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More Than One Way to Skin a Tableau (Part 2)


Disclaimer: this is part 2 of a two-part series.  Be sure to check out Part 1 for the for lots more content as well as the background behind this blog series.  No cats (or any other animal) were harmed in the development of this blog post series.  Please note that some of these GIFs may appear small on screen.  They are, however, recorded in a higher resolution.  For a closer look, you should be able to simply zoom into your web browser or right-click and open in a new tab (which will show it as it was recorded).

Okay, since are reading this, I hope that means that part 1 of the series was helpful!  As a reminder, the idea of this blog post is to simply show users different ways of performing a single function like creating a calculation.  Knowing the different ways can come in super handy in so many situations.  I'm not going to talk about shortcuts like CTRL S for saving or other things like that.  I'm also not intending for this to be all inclusive in any way.  I'm simply trying to call out a variety of functions that can be performed in a variety of ways.  Each function has been placed into a loose group just to keep it better organized.  Note: I welcome feedback as I'm 100% certain that I've missed plenty of things.  

As mentioned in Part 1, I'll simply list the type of function, provide a numbered list of ways to perform this function, and the gif will show you how to do each and will correspond to the numbered list.  Again, this is Part 2 of a two part series.  Check out Part 1 here.

Worksheet Functions

Clear a Sheet

1) Click the icon with the X above your columns and rows shelves

2) Go to the Worksheet menu, choose Clear, and select Sheet

3) Drag all pills off of the view (you can press CTRL to select multiple pills at a time)

4) Right click on all pill and choose remove

5) Hover over the word Columns on the Columns shelf, click the caret, and choose Clear Shelf.  Do the same with the Rows shelf.  (You may need to use method 3 or 4 to clear the rest of the sheet).

Swap Rows and Columns

1) Click the Swap Rows and Columns button above the columns and row shelves

2) Go to the Analysis menu and click on Swap Rows and Columns (or CTRL W)

Add a Reference Line

1) Click on the Analytics pane, click on the desired type of line or band, drag it onto the canvas, and choose the proper options.  (I personally find this way confusing and greatly prefer method #2).

2) Right-click on a continuous axis and choose.  (Again, I think this method is much easier and much easier to understand).  

Edit a Reference Line

1) Right-click on the reference line itself and choose Edit

2) Right-click on the axis and choose Edit Reference Line (you'll need to make sure you choose the correct axis)

Remove a Reference Line

1) Right-click on the reference line itself and choose Remove

3) Right-click on the reference line itself and drag it off the canvas

2) Right-click on the axis and choose Remove Reference Line (you'll need to make sure you choose the correct axis)

Pill Aggregation

1) Drag a pill onto the view (columns, rows, marks cards, etc.) then to change the aggregation, right-click on the pill, choose Measure, then change the aggregation

2) Right-click and hold, then drag the pill to the view; this will bring up a new context menu, simply choose the desired aggregation

3) Change the default aggregation for that field so that it aggregates in the same way every time as a default - to do this, right-click on the field in the side bar, choose Default Properties, Aggregation, choose the desired aggregation, then drag it onto the view and it will default to that aggregation

Add Color

1) Drag a pill to the Color Card

2) For a pill that is already on a card other than the Color Card, click the icon to the left and change it to Color

3) Drag a pill (from the side bar or on the view) onto the canvas

4) Hover over a dimension on the canvas then drag the little triangle onto your chart

Edit Colors

1) Click on the Color Card, choose Edit Colors, then make changes

2) Double-click on the Color Legend then make changes

Access Both Map Options & Map Layers

1) Right-click on a map and choose Map Options or Map Layers

2) Go to the Map menu and choose Map Options or Map Layers

Hide Axis

1) Right-click on a pill on columns or rows and uncheck Show Header

2) Right-click on an axis and uncheck Show Header

Create a Dual Axis

For creating a dual axis, there are lots of combinations of ways that you can do it.  If you mix and match ways, then there are probably dozens.  That said, I'll simply introduce the basics and you can do what fits you best.  (And in most cases, remember to synchronize your axes after creating a dual axis).

1) When one pill is on columns or rows shelf, drag a second pill to the right of the current pill then click on the second pill and choose Dual Axis

2) If you want to create a dual axis with a pill that is already on the columns or rows shelf, click that pill, hold CTRL, then drag it to the right to duplicate it, then then click on the second pill and choose Dual Axis

3) Use any of the methods above to get two pills on columns or rows then right-click on the second axis and choose Dual Axis

4) When one pill is on columns or rows shelf, drag a pill to the canvas until you see a dotted line, then drop - then create a dual axis using any method above

Make a Measure Column Wider or Taller

1) Hover until you see and arrow then drag it to the left, right, up or down

2) Press CTRL ←, →, ↓, ↑

Measure Names Table

1) Add Measure Values to the Text Card, add Measure Names to Rows or Columns, then remove what you don't want on the view by dragging it off of the Measure Values card (alternatively, you can filter on Measure Names)

2) Drag one of your measures to the Text Card, then drag a second value on top of that measure on the canvas

Dashboard Functions

Take a Screenshot of a Dashboard

1) Go to the Dashboard menu, choose Export Image, save the image and open it in a graphics program

2) Go to the Dashboard menu, choose Copy Image, open it in a graphics program, then paste it

Show a Grid on the Dashboard

1) Go to the Dashboard menu and choose Show Grid

2) Just press G on your keyboard

Change Floating Order

1) Select a floating object, click the caret, choose Floating Order, then choose the desired option

2) Go to the Layout tab in the side bar, then in the Item Hierarchy at the bottom, click and drag the object to the desired position

Filter Actions

1) Click on the sheet you want to filter by then automatically create a filter action by clicking on the filter button (this will create a generated filter action)

2) Go to Dashboard, choose Actions, click Add Action and choose Filter, then set up the filter action as you wish

Side Bar Functions

Edit Aliases

1) In the side bar, right-click on a dimension, choose Aliases then type the appropriate alias name

2) Go to the Data menu, choose the data source, choose Edit Aliases, choose the dimension, then type the appropriate alias name

3) In your view, click on a dimension value and choose Edit Alias


Convert a Measure to a Dimension

1) In the side bar, click on the measure and then drag it up to the dimension area and drop

2) In the side bar, right-click on a measure and choose Convert to Dimension

Change Data Type

1) In the side bar, right-click on a field, choose Change Data Type, then select the appropriate data type

2) In the side bar, click on the icon to the left of the field then select the appropriate data type

Expand and Collapse Folders

I've learned a lot of these techniques from watching others, but I just learned the second one below from Jeff Shaffer in the TC21 Zen Tipping session.

1) In the side bar or dashboard layout tab, click the > icon to the left of the folder 

3) In the side bar or dashboard layout tab, click folder and press the * keys to expand the entire folder including subfolders 

3) In the side bar, click the caret to the right of the search window and choose either Expand All or Collapse All


1) In the side bar, right-click on a dimension, choose Transform, then choose Split

2) Place the dimension on your view, right-click and choose Split

Tableau Server & Online

Tableau Server & Online could account for an entire blog post, but as my last function, I'm going to just one function where I see people stumble all the time - downloading a workbook.  

Download a Workbook

1) Open a project folder to see all the workbooks.  At the bottom right of a workbook, click on the "..." and choose Download.

2) If you click on the workbook, you will see all the "views" in the workbook.  If you try to click on the "..." at the bottom right of the view, you will not have an option to download.  However, you can click the "..." at the top, next to the dashboard title, then choose Download.

3) Go to any view of a workbook, click the Download button at the top, then choose Tableau Workbook.  

4) BONUS METHOD - NOT IN GIF: If you are looking at a view or a dashboard, you can click the "..." and choose "Edit in Tableau Desktop.  This is a new feature that will download the workbook to your computer and open in Desktop.  Cool stuff!

Okay, that's it for Part 2 of the series.  If you didn't get a chance, please check out Part 1 here.  As mentioned, by no means do I think that these are the ONLY ways of performing these functions.  I'd love to see your ways!  Just share on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Kevin Flerlage, May 9, 2022

Twitter LinkedIn Tableau Public


  1. I recently learned (after 7 years) that you can select any two fields and in the right click context menu there's a 'Swap' option. Just never noticed it, there's just so many little nuggets of Tableau to share -- great post!

  2. Loved the handy tips! Kevin


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