Tableau Dashboard in 10 Mins

/ / Business Intelligence

Edited by Eden Xu

This is a recap of a FocusKPI Analytics at Work chat. Join our LinkedIn group to learn more.


Speaker: Yujie Zong

10-year experience in data analytics, business intelligence, and predictive modeling. Focus area includes but not limited to digital marketing, site optimization, CRM, and LTV analysis. Previous companies include: Staples, CVS, Nike and Converse.


Data has been reshaping traditional industries on an unprecedented scale in the past decade. In a complete data processing procedure, visualization decides to what extent the analysis could be understood by those who are not professional at data manipulation. That is, how well you present the journey to your audience.

>Every practitioner must have used, or at least heard about Tableau — a powerful tool in dashboard building and data visualization. Tableau has become more than a visualization tool after all these years of growth and branding but among the skill sets of data analysts as well in many job descriptions.

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Tableau Dashboard in 10 Mins

There are also many open resources and datasets for users to learn how to use Tableau at the official site.

So, Let’s see how to realize a dashboard in 10 minutes with Yujie. Firstly, below is a quick overview of the data. This is a retail superstore dataset of a furniture manufacturer provided by Tableau, which documented sales performance, profit level, demographics, purchasing category, and so on. Basically, it is enough for us to build an operational dashboard.

Dataset Overview Page

Then, let’s go through the application layout. We have menus on the top, data pane, and analytics pane on the left, sheet, and dashboard buttons on the bottom and the leftover is the workbench. Note that, the dataset is automatically loaded into the data pane and is split according to the field attribution for further use. Later all you have to do is just drags and clicks and some simple typing to build your dashboard.

Workbench Layout

I bet it would not be a huge task for you to find out drawing plots, like scatter plot, bar chart, bubble chart, etc. The point is that a good dashboard should interact with the audience.

Imagine, if you were the sales manager of this manufacturer, you would be very likely to know the relationship and trend of, let’s say, sales performance and discount level, regional sales performance, and profit level, or the ability to sell of different product categories. These all have things to do with your decisions in the real business world, whether discount boost or drag down the sales level, whether you should go on to open another store in this region, whether you should stop an unsalable product or make a package offer.

In order to realize it, we need to create parameters. This function is the same as drag down menu function as you see in many interactive dashboards. Experienced as you are you must have noticed there is no value assigned to the parameters. So, we go to the menu on the top: Analysis -> Create Calculated Field, using some simple functions to bridge the parameter with a value.

Create Parameter Popup

Create Calculated Field Popup

Having prepared all the fields, all you need to do now is just clicks and drags. You want to make sure your visualization is user-friendly and easy to capture but has some aesthetic effects as well. Tableau has color schemes for you to choose from at your will. So basically, you just have to pay attention to the logic flow of your visualizations, which really saves you time and energy.

Worksheet Operating Example

Visualization Type Example

Click to see the video!

The last thing is to put all the graphs into one dashboard. You drag them in and arrange them well. Here comes the final presentation. Now you may use this dashboard to make a vivid speech to your supervisor or your business partners and I believe it’s gonna be a hit!

Dashboard Operating Example

Dashboard Layout

For example, we want to learn the performance of the sales and profit ratio. In the top left bar-and-line chart, we can tell by color that monthly sales in the past 3 three years of this company have been fluctuating. Particularly we want to know why the profit ratio of Aug 2019 is negative, so we click on it and see deeper:

We focus on the region of MA and see the product category distribution. Sales were not bad, but unfortunately, the profit ratio was a mess. Then the sales manager could go to check exactly what happened this month through monitoring the dashboard. Also from the bubble chart, we see the majority of sales came from corporate clients. Does this mean the company is losing money on business partners? Or is there any special order that happened this month? Or check with your business stakeholder to see whether this cooperation is worth keeping?

The data above is an opensource data at Tableau, go and play with it and you will definitely come up with more insights and be exposed to more case studies.


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