Older But Still Useful – Conditional Formatting

Back in May of this year before I started this blog, I did a presentation at the Boston Tableau User Group on conditional formatting in Tableau. Prior to using Tableau, I’d created some dashboards and reports in Excel, and when I tried to re-create them in Tableau I ran into a number of different issues in terms of doing the kinds of formatting, layout, and conditional formatting that are possible in Excel. I created a workbook with every technique I could find and some I figured out. Here are links to:

  • Conditional formatting workbook – I made extensive use of captions for instructions, and unfortunately Tableau Public makes the captions take up the space for display of the view, so it’s better to download the workbook. Here’s the Crosstab of Many Colors, but first, a disclaimer: This view is for demonstration purposes only, if I ever built a crosstab that looked like this for actual use then the trinity of Edward Tufte, Stephen Few, and Naomi Robbins would banish me to using Notepad forevermore.

 

Here are some related feature requests from the Ideas section of the Tableau forums, if these were implemented then many or all of the workarounds wouldn’t be necessary:

 

13 thoughts on “Older But Still Useful – Conditional Formatting

  1. Mike Nealey

    This is wonderful. I’m using this workbook to construct a dashboard of my own, with a very similar construct. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
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  4. Dave

    Great post. I worked through most of the solutions and learned a lot. Do you have any similar solutions where the metrics are rows and not columns

    Thanks
    Dave

    Reply
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  6. Ryan Chase

    Hey Jonathan,

    I am toying with the idea of using a multiple axis crosstab for a project I’m working on, but I am unable to get the sort button to work with these tables. I had the same issue sorting when I downloaded your Conditional Formatting workbook. Is this a known issue with these tables (I didn’t see this in the “Issues” section of the caption, so I thought I’d ask. If so, do you know a way around the issue?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    Reply
      1. Ryan Chase

        Hi Jonathan,

        Yes I was referring to the one-click sort button that shows up in the column headers. So in the case of the multiple axis crosstab I am creating a new marks card each time that I add my calculated field containing a zero to the column shelf. I then proceed to drag a measure onto text in that marks card, this ascetically accomplishes what I need, but then I need to be able to sort the table by the values of this measure. Tableau provides a one-click sort button but it doesn’t work. I’m wondering if this is expected and if there’s a way to get around it. I’m not sure if there is overlap based on the post you provided above as that specific case has discrete dimensions in the rows vs. my case of having a single discrete dimension on the row shelf and a bunch of continuous measures in the various marks cards.

        Thanks, very much appreciated.
        Ryan

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Drummey Post author

          Ok, I get it now, it’s been awhile since I built one of these so I’d forgotten about this particular limitation of the multiple-axis crosstab: The 0.0, etc. measures are what are creating the Marks Cards as you noted *and* when we click on the one-click sort Tableau is using the 0.0 measures to do the sorting, *not* the measures that are on the Label, Color, Size, and/or Shape Shelves. The workaround is to create a parameter with a list of values (one for each measure you want to sort by) and then a “sort measure” using a CASE statement that returns the appropriate measure, then sort the dimension by the “sort measure” calculated field and show the parameter control.

          Jonathan

          Reply
          1. Ryan Chase

            Okay, that makes sense. My only question is if we sort the dimension by the selected measure from the parameter, will the rest of the measure “columns” (that appear on different marks cards) sort as with it?

            Thanks,
            Ryan

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