The Tableau Performance Checklist: Calculations – Avoid Row-Level Calculations Involving Parameters

Data

The Tableau Performance Checklist: Calculations – Avoid Row-Level Calculations Involving Parameters

by Maureen O'Donnell

The Tableau Performance Checklist series is designed to help you streamline your dashboard performance and Tableau Server configuration. Each post expands upon one item listed in the master Tableau Performance Checklist.

Here’s the next item on the Performance Checklist:

Avoid row-level calculations involving parameters.

Let’s first take a look at what row-level calculations are.

Row-Level Calculations

Row-level calculations, also known as record-level calculations, operate on every record in the underlying data. An example of a row-level calculation is an IF statement that does not aggregate, such as:

IF([Age] >= [Voting Age]) = THEN ”TRUE” ELSE “FALSE” END

When you are constructing your calculation, all of the parameters in your workbook will be listed in the Data window to the left of your screen:

Tableau parameters

Problems

We’ve just created a row-level calculation that uses a parameter. This seemingly simple calculation is going to hamstring the performance of our entire dashboard. Running a row-level query will take time, but running a row-level query against a parameter that has a significant variety of possibilities will add to that processing time exponentially.

Let’s assume that rather than using a single value for our parameter of 18, we instead tied it to a table of voting ages by country. There are currently 196 countries, and some countries have variable voting ages based on other criteria!

You can see just how expensive this little operation has become. Yes, parameters are very useful and add a helpful degree of flexibility for both you and your users, but you have to weigh the risk vs. reward. In this instance, it is far better to have a less versatile dashboard that will load in a reasonable time.

Mastering Best Practices

If you’re interested in becoming a Tableau Server guru, then learning these performance best practices is essential. Check back frequently as we add new posts and dive deeper into each point in the Tableau Performance Checklist.

Another great way to identify best practices is to leverage the insights offered by our Performance Analyzer, part of Workbook Tools for Tableau. It will examine all of your workbooks, worksheets, dashboards and data sources against a list of best practices to ensure that you’re using all the tips and tricks to guarantee your visualizations are moving at light speed.

As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding performance or anything Tableau related! We’d be happy to help.

Contact Us!

Want more The Tableau Performance Checklist

  1. The Tableau Performance Checklist
  2. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Keep Analysis Simple
  3. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Bring in Only Needed Data
  4. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Use ‘Describe’ to Explore
  5. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Remove Unused Columns from Extracts
  6. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Use One TDS File
  7. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Data – Use Extracts
  8. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Minimize Quick Filters
  9. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Avoid ‘Only Relevant Values’ in Quick Filters
  10. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Avoid High-Cardinality Quick Filters
  11. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Avoid Quick Filters That Drive Context Filters
  12. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Keep Range Quick Filters Simple
  13. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Use Dashboard Filter Actions
  14. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Filtering – Don’t Be Lazy with User Filters
  15. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Custom SQL – Limit in Live Connections
  16. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Custom SQL – Avoid Parameters
  17. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Custom SQL – Watch for Useless Clauses
  18. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Calculations – Use Calculated Fields Carefully
  19. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Calculations – Limit Blended Calculations
  20. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Calculations – Avoid Row-Level Calculations Involving Parameters
  21. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Rendering – Avoid High Mark Counts
  22. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Rendering – Limit Text Tables With Lots of Marks
  23. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Rendering – Minimize Image & Shape File Sizes
  24. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Rendering – Use Transparent Background PNGs
  25. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Local Computations – Server Performance
  26. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Local Computations – Table Calculations
  27. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Dashboard Layout – Limit Number of Worksheets
  28. The Tableau Performance Checklist: Dashboard Layout – Fix Dashboard Size

More About the Author

Maureen O'Donnell

Analytics Consultant
The Tableau Wedding Planner According to www.theknot.com, the average wedding in the United States costs approximately $30,000. With about two million weddings a ...
Exploring History with Tableau: World War II George Santayana once said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Every history professor I had from ...

See more from this author →

Subscribe to our newsletter

Share This