My Top Five Tableau Prep Solutions

Data

My Top Five Tableau Prep Solutions

Tableau Prep has tons of options, and you may have seen gurus pull off some truly fantastic tricks. But what should you focus on? Drawing from my work as a consultant and doing on-demand support via Assist by InterWorks, I’ve summarized my top five Prep go-to secrets: five basics to help you conquer a countless data prep challenges. If these look familiar, you might have seen them at the Global Prep Tableau Community Group session in October 2021 or as a challenge for week 43 of Preppin’ Data.

My Favorite Prep Solves

  1. Pivoting
  2. Aggregations
  3. Joining a lookup table
  4. Date functions
  5. Combining data with different structures

Before I show you how these work, a quick word on the rationale for these choices.

  • Pivoting and aggregations are super basic, but they are also the most common things I see clients hitting issues with. Both can be done in Tableau Desktop, but often your data is set up in a way that makes this tricky to accomplish and has you turning to Prep.
  • Lookup tables are amazing. Imagine you have data for different products, and you need to create a ship date. But instead of this being standard, the time to ship varies by product. You might be thinking case statements, and you’d be right. But what if you have 100 products, not just five, and these timelines can change? Then you’re into Prep territory, particularly if you get even more wacky and want to vary the formula by product category (and yes, I’ve seen this done).
  • Date functions! These are actually in my top five for Desktop or Prep, and I’ve done a mammoth two-part blog on dates in Desktop as well; it’s just so common. I never seem to stop hitting queries about dates. In the below video, I’ll cover my most common queries, which are generally around making dates, adding to them and comparing.
  • Combining data with different structures. This is more of an approach and a general tip to be comfortable with joins, but it’s common enough I wanted to have it here. Say someone has a few sets of data and you want to bring them together, but the data structure changed each year. Some changes can be made in Desktop, but imagine you need to prepare the first item one way, and do a bunch of things to prep the second in a different way. That’s pretty hard outside of Prep.

Demoing the Tableau Prep Solves

For these, we will use the following example. It’s complaints data, and it’s not too bad. At first glance, we can spot a few things that might trip us up—our date is in an annoying format, and we have rating as a number:

It might all be okay except:

  • We want to analyse our data to see how many tickets we went into the last quarter with, how many were new, what we completed and what we were left with. Some of this involves counting the same case twice (e.g., there at month opening and also completed within the month).
  • We want to be able to combine this with data from another business unit that is formatted a bit differently in such a way that we can make this style of output and this waterfall chart.

Demo time!

Looking for more? Feel free to explore the attached Tableau Prep workflow, and reach out if we can help you more directly!

More About the Author

Beth Kairys

Analytics Consultant
My Top Five Tableau Prep Solutions Tableau Prep has tons of options, and you may have seen gurus pull off some truly fantastic tricks. But what should you focus on? ...
12 Days of Vizmas: InterWorks APAC Hackathon 2021 We have all had a tough year. To round it out, we invited a bunch of our clients in Australia and throughout Asia Pacific to take part ...

See more from this author →

Subscribe to our newsletter

  • I understand that InterWorks will use the data provided for the purpose of communication and the administration my request. InterWorks will never disclose or sell any personal data except where required to do so by law. Finally, I understand that future communications related topics and events may be sent from InterWorks, but I can opt-out at any time.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

InterWorks uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy. Review Policy OK

×

Interworks GmbH
Ratinger Straße 9
40213 Düsseldorf
Germany
Geschäftsführer: Mel Stephenson

Kontaktaufnahme: markus@interworks.eu
Telefon: +49 (0)211 5408 5301

Amtsgericht Düsseldorf HRB 79752
UstldNr: DE 313 353 072