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Tableau Public - Say Yes!

Cropped Tableau
I am listening to Tina Fey narrate her best-selling book “Bossypantsand find her story to be hilarious and inspiring. I especially like quotes she uses, with one of my favorites being:

“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards”

This quote hits home with me because it describes my approach to many things in life, including how I am learning Tableau. In February (5 months ago), I said yes to Tableau and now wish I had tried it years ago. Tableau Public is a FREE data visualization tool for creating stunning visualizations (dashboards and stories). Here is the South Central Library System (SCLS) Tableau Public site https://public.tableau.com/profile/scls#!/ that I am using to develop and test dashboard ideas.

In this post, I will share how to get started with Tableau Public and how I am "figuring it out". Hopefully, this will encourage you to say yes and start your own Tableau journey! Tina Fey also says; "The fun is always on the other side of a yes", so HAVE FUN!

Getting Started

  1. Download Tableau Public Desktop: https://public.tableau.com/en-us/s/download. Did I mention this is FREE!
  1. Locate a Dataset. For starters, use a report in Excel, CSV, or Google Sheets. Tableau lets you combine datasets, but I’ll save that is for a later post.
  1. Create a Tableau Public Profile: https://public.tableau.com/auth/signup. This is where you will save and share your work. When I first started, I didn’t want anyone to see my hacking so I didn’t save anything. I later found out that Tableau Public has the ability to hide workbooks until you are ready to share. (Phew!)

Figuring it Out

You’re off! If you are a bit anxious about "figuring it out", here is another Tina Fey quote; “THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.”  To help you navigate these opportunities, here are a few of my favorite Tableau Tips and Resources:

Learn from the Experts

In Tableau Public you can follow authors, download (and save) their workbooks, and use them to re-engineer something similar. Deconstructing other author's workbooks has been the best way for me to learn! The South Central Library System (SCLS) profile currently follows some: 

 Tableau Training Materials

 2016 Tableau Conference Videos: http://tclive.tableau.com/SignUp

After signing up for free access, here are beginner videos I recommend:

YouTube Channels and Blog Posts (There are many more out there.)

Books I’ve Bought (I’ve checked out many more!)

  1. Few, S. (2013). Information dashboard design: Displaying data for at-a-glance monitoring. Burlingame, CA: Analytics Press.
  2. Sleeper, Ryan. (2017). Practical Tableau: 100 Tips, Tutorials, and Strategies from a Tableau Zen Master. Oreilly & Associates Inc.
  3. Tufte, E. R. (2015). The visual display of quantitative information. Graphic Press: Cheshire, Connecticut.
  4. Wexler, S., Shaffer, J., & Cotgreave, A. (2017). The big book of dashboards: Visualizing your data using real-world business scenarios.
  5. Wong, D. M. (2014). The Wall Street journal guide to information graphics. New York [u.a.: Norton.


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