Tableau 10.1 Voters Guide
Tableau 10 is AWESOME! In the most recent major release, two of the most requested Tableau features were included, cross database joins and workbook level formatting. When combined with smaller quality of life features such as a built in Google Sheets connector and database connection auto fill (I can’t tell you how many times I started typing the server into the password field since I am not used to pre-population yet) you have an amazing release. Tableau 10 did for desktop what Tableau 9 did for server, epic upgrade! That being said, in the spirit of election season in the U.S. here is a voter pamphlet for what I believe to be the most important features that should be included in the next election (release v10.1). The headers are links to the idea on the Tableau forums to make voting easy. As Tableau users and enthusiasts, it is up to us to make our voices heard by voting.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for my end users that they have to change date filters every day. My users require the ability to filter by any continuous date range (so relative date filters are not an option) but the usual need is for the most recent time period to be selected. It seems that the dashboards that require this functionality are the slower ones (Murphy’s Law) and that compounds the frustration when they have to wait 20 seconds on each end of the filter for the view to load. I have found workarounds to be clunky and dramatically decrease dashboard performance.
It is very embarrassing when I send a dashboard to my CFO and he writes me back pointing out a spell check or grammar error. Things like spelling and grammar are easy to overlook when you have spent the last 5 hours diving into custom SQL, LOD calculations and detailed dashboard formatting for a dashboard that has to go out that day. These days spell check is a pretty standard feature and needs to be implemented in Tableau to include titles, tooltips, text objects, aliases, parameters and everywhere else that text is visible to end users.
I have spent (wasted) far too much time manipulating X,Y values on floating sheets to get them lined up. And (far) worse, making tiny adjustments to fixed containers to make them roughly the same size. Dashboard formatting in general is a problem in Tableau. Now that workbook level text formatting has been implemented, container sizing and placement is ground zero for this issue in my opinion.
I recently came across the lack of having scale on a map when I created a map that showed a list of jobs and the mile radius for which workers could apply (I work at a startup that matches workers to jobs based on many criteria, including distance). Different jobs have a different mile radius and it is very difficult to tell the radius when zoomed out. When I realized there was no scale option I was shocked. I also included an idea for arrows on maps, another basic mapping feature that is missing.
For those of us like myself that publish a lot of workbooks, not being able to rename workbooks from the server is a very frustrating limitation. Currently, in order to rename a workbook that is published to server it must be downloaded, opened and then republished with a different name. Then the user must navigate to the old dashboard in server and remove the original workbook. Especially if the workbook is big and takes awhile to load, this can take several minutes and really takes the user out of “flow” unnecessarily.
We The People…
Most of the above items are not sexy bullets on a release feature list or sales deck, but they do represent important functionality for users. Whether you agree with the items on this list will depend on how you use Tableau. If you are a server administrator you may prioritize the “View Server as Another User” idea. If you are primarily a consumer of dashboards you may want the “Exporting Views to Powerpoint” idea. Either way, it is incumbent on “we the community”, to make our voices heard when it comes to features we want or need. Please vote for the items that you want. Please post your disagreements, workarounds and links to ideas you prioritize in the comments below.
Here are 5 features that didn’t quite make my cut but were very close: