Power Tools for Tableau is a suite of applications designed to make the management and deployment of workbooks much easier. They cover the functional gaps in Tableau Software for what we like to call “power users.” Our new Tableau Power Users series of articles will present common use cases for the tools. Let’s take a look at the following common use case from a Tableau administrator might encounter when optimizing a workbook or series of workbooks:
- I’ll run this report and send it around to my team to have them address the areas that are highlighted by the tool.
Let’s get to it!
Understanding Tableau Best Practices
In the years that Tableau Desktop has been released, the worldwide Tableau community has worked together to build common guidelines and rules to promote effective dashboards that perform efficiently. These best practices are intended to make your reports simple, easy to read and fast to load. In fact, we’ve devoted an entire blog series to these tips and tricks called the Tableau Performance Checklist.
A new Tableau Desktop user, in the spirit of self-serve analytics, will experiment with a data set until they have a “Eureka!” moment and unlock a truly useful kernel of information. It’s that critical seed that leads to insightful business action. That type of hands-on testing is very much at the heart of learning Tableau, but it doesn’t mean that the final report produced is going to be as good as it can be.
That’s why best practices are so important. Once you figure out exactly what you’re looking for, you can rely on best practices to tell you how to do it so that your report performs at its best.
The Best Practice Analyzer
Enter the Best Practice Analyzer, part of Workbook Tools for Tableau. Cue the party music.
We’ve codified a list of best practices and assigned them a severity on how important they are in terms of your report’s performance. The severity ranges from Suggestion, Warning and Critical. To better illustrate how the Best Practice Analyzer works, let’s create an example using … “The Monster.”
If you’ve read some of our blogs before, you may have heard mention of this beast of a workbook. Basically, it’s a cumbersome behemoth of a workbook that we’ve used as our test subject with Power Tools for Tableau.
By selecting The Monster with the Best Practice Analyzer, we see:
The analysis can be filtered by Rule Set, Severity and Workbook:
Using this workbook, we’ve generated 433 issues. I told you, there’s a reason we call it “The Monster.”
There’s absolutely no way your workbook will have anywhere near the amount of issues here (hopefully ;D), but this illustrates the thorough and effectiveness of the tool. You can export all of these issues to Tableau or Excel and assign each of them to different people to fix as a team effort. Some of issues are related to specific worksheets while other issues might address the data sources used in your worksheets.
Fixing Tableau Performance Issues as a Team
There are challenges when you’re asking a team to fix a workbook with multiple worksheets or dashboards. Obviously, they can’t all work in the same workbook at the same time, because any progress that is made will overwrite everyone else’s work. If you take the time to work out a schedule where different people access the workbook at different times, then fixes continue along at a snail’s pace as each person takes their turn to make revisions and fixes.
This is a perfect time to highlight the Workbook Merge tool, another feature within Workbook Tools for Tableau. Using Workbook Merge, you can take a workbook and divide it into separate workbooks in whatever groupings you need. Then, you can send out each workbook to the report owner for corrections without worry of versioning or access. When they are done, simply recombine the disparate workbooks back into the unified whole.
Let’s run through an example of documenting the data and calculations used in your Tableau workbooks. As shown in previous Power User articles, we will again use our workbook with several dashboards and data sources for this example. We nicknamed this workbook the “The Monster.”
Several Tableau Tools, One Convenient Suite
The Best Practice Analyzer is a tool that will continue to grow in value as more and more best practices are commonly adopted from the Tableau community. The speed in which multiple workbooks can be analyzed makes managing them a quick and easy task for any site administrator or project leader.
Even better, with a single license of Workbook Tools for Tableau, you not only get the Best Practice Analyzer, but the Workbook Merge tool, as well. In fact, you get an entire suite of applications designed to make managing and optimizing Tableau workbooks as easy as possible.
Knowledge Is Power
Power Tools for Tableau are all about making the management of enterprise-level deployments easier, whether you are a Tableau Desktop user or the Tableau Server administrator. These use cases are designed to give you step-by-step examples on how these tools do just that.
Head to the Tableau Power Users blog series page for the full list of use cases we’ve covered so far, and be sure to check back for new ones.
In addition to Best Practice Analyzer and Performance Analyzer, our Tableau consultants have written a ton of content to help you improve the performance of your dashboards. One series in particular addresses this issues specifically. Take a look at the Tableau Performance Checklist for a whole range of advice on different topics, including custom SQL, filters and more.
If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know on the support forums or contact our team for more assistance. And if you’re new to Power Tools, you can try some of them out with a free, 14-day trial period!