Tableau Ambassador Swag for 2021

I was very honored to be selected as a Tableau Ambassador for the second time in 2021. If you follow this link, you’ll see me Anthony Smoak, suited up in the Tableau Public Ambassadors section. I started this blog and YouTube channel as a means to share what I know and what I learn and will continue to do so. The fact that I gain some recognition from Tableau or anyone else is secondary, but I will say it does feel good to be acknowledged by the wider Tableau community for all the off-hours and weekend work it takes to produce stellar content.

I don’t share 10 videos in a week. I have to research what to share, put together a dashboard to illustrate the concepts and record and edit everything all in my “spare” time. Who has any of that these days when we’re all feeling worn out? However, this blog is worth it for me because it forces me to learn and I have grown tremendously since I started this social media sharing journey some years ago.

I mention all of this to simply say thanks for following me and whoever keeps nominating me as an ambassador every year, I’m not mad at you!

One of the cool aspects of being selected as a Tableau ambassador is the swag you receive. Definitely watch the video as I will share an unboxing of this year’s swag for those that are curious.

In the words of the legendary Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest , “So give me this award, and let’s not make it the last.”

-Anthony B. Smoak

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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

If you want some of the cool merch I’m wearing in the video, check it out here.

Build an Interactive Tableau Resume to Get Noticed

Interact with my resume here: Anthony Smoak Interactive Tableau Public Resume

This post is for everyone who has ever asked, “How do you create an interactive resume in Tableau?” If you’re looking to get noticed as a Tableau visualization developer / subject matter expect, then building out an interactive resume using Tableau is a great place to start. It is a good starter visualization to build because you already have all the data! The data is inherently about you, but you just need some inspiration on how to get started building out your resume.

That’s where I come in, to share with you a place to start for inspiration, and direction on how to build out a few charts I leveraged to construct my interactive resume.

Where to Get Inspired

The first place you want to start looking for interactive Tableau resume inspiration is the Tableau Public Resume Gallery. The Tableau community has done an excellent job of sharing resumes so you don’t have to start from scratch with respect to idea generation. As I was looking through the gallery, I started to notice that most of the resumes had some common DNA, most notably a timeline chart (either linear or Gantt chart) and an abacas chart (both of which I will show you how to build in the video).

My resume is inspired by offerings from both Ann Jackson and Lindsay Betzendahl. When you look through the gallery you may find a resume that fits your personal vision. I’m sure you’ll use a few of the techniques I’m going to share as well.

You can also do a simple google image search on “Tableau Interactive Resume” and you’ll find additional images that link to resources that are not on the official Tableau Public Resume Gallery.

Format Your Data

In order to build out the necessary charts to support your resume, you’ll use Excel to format the data. I cover the format for both the timeline chart and the abacas chart in the video, but below is a sneak peek of how I formatted my data for the abacas skills chart.

The data above supports the buildout for two separate abacas charts. One chart is for a self-rating of my skills (rows 2-6), while the other chart is a representation of LinkedIn endorsements (7-11).

Column E represents the maximum value of the skill that I want to present on the abacas chart. Since I was self-rating my skills from a scale of 1 to 5, then 5 was the maximum value represented. For the LinkedIn endorsements, 51 was the highest number I received, thus for all rows supporting this chart, 51 was the maximum value.

Gantt Chart

Every resume needs a timeline! Although I describe how to build a single linear timeline chart in the video above, I have another video that explains how to build a Gannt chart in Tableau. For some of our experiences, we have more than one activity happening at the same time, thus the following video will help in your resume build out as well.

Remember that we all have a story to tell and an interactive resume in Tableau will help you share your experiences and get noticed if done well. Good luck!

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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

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Thank you!!

Anthony B Smoak

INCREASE YOUR FOCUS TRY BRAIN.FM

When I am focusing hard during the day at work or developing visualizations on the weekend. I use Brain.fm to help me focus when it matters. It’s Science-driven and research-backed functional music designed from the ground up to help you you focus, relax, meditate and sleep. If you’d like to try a free trial check out https://brain.fm/anthonyb

Please use coupon code anthonyb for a 20% discount upon checkout. It helps support this blog and my YouTube channel as I receive a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Fix the Reset All Filters Button in Tableau

Let’s fix the “Reset All Filters” button in Tableau! Sometimes when we create the Reset All Filters button in Tableau, it doesn’t initially work. In this video and post I will troubleshoot a few of the reasons for the lack of functionality and get you and your dashboard up and running.

If you need a refresher on how to reset all filters in Tableau, make sure to check out this video first.

The inspiration for this post comes from the following dashboard I built for the Real World Fake Data (#RWFD) initiative spearheaded by Mark Bradbourne at Tableau. Mark was kind enough to include my dashboard on his recap of top submissions for this particular challenge. You can interact with the dashboard on my Tableau Public gallery here.

The dashboard above utilizes the reset all filters technique, but I initially ran into an issue when trying to get the technique to work. Here is the first area you should check if you run into issues.

SOURCE SHEETS / TARGET SHEETS

On your dashboard, Select Actions (or CTRL+SHIFT+D), and then edit your Reset All Filters action.

Once you select [Edit] for the dashboard action, make sure that your Reset Filters action is the only selection for your [Source Sheets]. Also make sure that all other sheets on the dashboard that you want to remove filters from are selected on [Target Sheets] EXCEPT for your Reset Filters action. See the figure below.

TARGET FILTERS

Additionally, double check to make sure that you have all of your necessary fields selected in the [Target Filters] section that you want to remove as a filter. I have found that selecting the [All Fields] option never works. I’ll repeat, double check that every field you want to reset appears as a target filter. If it is not there, then simply add it by selecting [Add Filter].

In my my particular circumstance, I did have all of the fields selected in the [Target Filters] section that were required to reset all filters, so I had to keep looking for answers. Let’s move to step 3 in the process.

VISUAL CUES FOR FILTERS

In your workbook, I want you to hunt down any filters that are applied to ALL WORKSHEETS with the same data source. From the Tableau knowledge base, here is a screenshot of the icons applied to fields on the Filters shelf. On your worksheets, look for the cylindrical database icon next to any filters. We will further investigate these filters.

Where you see the cylinder next to any Filters on your worksheets, change the [Apply to Worksheets] option from [All Using This Data Source] to [Selected Worksheets…]. In my case, the offending icon was next to the [Location City] filter.

This next step is key. Make sure to UNCHECK the Reset Filters Worksheet. Your filter should not be applied to the same worksheet that is used to display the Reset All Filters button.

Once you’ve unchecked the Reset Filters worksheet your icon next to the filter will change to the following.

Go back to your dashboard and test to make sure that your reset all filters button functionality works. In my case, the above trick was successful for me. I’m sure it will be for you as well.

Make sure to watch the video below as I step through the checks.

Please like and subscribe on the Anthony B. Smoak YouTube channel.

All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

INCREASE YOUR FOCUS TRY BRAIN.FM

When I am focusing hard during the day at work or developing visualizations on the weekend. I use Brain.fm to help me focus when it matters. It’s Science-driven and research-backed functional music designed from the ground up to help you you focus, relax, meditate and sleep. If you’d like to try a free trial check out https://brain.fm/anthonyb

Please use coupon code anthonyb for a 20% discount upon checkout. It helps support this blog and my YouTube channel as I receive a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Do Great Things with Your Data!

Place Bar Chart Labels Above Bars in Tableau

In this video I will provide a method in which you can place your bar chart labels above the bars in Tableau. This technique is based off Adolfo Hernandez’s technique with a little more explanation and additional alternatives for the zero line. Make sure to add this to your bar chart repertoire!

If you want to follow-along with the video, you can download the data at this link:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2021.html

In the video I exported data from the “Per Game Stats” section but you are free to download from whichever stats section you’d prefer.

High Level Steps:

Make sure to watch the video to get more in-depth:

  1. Drag your measure to columns (e.g., 3P)
  2. Drag your dimension to Rows (e.g., Team)
  3. Sort the measure to descending value
  4. Place the Team and 3P on the label and format accordingly
  5. Create a placeholder directly on the Columns shelf : AVG(0))
  6. Drag the placeholder to the bottom of the visual onto the 3P axis to make a combined axis visual
  7. In the Measure Value area make sure that AGG(AVG(0)) is placed above SUM(3P)
  8. Uncheck “Show Headers” for the Team dimension and for the axis at the bottom of the visual
  9. Format the visual to remove unnecessary borders and lines
  10. Make the following adjustments on the Label:
    1. Marks to Label: Min/Max
    2. Scope: Pane
    3. Field: Measure Values
    4. Options:
      1. Allow Labels to Overlap Other Mark
      2. Label Minimum Value
  11. Change the color of the bar chart borders to the background color of your visual in order to camouflage the tiny bar created by AVG(0)
  12. Uncheck “Show Header” for AVG(0)

When it’s all said and done you have a fresh new take on adding labels to your bar chart that can add differentiation to your overall visual!

For more detail on how to add a zero line (which I believe is important for bar charts in general and is a good design practice), watch the video.

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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

Do Great Things with Your Data!

Assign Color to Non-Existing Values in Tableau

The Issue:

I recently ran into the issue of not being able to color a dimensional value because my data did not yet contain that specific value. What I learned through trial and error is that I needed to change the calculated field I was using to force an expected value so I could color it appropriately.

I then had to change my calculated field back to what it was originally and hope that Tableau would remember the color. It would be nice if Tableau had a native built in interface to allow users to assign colors to expected values (regardless if the values are currently in the data), but this feature is not available in Tableau (looking at you very talented developers at Tableau).

Watch the Solution:

I created a calculated field with expected outcomes of “Bad”, “Normal” and “Great” based upon numerical profit data. The profit data I had did not support the “Great” value. Thus I had to doctor my calculated field to force the value and then color it. I didn’t know if Tableau would remember my color selection if I changed the calculated field and then changed it back, but it did.

The Forums:

Don’t worry, you are not the only one looking for a solution to this issue. Here are some Tableau forum links that basically ask the same questions.

Hopefully this post helped you in your search to color those non-existing values. For many of us, not all potential values are available in our data sources, and we many not have access to the underlying source data. Having a nice UI means to assign expected values in advance would be extremely useful.

The Dashboard:

I certainly love to develop new dashboards to test out functionality. I built this one to test out a few Ryan Sleeper dashboard tips. Make sure to download the dashboard .twbx file from from my Tableau Public profile (Anthony B Smoak) for free!

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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

Do Great Things with Your Data!



Address Matching in Excel Using Levenshtein Distance

For my Data Analysts, in this video I will demonstrate how to perform a column comparison between two address fields so you don’t have to manually review every row. We’ll use a VBA function from Stack Overflow to provide the comparison results.

I should point out that Excel is NOT the preferred method for address matching, but sometimes it is your only option due to lack of time or better tools. Ideally, you should use address correction software that “fixes spelling errors, corrects abbreviations, and standardizes capitalization so each address in your list complies with the USPS official format” – (per the USPS). Once your addresses are standardized, THEN you should perform a comparison, but this rarely happens.

What typically happens is that some poor analyst like you is conscripted into performing address matching manually using some combination of SQL Server and manual Excel processes. That’s why a Google search led you to this page!

If you ever have to perform address matching in Excel, this could be you!

Informally, the Levenshtein distance between two words is the minimum number of single-character edits (insertions, deletions or substitutions) required to change one word into the other.

For example:

  • The string “HAT” as compared to “hat” would have a Levenshtein Distance of 3
    • Since the function is case sensitive all three characters are different
  • The string “HAT” as compared to “BAT” would have a Levenshtein Distance of 1
    • To turn the first string into the second string it would take 1 substitution of characters (H changed to B or vice-versa)
  • The lower the number, the more the strings are similar
  • The higher the number, the more the strings are dissimilar.

Activate the Developer Tab in Excel

The Developer tab is the place to go when you want to do or use the following:

  • Write macros
  • Run macros that you previously recorded
  • Create VBA Modules and User Defined Functions <– This is our sweet spot
  1. On the File tab, go to Options > Customize Ribbon
  2. Under Customize the Ribbon and under Main Tabs, select the Developer check box

Create a Module in Excel

  1. On the Developer tab select Visual Basic
  2. In the VBA interface select Insert > Module

Insert Levenshtein Distance Function VBA Code

  1. Go to this link at Stack Overflow to view the code as originally referenced
  2. Or, simply copy the code below as developed by user “smirkingman” which is the first answer.
    • Big shoutout to “smirkingman” for this great resource!
Option Explicit
Public Function Levenshtein(s1 As String, s2 As String)

Dim i As Integer
Dim j As Integer
Dim l1 As Integer
Dim l2 As Integer
Dim d() As Integer
Dim min1 As Integer
Dim min2 As Integer

l1 = Len(s1)
l2 = Len(s2)
ReDim d(l1, l2)
For i = 0 To l1
    d(i, 0) = i
Next
For j = 0 To l2
    d(0, j) = j
Next
For i = 1 To l1
    For j = 1 To l2
        If Mid(s1, i, 1) = Mid(s2, j, 1) Then
            d(i, j) = d(i - 1, j - 1)
        Else
            min1 = d(i - 1, j) + 1
            min2 = d(i, j - 1) + 1
            If min2 < min1 Then
                min1 = min2
            End If
            min2 = d(i - 1, j - 1) + 1
            If min2 < min1 Then
                min1 = min2
            End If
            d(i, j) = min1
        End If
    Next
Next
Levenshtein = d(l1, l2)
End Function
  1. Paste the code into your newly created Excel module
  2. Debug > Compile VBAProject

You should not experience any errors after compiling the code.

Watch the Video to Use the Function

Using this function in a judicious manner can help you cut down on the mental energy required to manually review the address columns on each row. It is much better to mentally focus on 25% of the rows than 100%. The fewer rows you have to manually review in Excel, the less the chance of you making an error.


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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

Do Great Things with Your Data!



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Stacked Bar Chart with Dynamic Totals in Tableau

Are you looking for the next viz to showcase on your Tableau Public page? In this video I will teach you a technique that spices up the humble stacked bar chart with dynamic totals (using Tableau Set Actions). We will build out the viz step by step with Superstore data.

Stacked Bar Chart with Dynamic Totals

This chart is powered by Tableau Superstore data which is a data set that is readily available on the internet and is packaged as the default data set with Tableau. As you select the three legend categories at the top of the visual, the stacked bar chart sections will appear or disappear. The totals will also automatically update based upon your selection.

How cool is that!!??

I have to give a shoutout to Dorian Banutoiu for originating this technique. A few years ago, Dorian used this technique in a Makeover Monday exercise and it recently caught my attention when I was checking out his Tableau Public page. I immediately attempted to reverse engineer the technique (which admittedly took some effort).

Because I wanted to enable everyone with Tableau and/or Tableau Public to duplicate the chart, I used Tableau Superstore data as my foundation. Make sure to give Dorian a Twitter follow at @canonicalizedco.

What’s In it for You?

By following along with the video, you will utilize multiple Tableau elements such as:

Practice makes perfect so this will be a good opportunity for you to practice multiple Tableau elements with the creation of one visualization. You can click the links on the list above to see additional videos that cover respective areas.

Give Credit

If you do reproduce this visualization step by step or leverage the technique for your Tableau Public page or Linkedin Page, please link to this post or the YouTube video and place “Inspired by Dorian Banutoiu & Anthony Smoak” somewhere on the viz and post text.

Interact with the Finished Visualization

You can interact with the finished visualization on my Tableau Public page here:

https://tabsoft.co/3oNxq5Z


Please like and subscribe on the Anthony B. Smoak YouTube channel.

All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

Do Great Things with Your Data!

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Tableau Public ►Search for “Anthony B. Smoak”

Amazing Tableau Dashboard for Inspiration

I worked hard to create a Tableau dashboard packed with multiple features that any beginner or intermediate user should know how to complete. Use this dashboard as an inspiration regarding techniques to learn for your next Tableau dashboard.

Here are a few of the features included in this dashboard:

  • Parameters
  • Dynamic Titles
  • KPIs
  • Filters
  • Context Filters
  • Top 5 by Dimension
  • Highlight Actions
  • Filter Actions
  • Ranking
  • Show/Hide Containers
  • Image Buttons
  • Parameter Driven Chart Swap
  • Maps
  • Shape Files
  • Reset All Filters
  • Combo Chart / Dual Axis Chart (Bar in Bar)
  • Quick Table Calculations
  • Bullet Chart
  • Animations
  • Containerized Dashboard Layout

Because I love to teach in my relatively spare time, I am considering offering 1 on 1 training to learn how to put together this sample dashboard. As I mention in the video, leave a comment with your thoughts on how much of an investment you think someone would make for 3 hours of 1 on 1 training to build this together. Someone would definitely impress their manager or future hiring manager if they had the knowledge to build this type of front end reporting.

Let’s learn together, contact me here for more information: https://anthonysmoak.com/contact/

Interact with dashboard here ► https://tabsoft.co/3nU4c4Y


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All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

Do Great Things with Your Data!

Anthony B. Smoak, CBIP

How to Import a BAK File into SQL Server

If you’ve ever asked “How do I import a .BAK file into SQL Server” or “What is a BAK file and how do I open it” then this is your video. Additionally, I also demonstrate how to create a .BAK file to backup your database. If you work with data then you need to know this tip!

Do Great Things with Your Data

Anthony B. Smoak

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Definitely pick up some merch if you’ve enjoyed this blog and YouTube channel over the years.

All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

How to Change the Text Delimiter in Excel

No more COMMA DRAMA! In this video I will show you how to change the default comma delimiter in Excel when making .csv (comma separated value) files. Sometimes text fields in your file have comments that you need to preserve in a flat file. This means you have to change the delimiter. Watch the video for a demonstration and keep reading for a quick reference.

I should note that as of the time of this post I am using Windows 10 Home.

Step 1

Search for “Set Regional Format”

Step 2

Select Additional date, time & regional settings

Step 3

Select Region

Step 4

Select Additional Settings

Then in the List Separator box, change the comma to a pipe.

When you save your .csv file in Excel, it will now be pipe delimited instead of comma delimited.

Your flat file will transition from this:

to this

Do Great Things with Your Data

Anthony B. Smoak

Please like and subscribe on the Anthony B. Smoak YouTube channel!
Definitely pick up some merch if you’ve enjoyed this blog and YouTube channel over the years.

All views and opinions are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.