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Creating a Dashboard in Tableau

Tableau is a powerful and fastest-growing data visualization tool used in the Business Intelligence Industry. It helps in simplifying raw data into a very easily understandable format.

Data analysis is very fast with Tableau and the visualizations created are in the form of dashboards and worksheets. The data that is created using Tableau can be understood by professionals at any level in an organization. It even allows a non-technical user to create a customized dashboard.

What is a dashboard?

It is a visual display of the most essential information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so that the information can be monitored at a glance.

Sequel to Introduction to Tableau and Data Visualization, we are going to delve deeper into data exploration and dashboard design in this article in order to unearth some of the core and best features of Tableau.

lets get started….

Visualizing Data in Tableau

Why is data visualization important?

The answer is quite simple. Data visualization is important because human beings understand things that are visually well descriptive and interesting. So, working with data visualization tools like Tableau will help anyone understand data better, as it gives one access to the amount of data in easily digestible visuals. Also, well-designed graphics are usually the simplest and the most powerful way to present any data.

How to design a dashboard

We will create a very simple dashboard by following a step by step guide on how to first create each visual needed to convey the information we are trying to pass across on our dashboard.

Tableau suggests various types of charts to represent your data by auto-highlighting charts for you to choose from in the Show Me pane. You can select a preferred chart from the available charts in the Show Me pane.

Here is the link to the sample dataset used in this article peradventure you choose to tag along:


Step 1: Creating a Line Chart

To create a line chart, follow these guidelines;

  1. Select a line chart from the options in the “Marks” card
  2. Drag the “Order Date” into the “Columns” shelf and “Shipping cost” into the “Rows” shelf
  3. Click on the drop-down arrow shown on the right-hand side to format the date
Marks card
Format the date

Your line chart should have this output after following the above steps:

Line Chart

Step 2: Creating Bar Charts

To add more visualizations, We will need to add a new sheet.

How to add a new sheet

Navigate to the icon below to add a new sheet by simply clicking the icon.

To create the bar charts, follow the steps written below;

  1. Select a Bar chart
  2. Drag the Profit column into the “Columns” shelf, the Product and Sub-Product Category columns into the “Rows” shelf

Your shelves should have a semblance of this output


The output of the bar chart should look like this

Bar Chart

Both the negative and the positive parts of the bars have the same color and this does not help with distinguishing visually between the positive, and negative figures in the charts. To change the colors, we need to format the chart colors

Formatting Chart Colors

Press down the Ctrl button and double click on the data in the Column shelf, drag it into color in the Marks card. The color will automatically update to different colors

Marks card

To format the displayed color to our preferred color, click on Color and select Edit Colors. A palette will pop as a dialog:

Change the color to a preferred choice of color by selecting the down arrow at the top right corner and select a color

After selecting the color, click on Advanced, check the Center box and insert “0”. This means that all profits above zero should be green and all below zero should be red. Click on Apply then OK.

Your output should have a semblance of the chart below

Create another Bar chart

To create the second bar chart we will be working with two columns namely Region and Sales. We will find the average of Sales by each Region.

  1. Drag and drop Region into the Columns shelf and Sales into the Rows shelf
  2. Click on the measure option to change the aggregation of the Sales column to Average

Your shelves should look like this:

The Bar chart output should look like this:

Bar chart
Format Chart Color

To format the chart color, follow these steps;

  1. Select color from the Marks card
  2. Select the color of your choice, the chart color will automatically be updated

You bar output should have a semblance of this :

Bar Chart

let’s create our dashboard…

Step 3: Creating a dashboard

Top tips for creating a dashboard

In data visualization, especially when designing a dashboard, there are some necessary things that need to be taken into due consideration, they are the following;

know your audience

Tableau dashboards can be used for many different purposes and therefore will be designed differently for each circumstance. This means that, before you can begin designing a dashboard, you need to know who is going to use it and how often.

Proper layout

When it comes to dashboard design, it’s best practice to present data from top to bottom. The story should go from left to right, like a comic book, where you start at the top left and finish at the bottom right.

limit the colors

It is important to use colors sparingly on your dashboard in order to simplify it. You lose the focus of your audience when there is no simplicity in the color combination on your dashboard. Less is more.

Make your dashboard interactive

An interactive dashboard can help the viewers to get more insights which improves the user experience by making it feel more personal.

Create a dashboard

To create a dashboard, simply add a new dashboard workspace to add the already created visuals by clicking the below icon.

Tableau dashboard

Note: The device preview option is used to select the layout type of a specific device type and the specific size that you want to use to present your dashboard.

For this article, we will choose the Tablet device type and the Generic tablet model. Click Add Tablet Layout.

Also, select the preferred size as Automatic;

Select the Floating option for easy adjustment of each dragged and dropped sheet on the layout. It can be seen at the bottom-left side of the dashboard

After applying the above steps, we can see the new size of our dashboard layout and the already created charts on the left-hand side of the dashboard under the sheets option. Select the sheets we want to add to the dashboard and then drag and drop them in the created layout.

You should have a dashboard like this showing the selected sheets on the left hand side of the dashboard with a check mark sign


Add a dashboard title

To add a dashboard title, check the show dashboard title box on the left-hand side of the dashboard.

Edit dashboard title

To edit the dashboard title, follow these guidelines;

  1. Click on the dashboard title pane,
  2. In the pop-up dialog box, enter your dashboard title
  3. Format the font size, color, and text alignment
  4. Click “Apply” and then “OK”.

Filtering the dashboard

You can filter the dashboard by selecting any of the charts;

  1. Select any of the charts on the dashboard
  2. Select the filter icon at the top right corner of the selected chart
  3. Click on any data point to filter across the dashboard
Filtered dashboard


In this article, we have learned how to build a dashboard in Tableau, in the next article, we will delve deeper into uncovering other dazzling features of the Tableau visualization software. Stay tuned for more top-notch articles from Resagratia.

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