Tableau is the best of both worlds for report creators and writers of all skill sets. Whether you’re new to it, experienced, or from another generation, the platform has useful features that make the visualization and presentation of information a snap. 

For beginners trying to figure out how to use Tableau, don’t fret. Like any new endeavor, the question isn’t “is Tableau hard to use?” It’s more “how easy is Tableau to learn?” which is pretty simple if you remember these basics:

The Save Button is Your Friend

Incremental saves are a good idea for almost any piece of software that allows you to create custom content of any kind. Hit the save button often after you complete something worth keeping.

It’s Okay to Borrow

If you find inspiration from other reports or visualizations that would be especially effective in your report, it’s okay to borrow their style. The best way to grow in your knowledge is to develop a bag of tricks that can be utilized whenever you need them.

Snap to the Grid

When you’re designing a report with multiple visualizations, charts, and graphs, it helps to design them on a grid layout. That way you will be sure that everything is symmetrical and lined up properly. This makes your reports flow smoothly and they will be easier to interpret.

Don’t Be Afraid of Big Numbers

If you have data that is important and should really stand out, don’t be afraid to make them large and give them their own section. This way the most important information can be consumed quickly. Then the viewer can take a deep dive into the other data after digesting the main focus of the report.


Less is Sometimes More

How many reports have you seen that are so colorful as to be completely distracting? Choose a few simple colors and fonts that work well with one another. You want to convey the analysis of the data simply without it looking like a giant flashing sign that is distracting to the user.

Reuse Everything

Tableau provides a way to reuse objects from other workbooks. For example, if you have already defined a data connection in another workbook, you can use the Other Files option to point your data connection at the data connection already established in another workbook.

Undo is Always an Option

If you change something and decide you don’t like it or make a miscue, just hit the Undo button and go back to the version that you were happy with and try again.

Your Data Doesn’t Need to be Perfect

Tableau can help you analyze and clean up your data. If you’re unsure about the integrity of your data source, go ahead and connect to it from Tableau. It can help you find dirty data and refine your table relationships. It’s not just for making pretty charts and graphs. It is also a powerful data tool.

To learn Tableau is to learn all its in-and-out intricacies. Though it’s a very powerful data and reporting tool, it’s also very easy to use and intuitive. So, no matter where you fall in the reporting experience spectrum, Tableau is a useful, bare-bones way to approach visualization. In need of more training? Visit ONLC’s Tableau Training page for more insights.

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