sense check the table calculations (this one is nested) to ensure all are computing by all fields except Year

So we have all the bits of data we’ll need, we just need to reduce to 1 row per year.

Index = Size


Add this onto the Filter shelf, and set to true. Check the table calculation again to ensure all fields except Year are set. Recheck the filter is still only selecting true.

This should reduce the data, and just show the last row listed for each country.

For the strip plot, add

  • Host.Year to Columns
  • Medals.Country to Detail
  • Mark Type to Shape
  • Is Host in Top 10? to Size and to Shape. Adjust the table calcs and shape/size accordingly (you’ll need to reverse the size).
  • Host Country to Tooltip
  • Medals for Host to Tooltip (remember table calc)
  • Score for Host to Tooltip (remember table calc)
  • Index = Size to Filter set to true (again remember table calc)
  • Change colour to red
  • Adjust Tooltip accordingly

Finally adjust the formatting, and remove the header.

Top 10 Countries Viz in Tooltip

Add Host.Year, Host Country and Medals.Country to Rows and Score to Columns, then click the Sort button in the menu to sort the Country descending. Add Rank Score to Rows and change to be discrete (blue pill). Move it to sit in front of the Country field

We need to restrict the rows based on whether the Country in is the top 10 or it’s the host country

Is Host or Top 10?

ATTR([Is Host?]) OR [Rank Score]<=10

Add this onto the Filter shelf and set to true; once again make sure the table calc is computing by all fields other than Year (and double check its still set to true after adjusting). If you scroll to the bottom, you should see 11 rows for 2016, as the host, Brazil, finished 12th.

And now we need to colour the bars


IF [Rank Score] > 10 THEN ‘Red’
ELSEIF ATTR([Is Host?]) THEN ‘Blue’
ELSE ‘Grey’

Add to the Colour shelf and adjust accordingly. Then add Score and # Medals to the Text shelf and format the label displayed. Finally hide some of the fields and format the chart to remove axis/gridlines etc.

Finally, set the fit to Entire View.

Go to the strip plot chart and add this sheet to the Tooltip, setting the filter to be on Year

And that should be all the components you need to build the dashboard.

My published version is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Which products are most profitable?

I’m starting to write this blog with a bit of uncertainty today as I’m not ultimately sure where I’m going to end up….

I wasn’t even sure I was going to pen an entry this week…. I found Luke’s challenge tough, and the path I took full of multiple wrong turns, that meant trying to write out a comprehensible ‘how I did it’ quite tricky, as reviewing now I’m questioning ‘what did I do that for…’.

Whilst with perseverance and a bit of inspiration from Rob Saunders, I did manage to post a working solution, I knew I wasn’t overly happy with it, particularly because my expand and collapse functions didn’t behave as I saw others do… I had to click twice to collapse.

Before starting to write, I decided to check out Luke’s workbook which he’d finally published to see if I could understand where I was going wrong.

I’d used both a set action and parameter action in my attempt; Luke had just a parameter action. In trying to understand why I ended up with a set action and see if I could do without it, my solution gradually started unravelling, as various calculated fields needed changing.

So, I think the best way to approach this blog is to rebuild my solution from scratch, using only my existing workbook as a reference, and I will attempt to write and screen shot as I build. This could take some time, and I have no idea how successful I’ll be…. I may well get to a point where I’ve taken a wrong turn again, and everything I’ve written needs to be scrapped… at which point I may just have to say ‘sorry, I tried!’……

Ok, let’s get cracking.

Top N Sub-Categories

At the ‘first’ level of the table, we need to display the top n sub-categories ordered by Profit. Those not in the top n should be displayed under an ‘All Others’ grouping, and always displayed at the bottom. The top n can vary based on the user input.

We need a parameter to define the value of the top n.


This is an integer parameter ranging from 1-10, defaulted to 3. I’ve titled it exactly as displayed on the output, so it’s one less change to make later (hence the capitals).

The easiest way to group the sub-categories into those in the top n, is to use a set. Right click Sub-Category and Create -> Set.

Top N SubCats by Profit

Use the Top tab to define the rules for which Sub-Category to include, referencing the SUB-CATEGORIES TO SHOW parameter and the Profit field as shown below.

SubCat Group

IF [Top N SubCats by Profit] THEN [Sub-Category] ELSE ‘All Others’ END

If the Sub-Category is in the set then the name will display, otherwise it will be grouped under the ‘All Others’.

Add SubCat Group to Rows and change the sort on the pill to sort by Field = Profit desc

This will result in All Others being listed at the top, but to resolve that, drag the Top N SubCats by Profit set onto the Rows an place in front of the SubCat Group.

Let’s get some of the measures we need out onto the canvas.



format to percentage with 0dp.

Add Margin, Profit & Sales onto the sheet.

Top N Products

The next level in the table displays the Top N products per SubCat Group based on their margin. For those not in the Top N, the products should be grouped under ‘All Others’, and listed at the bottom. The Top N is once again defined by a user input via a parameter.


Once again an integer parameter ranging from 1-10 but defaulted at 5 this time.

Unfortunately, this time we can’t use a set to define our Top N grouping. This is because the set will only consider the Top N across all Products and will not consider the fact the Products are nested per Sub-Category grouping. So we need to come up with an alternative. I did do a bit of research to find ideas, and found this article by Emma Whyte at The Information Lab to get me started : Showing a Nested Top N with Other in Tableau.

The Top N needs to be based on the order of the Margin, or the rank.

Margin Rank


Change this to be a Discrete field.

This will give us a unique ‘number’ per row displayed based on the value of Margin. If records have the same Margin value, using RANK_UNIQUE will mean they get a different rank number (as opposed to how other ranking functions work). The table calculation of INDEX() could work just as well. NOTE – there is potential though that when the Margin values are the same for different products, what makes the Top N and what doesn’t may differ, so you might find you get a slightly different list from some of the solutions you see.

Add Margin Rank and Product Name onto the sheet, and edit the table calculation on Margin Rank, to compute by Product Name only

We now want to group the Product Name based on the Top N products.

Product Name Group

IF [Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW])
THEN ATTR([Product Name])
ELSE ‘All Others’ END

We also only want to show (PRODUCTS TO SHOW + 1) rows per SubCat Group ie if PRODUCTS TO SHOW = 5, we want to display 6 rows per SubCat Group, where the 6th row displays ‘All Others’. The 6th row also needs to show the Profit, Sales and Margin values associated to all the Products in the ‘All Others’ Product Name Group.

So we need to calculate some new fields that will store a revised value for Proft, Sales and Margin, depending what row we’re working with.

Sales For Others


If the Product Name isn’t in the Top N, then get it’s Sales value, and then sum all of those rows that meet the same condition.

If you put this onto the sheet, and set the table calculation for each of the nested calculations (Sales for Others & Margin Rank) to be by Product Name only, you’ll see that the value displayed in every row for each SubCat Group is the sum of the values associated to the rows in the ‘All Others’ group.

So now we need a field that’s either going to display the Sales for the 1 product or the sales for the group of products, depending on what row we’re on.

Grouped Sales

IF [Margin Rank]<= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) THEN SUM([Sales]) ELSE [Sales For Others] END

Again the table calculation settings need to be set to compute by Product Name only. This is the field we ultimately want to display, so it needs to be formatted accordingly. The Sales and Sales For Others fields can be removed.

Along similar lines, we need

Profit For Others


Grouped Profit

IF [Margin Rank]<= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) THEN SUM([Profit]) ELSE [Profit For Others] END

Margin For Others

IF [Margin Rank] > [PRODUCTS TO SHOW] THEN [Profit For Others]/[Sales For Others] END

Grouped Margin

IF [Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) THEN [Margin] ELSE [Margin For Others] END

When added to the sheet, once again make sure all the table calculation properties for all the nested calculations are set to compute by Product Name only.

As mentioned above, we only want to show PRODUCTS TO SHOW + 1 rows, so let’s create a field we can filter by :


[Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) + 1

Add this to the Filter shelf and set to True. Once again the table calculation needs to be set to compute by Product Name only.

Add Totals

We want a grand total and subtotals only at the level of SubCat Group. Add the totals by Analysis -> Totals -> Show Column Grand Totals to get the overall total. Then on the SubCat Group pill, click and add SubTotals

We’ve now got the main components of the table. We now need to get the interactivity working to allow the expand / contract on arrow selection.

Expand / Contract All Others Product Group

First up, we’ll just tidy up our table display

  • Hide the In/Out Top N SubCats By Profit field
  • Hide the Margin Rank field
  • Hide the Product Name field.
  • Remove the Margin field
  • Alias the Grouped Margin, Grouped Profit, Grouped Sales fields
    • Right click and Edit Alias. Name the field ‘ Margin ‘ (note the trailing and leading spaces. You can’t alias just as Margin as a field already exists with that name, but the spaces make it think it’s a new name.

We need an additional field that will store our ‘arrow’ icon. We’re going to revisit this field. For starters

Product Group Header

IF [Margin Rank] <= [PRODUCTS TO SHOW] THEN ”
ELSE ‘►’

I use this site to get my icon characters from. Add this field to the sheet after the SubCate Group pill, once again setting the table calculation to compute by Product Name.

In the dashboard, the aim is to click on an arrow associated to a single SubCat Group, which will expand the Product Group Name field to display the actual Product Name (rather than ‘All Others’) with their associated Margin, Sales & Profit values, and also show a ▼ icon.

This will be achieved using Parameter Actions, for which we need a parameter :

Selected Sub Category Group

String parameter defaulted to ”

Display this parameter on the sheet, as we can start to test the interactivity ‘manually’ without the need for the dashboard. What the dashboard action will do is on ‘click’, it will be set to populate the value of this parameter with the associated SubCat Group value. We can then do some checks based off of this and set various fields accordingly. It means we need to revisit some of the fields.

First up let’s set the arrow….

Edit Product Group Header to be

IF [Selected SubCat Group] = MIN([SubCat Group]) THEN
ELSE ‘►’

Test this by entering the value of ‘Copiers’ into the Selected SubCat Group parameter. The arrow against ‘All Others’ should change.

We also need to change the value of the Product Name Group to show the actual Product Name on selection, so

edit the Product Name Group

IF [Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW])
THEN ATTR([Product Name])
IF [Selected SubCat Group] = MIN([SubCat Group])
THEN ATTR([Product Name])
ELSE ‘All Others’ END

Again test this out by changing the value in the parameter.

But we need to make more rows show too, so

edit Show?

([Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) + 1) OR (MIN([SubCat Group]) =[Selected SubCat Group])

The values of our measures are still the totals though, so we need to edit these fields to

Grouped Sales

IF ([Margin Rank]<= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) OR ([Selected SubCat Group] = MIN([SubCat Group])) ) THEN SUM([Sales]) ELSE [Sales For Others] END

Grouped Profit

IF ([Margin Rank]<= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) OR ([Selected SubCat Group] = MIN([SubCat Group])) ) THEN SUM([Profit]) ELSE [Profit For Others] END

Grouped Margin

IF ([Margin Rank] <= MIN([PRODUCTS TO SHOW]) OR ([Selected SubCat Group]=MIN([SubCat Group]))) THEN [Margin] ELSE [Margin For Others] END

However while this works if you play with setting and clearing the parameter on the sheet, it won’t quite fully work if added as a dashboard action, as while the action can set the parameter we can’t ‘clear it’.

We need to ‘tie’ the parameter action to another field

SubCat Group for Reset

IF [Selected SubCat Group] = MIN([SubCat Group]) THEN ”
ELSE MIN([SubCat Group])

Add this to the Detail shelf (if you want to see how it changes based on the parameter value, add it to the Rows and test changing the parameter).

It needs to be on the sheet so it can be referenced from the dashboard action.

Adding the Action

Add the sheet to a dashboard, then add Parameter Action as below where the Target Parameter is Selected SubCat Group and the field it references is SubCat Group for Reset

And after all that, you should have a working solution. Phew!

Pretty pleased I got there without taking a detour 🙂 The table just now needs various formatting applied, which I’m going to leave to you to do 🙂 Just tweet me if you’re having problems!

The parameter action may be confusing you a bit – it took a while to really get my head round it, so I’ve tried to explain this a bit more below…

How the parameter action works

On initial load of the sheet, the Selected SubCat Group parameter is blank. So for the SubCat Group = Copiers, the SubCat Group for Reset will also be Copiers as SubCat Group is not the same as Selected SubCat Group parameter. Other fields are also set based on the fact these two fields aren’t the same (like the arrow pointing to the right etc).

When the right arrow is clicked on the dashboard, the value of SubCat Group for Reset is used to populate the Selected SubCat Group parameter. So in this example, Selected SubCat Group will now contain the value Copiers. As the Selected SubCat Group parameter is now the same as the SubCat Group, various fields change their behaviour (like the arrow now points down, and more rows are displayed). But also, the value of the SubCat Group for Reset is also changed; as the SubCat Group is the same as the Selected Sub Cat Group parameter, SubCat Group for Reset now contains a blank string.

So at the point the down arrow is now clicked again on the dashboard, the value of the SubCat Group for Reset is again used to populate the Selected SubCat Group parameter. As SubCat Group for Reset is blank, then the parameter will now be populated with a blank value, and so all the login in the fields will be based on the fact that SubCat Group is not the same as the Selected SubCat Group parameter, and the table will display just as it did on first load.

Hope that helps to demystify what’s going on… it’s certainly helped me!

Thanks for sticking with me if you got this far 🙂

The version of the challenge I built while writing this (my 3rd published version) is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!


Can you build smart ranked lists?

It was Ann’s turn this week to post the weekly #WOW challenge. There’s a fair bit going on here, so let’s get cracking.

Building the main chart

There’s essentially 3 instances of this chart. I’ll walk through the steps to create the Sales version. All the fields just need to be duplicated to build the Orders & Quantity versions.

First up we need a parameter to store the date the user selects. This needs to be a date parameter that allows all dates and is set to 8th May 2019 by default: Order Date Parameter

Based on this parameter value, we need to work out the day of the week of the parameter date, the date 12 weeks ago, and then filter all the dates to just include the dates that match the day of the week. So we need

Day of Week

UPPER(DATENAME(‘weekday’,[Order Date Parameter],’Monday’))

(the UPPER is necessary for the display Ann has stated).

Dates to Include

[Order Date]>=DATEADD(‘day’,-84,[Order Date Parameter])
AND [Order Date]<= [Order Date Parameter]

This identifies the dates in the 12 week period we’re concerned with.

I played around with ‘week’ and ‘day’, as I noticed when playing with Ann’s published solution that sometimes there were 12 dates displayed, other times there were 13, but this is just down to how the number of days in a month fall, and whether there’s actually orders on the days.

Weekdays to Include

[Day of Week] = UPPER(DATENAME(‘weekday’,[Order Date],’Monday’))

This identifies all the dates that are on the same day of the week as the Order Date Parameter.

Add both Dates to Include and Weekdays to Include to the Filters shelf and set both to True.

Add Order Date to Rows and set to be a discrete exact date. Add Sales to Text. Sort Order Date by Sales DESC

The colouring of the cells is based on 4 conditions

  • being the max value
  • being above the average value
  • being the min value
  • being below the average value

I used table calcs to work this out, giving each condition a numeric value


IF SUM([Sales]) = WINDOW_MAX(SUM([Sales])) THEN 1
ELSEIF SUM([Sales]) >= WINDOW_AVG(SUM([Sales])) THEN 2

Add this to the Colour shelf and change it to be a continuous (green) pill, which will enable you to select a ‘range’ colour palette rather than a discrete one. Temperature Diverging won’t be available for selection unless the pill is green; on selection, the colours will automatically be set as per the requirement. Change the mark type to Square.

We also need to identify an above & below average split so create

Sales Header

UPPER(IF [COLOUR:Sales]<=2 THEN ‘Above
ELSE ‘Below

Note the carriage return/line break, which is necessary to force the text across 2 lines.

Add this to the Rows shelf in front of Order Date, and format to rotate label

Finally we need to show a triangle indicator against the selected date.

Selected Date

IF [Order Date]=[Order Date Parameter] THEN ‘►’ ELSE ” END

I use this site to source the shapes I need.

Add this to Rows between Sales Header and Order Date

Format to remove all column & row lines, then add row banding set to the appropriate level, and a mid grey colour

Finally Hide Field Labels for Rows, format the font of the date and set the tooltip.

Now we need to set the title to include the rank of the selected date.

Selected Date Sales Rank

IF ATTR([Order Date])=[Order Date Parameter] THEN RANK_UNIQUE(SUM([Sales]))END

Add this to the Detail shelf, and the field will then be available to reference when you edit the title of the sheet

Name this sheet Sales Rank or similar.

You can now repeat the steps to build versions for Orders (COUNTD(Order ID)) and Quantities (SUM(Quantity)).

Dynamic Title

To build the title that will be displayed on the dashboard, create a new sheet, and add Order Date Parameter and Day of Week to the Text shelf. Then format the text to suit

Building the Dashboard

The ‘extra’ requirement Ann added to this challenge, was to display a ‘grey shadow’ beneath each of the rank tables. This is done using containers, setting background colours and applying padding. When building this took a bit of trial & error. Hopefully in documenting I’ll get the steps in the right order…. fingers crossed…

On a new dashboard, set the background colour to a pale grey.

Add a vertical container.

Add the Title sheet into the container, and remove the sheet title

Add a blank object into the container, beneath the Title sheet.

Add another blank object into the container, between the Title and the blank, set the background of this object to dark grey, reduce the padding to 0 and the edit the height to 2.

This will give the impression of a ‘line’ on the dashboard

Now add a horizontal container beneath the ‘line’ and the blank object at the bottom. You may need to adjust the heights of the objects

Set the outer padding of this object to 5.

Add a blank object into this horizontal container. Blank objects help when organising objects when working with containers, and will be removed later.

Add another horizontal container into this container next to the blank object. Set the background to a dark gray and set the outer padding to left 10, top 5, right 5, bottom 0.

Into this dark grey layout container add the Sales Rank sheet. Set the backgroud of this object to white, and the outer padding as left 0, top 0, right 0, bottom 4. Make sure the sales rank sheet is set to Fit Entire View.

Add another horizontal container to the right of the Sales Rank sheet, between that and the blank object. Set the background to the dark grey, and outer padding to left 5, top 5, right 5, bottom 0.

Add the Orders Rank sheet into this container, again set to Fit Entire View, set the background to white and outer padding to left 0, top 0, right 0, bottom 4.

Add another horizontal container, this time between the Order Rank sheet and the blank object. Set the background to dark grey, and outer padding to left 5, top 5, right 10, bottom 0.

Add the Qty Rank sheet into this container, again set to Fit Entire View, set the background to white and outer padding to left 0, top 0, right 0, bottom 4.

Now delete the blank object to the right, and delete the blank object at the bottom. Also delete the container in the right hand panel that has been automatically added and contains all the legends etc.

Set the dashboard to the required 700 x 450 size.

Select the ‘outer’ horizontal container that has all the charts in it, and Distribute Contents Evenly

You may need to adjust the widths of the columns within the ranking charts to get everything displayed in the right way.

But fingers crossed, you should have the desired display.

Calendar icon date selector

The final requirement, is to show the date selected on click of a calendar icon. This is managed using a floating container to store the Order Date Parameter, and using the Add Show/Hide Button option of the container menu.

Select Edit Button and under Item Hidden choose the calendar icon you can get off the site Ann provided a link for.

You’ll just then have to adjust the position of the container with the parameter and the button to suit.

Phew! all done. My published viz is here.

Note – I did find after publishing on Tableau Public, I had some erroneous horizontal white lines displaying across my ranking charts. I’m putting this down to an issue with rendering on Public, as I can’t see anything causing this, and it’s not visible on Desktop.

Happy vizzin’!


Where do regions rank month to month?

A beautiful looking bump chart for week 5 of #WOW2020; a challenge set by Luke inspired by a conversation with Zach Bowders.

Immediately looking at the chart, I knew it was highly likely to involve dual axis (at least for the ‘standard’ challenge).

One axis to represent the line; the other to represent the blocks. The table calculation of Rank was also going to be involved, since the positioning was all based on the Sales rank (which was assumed rather than explicitly stated).

Basic Data Structure

First up I just wanted to sense check I had made the correct assumption in respect of ranking the sales, so using the 2019.4 version of Superstore data, I built a very basic view; Region on Rows, MONTH(Order Date) on Columns and SUM(Sales) on Text. Applying the Quick Table Calculation of Rank to the SUM(Sales) pill, and ensuring it was computing for each Month, changed the displayed output to the rank expected.

With all that clarified, I could focus on building the viz. Let’s start with the ‘standard’ view.

Standard View

Having built my ‘basic data’ tabular structure, I started by duplicating this view, and then applying the following changes :

  • Moved the SUM(Sales) rank pill from Text to Rows
  • Moved Region to Colour

Editing the Rank of Sales axis to reverse it, and adjusting the colours associated to each Region and we have the Line chart completed. At this point I chose to rename the Region field to COLOUR:Region (Line), as I figured I’d need another instance of Region later to colour the blocks (which were different colours).

Dual Axis

Duplicate the SUM(Sales) Rank pill (by clicking on the pill, and holding down Ctrl) and place alongside the existing pill on the Rows shelf.

Change the mark type of the second instance to be Square.

Duplicate the Colour:Region (Line) field and rename to Colour:Region(Block), and add this to the Colour shelf of the Square mark type.

At this point you’ll end up with a single row of blocks. This is because the Rank table calculation of the 2nd mark type was based on the Colour:Region (Line) which no longer exists on this 2nd instance, and it needs to be changed to Colour:Region (Block).

Adjust the colours to suit

Make the chart Dual Axis, Synchronise the 2nd axis, and Move Marks to Back of that 2nd axis (right click on the axis to find this option).

Displaying the Labels

The challenge requires the rank position to be displayed on the ‘January’ blocks and the Region to be displayed on the ‘December’ blocks, BUT to only use one calculation on the Label shelf. I achieved this by creating the following calculated fields:


WHEN 1 THEN ‘1st’
WHEN 2 THEN ‘2nd’
WHEN 3 THEN ‘3rd’
WHEN 4 THEN ‘4th’

which simply translates the rank number into its string form, and then

Label:To Display

CASE MIN(MONTH([Order Date]))
WHEN 12 THEN ATTR([Region])

When it’s January, then use the Rank Label we created, but when its 12, use the Region field (or equivalent if its been renamed).

On face value, this may look confusing – how can the MIN return multiple values? But as this is Table Calculation field (as it references the Label:Rank field which is based on the Sales rank), and it’s computing per month, the month is changing. You’d get the same result if you change MIN to MAX. If the calculation was considering the whole table, this logic wouldn’t work.

Add this to the Label shelf of either mark, set the table calculation to be applied for each month (as above), and format the text to be middle centre.

Hide both the axis headers, remove the column/row lines and any gridlines, change the format of the date (via format -> axis) to be abbreviated, and ‘hide field labels for columns’. Remove tooltips from both marks.

At this point, you may think the gapping between the squares is too big in some places, too small in others. Don’t yet try to adjust the sizing, until you’ve got the chart on the dashboard, as how the display looks on the sheet, doesn’t always reflect the dashboard.

I created the dashboard to the 700×350 size specified, added the viz, and then increased the Size of the Square mark type. This is what the sheet looked like

But this is the dashboard with the legends and sheet title removed :

With a few adjustments, this is the core of the ‘standard’ version.

Advanced Version

The advanced requirement was to not use the Square or Shape mark type.

I started by duplicating the version I’d already built, then just tried a few mark types I thought might help to see if I got any inspiration – bar and gantt, but neither clicked.

1st Attempt

NOTE – detailing this for information to understand my thought process, but this doesn’t ultimately give the desired outcome, so just read only 🙂

Then I had a moment of inspiration (or thought I did) and decided to try using Text mark type. I used my ‘go to’ geometic shapes website, and copied the ‘square’ into a calculated field, which I added to the Text shelf, and increased the Size as large as possible

This gave me something very close

But I needed one of the axis to be shifted slightly, so used an offset parameter to move one of the axis around. Again it took a bit of shuffling to get it looking ok on the dashboard, but once satisfied I published to Tableau Public, only to find that rendered everything differently 😦

So back to the drawing board…

2nd Attempt (that worked)

In working through the above, I’d expanded on some concepts I hadn’t done when flicking through the standard mark types, and Gantt type was the mark I needed. Ultimately this wasn’t something that I managed without a bit of trial and error. I’m just going to document what I ultimately ended up with.

Take the ‘standard’ view of the chart you’ve hopefully already built. Change the mark type of the 2nd axis to Gantt rather than Square.

Create a new calculated field



and add this to the Size shelf of the Gantt mark, changing the aggregation to MIN rather than SUM. Setting to 1 will make the marks butt up to each other.

As both axis were identical with the results of 1-4., the line points are positioned at the base of the Gantt. I needed to adjust the line axis to be at say 1.5, 2.5 etc, although exactly what the offset needed to be I wasn’t sure, so I created a Parameter called Offset

I then changed the first SUM(Sales) rank pill, to add Offset, simply by ‘typing into’ the pill

I found a value of 0.4 worked for me, but added the Offset parameter to the sheet so I could adjust up or down as needed

Removing the axis headers as before and adding to the dashboard may have required more minor adjustments, but on publication, this version didn’t go all wonky.

My published versions are here:

Happy vizzin’!